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February ’19 Newsletter: Jefferson Trust Awards $800,000 for Classroom Innovation, Data Science, More

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Innovation catalyst The Jefferson Trust, an initiative of the University of Virginia Alumni Association, announced awards to provide more than $800,000 in seed money to 13 UVA initiatives the largest focusing on innovation in education.

The Jefferson Trust will also add to its long-running support of UVA’s Data Science Institute, which is itself a testament to The Jefferson Trust’s catalytic powers.

On the education front, this year’s grants include $141,000 for web-based observation tools to evaluate teacher classroom performance and $100,000 to support a multimedia research project known as the Religion Lab.

Three different projects support new approaches to teaching health science, including $100,000 for three-dimensional modeling of infectious diseases, $82,000 for design-thinking instruction for first-year medical students and $70,000 for interactive and psychometric approaches to teaching kinesiology.

Since the Alumni Association founded it in 2006, the Jefferson Trust has invested $7.8 million in 192 student and faculty projects, representing all 11 schools.

And it will play a role in the ramp up to UVA’s 12th school, the forthcoming School of Data Science. This year’s grants include $50,000 for a community outreach initiative of the Data Science Institute. The Jefferson Trust planted a first kernel for that venture in 2012 with $100,000 in grant money. The Institute will transform into a full-fledged school as early as next fall, with a projected $200 million in private and state funding. When it does, it will represent the 2,000-fold fruition of The Jefferson Trust’s original investment.

“It’s actually what we do,” says Jefferson Trust Executive Director Wayne Cozart. “We are seed funding for the University of Virginia.”

The 2019 grants include:

Rotunda Planetarium: $30,000

The Rotunda Planetarium reconstructs Thomas Jefferson’s inaugural vision for the Rotunda Library’s dome room. The Rotunda Planetarium will run from November 2019 until June 2020.

Infectious Disease in 3D: $99,945

The proposed “Infectious Disease in 3D” program aims to build VR and AR content for teaching complex biological information in UVA classrooms. The end product will directly benefit UVA classrooms by enhancing motivation and retention of material.

 Religion, Race, and Democracy: An Undergraduate Multimedia Research Project: $100,000

The Religion Lab will offer to undergraduate Student Research Collaborators:  1.) Regular training and mentorship; 2.) Funding and technology; 3.) A website to publish the research. They will also benefit from the expertise and guidance of Religion Lab faculty and staff.

 Cadaver-specific virtual dissection table: $70,491

An initiative to provide state of the art interactive and psychometric learning to students in Kinesiology for the enhancement of knowledge in anatomy and patient care leading to the development of unparalleled clinical skills.

Developing Tools to Transform Student Experiences: $141,173

To develop and use web-based observation tools to not only shed light on how UVA faculty teach in their classrooms, but also to use the data from the tools to work with instructors and the broader university to improve teaching at UVA.

UVA Medical Design Program: Phase II: $81,500

The UVA Medical Design Program (UVAMDP) provides first-year medical students with hands-on instruction in the application of design thinking to address healthcare challenges.

Student Veteran’s Support Initiative: $60,000

The Veteran’s Support Initiative is seeking support to set up a structure to better meet the needs of student veterans.

Data for the Social Good: $50,000

With support from the Jefferson Trust, faculty, staff, students and alumni of the Data Science Institute will develop a set of tools to match community non-profits needing data analysis help with students and service-learning classes that can provide it.

Concussion and Headaches: $25,837.02

This project proposes to study administration of magnesium and riboflavin (two common supplements) as agents to reduce the length of time a student might experience headache following concussion.

The Flux Poetry Series: $21,800

The project proposal is a three-semester-long poetry series that will invite award-winning and influential poets to host workshops, performances, consultations, and more, bolstering the already-thriving art community at UVa.

Madayin Aboriginal Art Catalog: $56,000

The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia seeks funding to produce a fully-illustrated scholarly catalog to accompany the touring exhibition “Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Bark Painting from Yirrkala, Australia.”

Reshaping Public and Archival Space: $32,260

The project is the first attempt to capture testimonies video graphically about the Black nursing experience, to be made available to a large audience. The project aims to enhance visibility of Black nurses in archives and public spaces via written documents, photographs, videos, and exhibitions.

Minority Youth Development Program: $31,573

This program aims to increase the number of underrepresented minorities, especially African-Americans, pursuing careers in architecture.

February ’19 Newsletter: In Memoriam: Jack Syer & Bo Moore

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 The Jefferson Trust family lost two founding members last month. Both men provided key leadership, support, and service to the Trust and Alumni Association. We extend our condolences to both families during this time.

Jack Syer served as President of the UVA Alumni Association from 1993-2006 and was instrumental in the creation of the Jefferson Trust. Learn more about his influence here.

Garland P. “Bo” Moore was a founding member of the Jefferson Trust, serving from 2007-2013, and was the Finance Committee’s first Chair. Learn more about his UVA/Trust experience here, when he was featured in an e-newsletter, and his professional life here

February ’19 Newsletter: New Grant Cycle: Flash Funding!

