Grants in the News!

Hosting symposiums, conducting workshops, and planning special events—our grantees are busy! Check out projects recently featured in local news:

Coming to the stage in 2023, The Daily Progress previewed Victory Hall’s Opera, Orpheus & Erica: A Deaf Opera, a 2022 grant recipient.

The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library current exhibition from the Holsinger Portrait Project, “Visions of Progress: Portraits of Dignity, Style, and Racial Uplift” was featured in a two-part series on CBS19. Find out more about the exhibition and the descendants.

UVA Lawyer magazine highlighted the Roadmap Scholars Initiative and its first cohort of students. Read more about the impactful program in this article.

The Batten Institute at UVA’s Darden School of Business hosted the Jefferson Innovation Summit, “Decarbonizing the Global Economy.” Learn about the obstacles, strategies, and dialogue discussed in this Darden news article.

2022 Jefferson Innovation Summit: Decarbonizing the Global Economy (photo credit: Darden’s Batten Institute)

To stay up to date on the work of our grantees, follow us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Cavalier Autonomous Racing continues to push

The Cavalier Autonomous Racing Team recently competed in the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC), at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as a part of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). CES is known as a global stage for innovation, and nine teams from six countries and representing 17 universities competed.

Cavalier Autonomous Racing (photo credit: UVA Engineering)

Joining the Indy Autonomous Challenge in 2019, the Cavalier Autonomous Racing team has participated in every IAC race held to date. With support from the Trust, the team is helping to push the boundaries of autonomous racing and creating safe autonomy. UVA’s team is comprised of undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Engineering, and the Indy Autonomous Challenge grants them access and opportunity on a world stage.

The modern CES began in 1998, though it has roots back to 1967 and was largely an event to see the latest video game or telephone. Today, CES has grown to be the launch point for some of the greatest electronic advancements across any industry, including automobiles.  It has replaced the North American Auto Show in Detroit as the go-to place for automakers to unveil new technology.

The Trust could not be happier to help provide this opportunity to UVA students, who are standing at the forefront of the automotive future.

Grant Requests Aim High

Thank you to all 2022-2023 grant seekers!UVA grant seekers, thank you! The Trust received 96 Letters of Inquiry (LOI) requesting over $12 million in our annual grant cycle. Sixty-eight of these requests, valued at over $8.7 million, have moved forward to the full proposal stage.

Submissions cover wide variety of topics, including research and interventions around barriers to equity; community engagement efforts and pipeline programs; mental health post-Covid; sustainability; and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Our Proposals Committee has started reviewing the proposals in advance of the final round, which is an in-person pitch. The Trustees will look to grant $1.45 million this year across all funding cycles.

If you missed the annual cycle deadline, Flash Funding applications will open December 15 for the January 2023 flash cycle. Flash Funding grants are capped at $10,000 and focus on short-term projects or immediate use opportunities, often for student organizations. Flash Funding runs in the spring semester, and grants are made on a month-to-month basis as long as funds are available. Visit our Grant Seekers page for more information.

As always, we are available to answer any funding questions or meet to discuss your potential project. Contact our Director of Grants, Amy Bonner, for more information.

Rotunda Planetarium Public Nights

Constellations projected onto the inside of the Rotunda dome

In the summer of 1818, Thomas Jefferson envisioned a painted planetarium, spanning the Rotunda’s dome. “It is proposed to be painted sky-blue and spangled with gilt stars in their position and magnitude copied exactly,” he wrote.

Fast-forward to 2019, and three UVA doctoral students worked to bring Jefferson’s vision to life. They received a Trust grant to purchase the equipment to “open the ceiling to the stars” and host an exhibition on the Rotunda Library’s early years.

Now, we are thrilled to share that Rotunda Planetarium public nights are re-launching! View the constellations and stars in the Rotunda Dome Room Friday, November 25, or Saturday, November 26, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit the Rotunda website.

Looking Ahead

Students and faculty working on the Cavalair Project, which aims to conduct research to allow smarter approaches to HVAC system usage

President Dwight Eisenhower once remarked that “plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” While that may be a little heavy-handed, planning is indeed a valuable process. It is a chance to share ideas, discuss, debate, and decide.

The Jefferson Trust recently completed a strategic plan and, even more than any new operation or activity, is setting a new long-term goal. Trustees set an ambitious target of doubling the endowment to $100 million, which will provide $4 million in annual grant funding and the opportunity to make a single grant of $1 million.

“This is an ambitious goal for the Jefferson Trust and one that lives up to a principle of the strategic plan — to maximize the Trust’s value,” says Governance Committee Chair Nick Melton. “We see enormous potential for donors to build a legacy in the Trust and for the Trust to amplify these gift and time commitments to have a lasting impact on and beyond Grounds.”

The goal is also an acknowledgement that we have heard the University community’s call for more support, and we are making this promise to provide it.

When the Trust was formed in 2006, its founders dreamed of a day when the Trust could award $1 million in a single year. Having eclipsed that mark in 2020, this new grantmaking level will make a larger impact across Grounds and see more great ideas come to fruition.

Grants in the News

Ashley Hosbach with some of the pandemic-related children’s books she’s collected in the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the country. Photo by Erin Edgerton

Our grantees have been busy this fall! Their hard work and efforts have drawn attention from UVA and Charlottesville news outlets. Check out the articles below:

Peer Financial Counseling was established to offer students free, one-on-one advice from a trained peer counselor on everything about money, including student loans, personal credit, budgeting. Read more about the program, a 2018 grant recipient, in this UVA Today article.