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 The Jefferson Trust is excited to launch a new grants cycle: Flash Funding! The inaugural round of submissions will be accepted through February 28, 2019, with funding decisions announced on March 15, 2019. Flash funding will subsequently be available on a monthly basis until the funds are depleted.

Priority will be given to student-led proposals, and immediate-use to short term projects. Awards are capped at $10,000. The link to the proposal system and more information can be found here.

November ’18 Newsletter: Grant Recipient Receives Forbes Under 30 Recognition

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 Ryan Keen (COL ’18), a 2018 Jefferson Trust grant recipient for The Human Library initiative, was recently selected as a Forbes Under 30 Fellow, and attended the Under 30 Summit in Boston. The summit focused on bringing together young professionals and leaders from around the world for an opportunity to connect and meet established leaders from various fields. Ryan wrote about The Human Library in his Forbes application, as it greatly shaped his experience while on Grounds and continues to grow as an engaging platform at UVA and in the greater Charlottesville community.

“As a Forbes Fellow, I was allowed to choose a “track” so that I could connect with leaders in a specific field. I chose healthcare as my track, which essentially allowed me to hear from individuals who have co-founded their own health-related initiatives and those who are leading innovative research from the nearby schools MIT and Harvard. It was amazing to be invited into a network of ambitious individuals with similar goals and to be able to share the mission of The Human Library. I’m proud that it has become such a strong and inclusive platform to share all of the amazing stories, and, with the strong support of the Jefferson Trust, it continues to grow and inspire dialogue. I’m really looking forward to seeing the organization’s development in the coming years.” Keen shared. 

Ryan will attend Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health next fall to pursue a Masters of Science, after working in a lab at Harvard this year. He also plans to seek a medical degree in the future. Congratulations to Ryan for this distinguishing honor!

November ’18 Newsletter: Planned Giving- The Gift that Keeps on Giving

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 We hear the term ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ so much it becomes cliché, and few of the cited examples really muster the label.  For Tom White, however, it is a fitting description. Tom established a Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT) at UVA using appreciated stock.  By giving stock, Tom avoided paying lump sum capital gains tax, gained a tax deduction, and also receives a seven percent annual return on the CRUT’s assets. Tom allocated the CRUT to the Jefferson Trust, which allowed him to give his daughter Elizabeth White Boutry (COL ’92) a seat on the board of trustees. Liz now has a vote in distributing nearly $1 million dollars in grant funding to students, faculty, and staff projects across Grounds each year.

Although Tom did not attend UVA, his father, T. Aubrey White, was a triple-Hoo; and his two daughters Elizabeth White Boutry (COL ’92) and Linda White Banta (COL ’82) as well as his granddaughter Isabel Banta (COL ’19) are also proud alumni.  Tom wanted to carry on the tradition of leadership in the family by making his gift to the Jefferson Trust.

As the stock market continues to climb, a CRUT can be a great way to give to UVA, minimize taxable income, and maximize a return.  It can truly be the gift the keeps on giving!

November ’18 Newsletter: Books Behind Bars: Virginia Film Festival feature

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 Seats at the Table, a film screened at the Virginia Film Festival this November focuses on a very important program that pairs University of Virginia students with incarcerated youth at a local, maximum-security, juvenile correctional facilities. The Books Behind Bars program, created by Professor of Russian Literature Andrew Kaufman, has been pairing the two groups of students for discussions of Russian literature since 2009. In mixed small groups, University and incarcerated students analyze and discuss works of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and other Russian authors. This innovative course allows students to engage in powerful discussions on difficult topics in a way that does not often occur anymore: What makes for a happy life? How can I be true to myself? What is my responsibility to others? Given that I will die, how should I live?

In addition to developing professional leadership skills like diplomacy, teamwork, and creative problem-solving, a number of University participants have been so dramatically impacted by this experience that they have changed career plans. Incarcerated resident participants report gains in academic, behavioral, social and personal development, in addition to an increased interest in attending college. Some have gone on to enroll in college, including one who had no plans to attend at the start of the program.

Books Behind Bars has received strong support from Virginia’s Department of Juvenile Justice. Andrew Block, director of DJJ, believes that inmates are people that should be invested in. As DJJ has moved toward a rehabilitative model, with a greater emphasis on education and a decrease in length of stay of the residents, they have asked that the program continue and expand to additional facilities. Early on, Dr. Kaufman received funding from the Jefferson Trust to expand and enhance this program, as well as a related research study. More recently, the College of Arts & Sciences at UVA has committed additional funding to ensure continuation of the course. 

This powerful and moving documentary highlights the relationships forged between two very different student populations who find they have more in common than they could have imagined. Filmmaker Chris Farina’s mission is for Seats at the Table to serve as a tool for stimulating replication of this type of program, by sharing the story of this particular class while expanding the audience’s very understanding of what it means to be human. Throughout this recent screening of the film, the audience was actively engaged – laughing aloud at participant comments, cheering them on, even crying with them. It seems that Mr. Farina is well on his way!

November ’18 Newsletter: Trustee Spotlight: Sharon Owlett

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 Sharon Owlett has a long history with the Jefferson Trust. When the Trust was first formed, she was approached by Michael Clarke with the chance to be a part of the Trust’s inaugural Board of Trustees. “It was impossible to turn down the opportunity to work together with other dedicated alumni to build an organization that would foster programs both large and small across Grounds.” Sharon served as the first Chair of the Grants Committee and was key to constructing the grants process. She describes her first stint with the Trust as “one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It was challenging, deeply rewarding, and fun, all at the same time.” It took little persuasion for Sharon to return to the Trust for a second term; she is currently in her eighth year as a Trustee!

Cavalier pride runs deep in the Owlett family. Besides being a 1975 Law School graduate, Sharon is the mother of two double-Hoos, both of whom graduated from the College, then pursued graduate degrees (Law for one and Curry for the other). She has a stepbrother and two nephews that are UVA grads as well. Being a Trustee has allowed Sharon to enhance her connection to the University, due to the people she has been able to meet and get to know. She has been able to work closely with the wonderful staff of the Alumni Association, her fellow Trustees (who span all the schools of the University and multiple generations), and, of course, the applicants who come from every corner of the University community. It has created a “multi-layered connection with UVA [that is] hard to duplicate,” she says.

Sharon remains very involved at UVA outside of the Trust, having previously served on the Law School Alumni Council (including being Chair of National Appeals) and currently serving on the UVA Law School Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Outside of the University, she has sat on and/or advised several non-profit boards, including The Highland School in Warrenton and, currently, The Children’s Health Foundation in Norfolk.

It’s hard to pick a favorite trustee memory when there are so many, according to Sharon. What has always resonated with her the most is “hearing from the people that our grants have benefited: you know you’re doing good things when you see the difference we as a University can make in people’s lives, both here on Grounds and around the world.”

“Being able to help bring people’s ideas to life is an experience everyone should have,” Sharon says. She recommends getting involved with the Trust, because “The vision and the passion of the Trust’s applicants are energizing to see – it’s absolutely amazing to have a front row view of the intellectual, entrepreneurial and humanitarian talent that makes up this University. Having a role in fostering that talent enriches our Trustee group in indelible way.”

November ’18 Newsletter: Announcing new Director of Development for The Jefferson Trust

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Please welcome Brent Percival to The Jefferson Trust as our new Director of Development. Brent started with the Trust in mid-October, just in time to join the Trustees of the Trust at the annual Fall Board Meeting. Brent comes to the Trust from the UVA Health System Development Office, where he spent three years working with alumni from the medical school. Before joining UVA, he worked in development for Auburn University, and in advertising with Media General. Brent brings a background in gift planning, and a passion for the Trust!

While attending college, Brent was involved with student projects, therefore knows first-hand the power of alumni involvement in enhancing the student experience.  As a result, he is excited to work with current and future trustees in expanding and enhancing the Trust to best meet the needs of a growing University.

A native of Woodbridge, VA, Brent now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, Erin, four-year-old son, Ethan, and eight month-old daughter, Adelaide.

You can reach Brent at bp8x@virginia.edu or 434-243-8118 with any Development questions.

August ’18 Newsletter: Web Application Announcement

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2018-19 Grant Proposal Now Available

The Jefferson Trust is excited to announce our new web-based grant proposal form is now available! Visit our Apply page to learn more about the application process and view the form.

Also, make plans to attend our applicant information session on Wednesday, September 5th at 4 p.m. at Alumni Hall.

Proposal submission deadline is October 1, 2018.

August ’18 Newsletter: Announcing the new Vice-Chair of the Jefferson Trust

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With the start of the 2018-19 fiscal year, the Jefferson Trust is excited to welcome James Aldige as our new Vice-Chair. Although new to the Trust, James has been an active alumnus since his graduation from the College in 2003. He is a member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Managers, sits on the reunion giving committees (additionally serving as his 15th Reunion co-chair), participates in the Jefferson Scholars National Selection Committee and the Advisory Board for the UVA Licensing and Venture Group seed fund, is Co-chair of the David Magoon Jefferson Scholarship Initiative, and guest lectures at the Darden School of Business.

James considers his time at UVA impactful in helping to shape who he is today. “It gave me a chance to pursue a variety of interests, take on leadership roles, and make great friends. I believe in the mission of the University and its strong commitment to a campus-based undergraduate education and student self-governance.” As an undergraduate student, he was an Echols Scholar, lawn resident, a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, IMP Society, TILKA Society, 13 Society, and the Raven Society. Other involvements included Fourth Year Trustees, Inter-Fraternity Council community service chair, Big Sibling program director at Madison House, and Habitat for Humanity house coordinator.

After UVA, James went on to earn an MPhil in Economic History from Oxford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has worked in multiple capacities in the investment field, and currently is a Managing Partner of Clio Asset Management, an investment advisory firm based in Charlottesville. James is excited to be joining the Jefferson Trust.  “Having been a part of the Jefferson Scholar interview process for many years now, I always come away from those weekends with a renewed sense of optimism about our collective futures, based on the exceptional achievements and aspirations of the applicants. At the Trust, I am excited to see what talented students can achieve now that they are on Grounds and have the opportunity to put their ideas into action for the betterment of the community, and I look forward to playing a small role in that process.”