COVID-19 Pandemic Education and Support: Children’s Book Collection received a flash grant in 2021 to build a catalog of children’s books addressing loss, trauma, and anxiety due to the pandemic. Learn more about their work in this UVA Today feature.

The Holsinger Studio Portrait Project exhibit launched in September and is on display in the Main Gallery of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library until June 2023. The project has been featured in multiple publications since its release: The Daily Progress, UVA LibraryNBC29UVA Today,  C-ville Weekly, and Cavalier Daily. Community engagement opportunities and events are being planned.

High-school students explored public policy and leadership through the Policy Leadership Advocacy by Youth (PLAY) Program’s week-long summer workshop. Read more about the student’s and their experiences in this Batten School article.

Annual Grant Cycle Open for 2022-23!

The Jefferson Trust Annual Cycle is open for the 2022-23 academic year!

Annual Cycle proposals come from students, faculty and staff for a variety of new programs and projects. They are typically intended for requests with budgets ranging from $10,000 to over $300,000, but there are no minimums. Maximums vary based on available funds.

Every Annual Cycle grant starts with a letter of inquiry (LOI), which is an opportunity to simply explain the idea; requests are reviewed on a rolling basis. Early LOI entries (before September 15) have the opportunity for edits and resubmission based on the Director of Grants’ feedback. From there, selected LOIs move to the proposal stage. After further review, a final batch moves forward for in-person pitches to the full Board of Trustees. Review the Annual Cycle timeline below for more information:

  • August 2022: LOI forms are available in the grant portal and can be submitted now!
  • September 15, 2022: Last day to submit an LOI with feedback
  • October 1, 2022: Last day to submit a finalized LOI
  • October 31, 2022: Proposal deadline
  • January 20-21, 2023: Proposal pitches
  • Early February 2023: Grants awarded!

We encourage you to plan ahead, learn more on our Grant Seekers page, and contact our Director of Grants, Amy Bonner, to talk through your innovative idea.

Grants in News

Starr Hill Pathways scholars listen to University professors and students. Photo: Erin Edgerton

Many grant projects have been busy over the summer! From conducting field tests to hosting seminars, to preparing for future events, check out some incredible Jefferson Trust projects highlighted in the news:

An initiative from the UVA Equity Center and a 2022 annual grant recipient, Starr Hill Pathways brought middle-school students to Grounds for a three-week program to learn about the college experience and engage with a university. Check out their experiences in this UVA Today article, CBS19 feature, and Daily Progress article.

A 2022 flash grant recipient, “Chaos to Chaos: Documenting Afghan Women,” was recently highlighted on CBS19 News for their work to build community and share the stories of Afghan women in the local community.

The Roadmap Scholars Initiative hosted their first summer program, helping first-gen, low-income undergraduates prepare for and apply to elite law schools. Learn more about the scholars in this UVA Law article.

The UVA Solar Car team raced a custom solar-powered electric vehicle at the Formula Sun Grand Prix in Topeka, Kansas this summer. Learn about their preparations and building their car since receiving a Trust grant in 2017 in this Cav Daily article.

Since their 2018 grant, read about the growth and impact of Hoos Connected in this UVA Today feature. The grant funds a one-credit class lasting a single semester that teaches healthy relationship-building skills in small groups of first-year, second-year and transfer students.

“Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala” is the first major exhibition of Aboriginal Australian bark paintings to tour the U.S. It opens in September 2022 at the Hood Museum. Kluge-Ruhe received a Trust grant in 2019 to help produce the accompanying catalog, a 352-page piece in both Yolngu Matha and English (which is the first ever international touring exhibition catalog in an Australian language). Read more about the significance of this exhibition.

The “Transformative Autism Biomarker Research Initiative” in UVA’s Developmental Neuroanalytics Lab was spotlighted in National Geographic’s June 2022 issue. A 2020 grant recipient, the lab is developing new universal screening protocols for social processing disorders.

Ideas Against the Shot Clock

The Jefferson Trust was formed because there was a need for unrestricted funds to support new projects and programs. That need has existed since the University’s founding, and it still exists today. The wide menu of fundraising priorities and the time upper administration devotes to fundraising would indicate the truth of that statement.

With all this time spent on fulfilling ‘the need,’ how does a fundraiser know if the idea they’re pitching resonates with donors? A single ‘yes’ can do it, but it would take several instances of ‘no’ to realize a change needs to be made. Time-constrained campaigns put a shot clock on moving the idea forward, and a year or two of hearing ‘no’ is too long.

Risa Goluboff

In January 2022, Risa Goluboff, Dean of the UVA School of Law, pitched her vision to the Trustees and quickly received her ‘yes.’ The Roadmap Scholars Initiative is a two-year program designed to expose college juniors and seniors to the law, law school and the legal profession, and to help them become competitive applicants to the nation’s top law schools.

The Trustees loved the idea and granted $200,000 in seed funding to help start the program. Not only did this grant help jump-start the program, but the full board, which includes seven Law School alumni, are also strong supporters and advocates for the initiative’s growth.

This same jump-start effect can be even more helpful for a new dean, director or vice president. There’s a lot of pressure on new administrators to simultaneously thank the donors who have given previously, while pivoting to new priorities, and doing so within the campaign timeline.

Nicole Thorne Jenkins

Nicole Thorne Jenkins, the John A. Griffin Dean of the McIntire School of Commerce, saw the Trust’s value early on and proposed the Side Hustle program. The program — designed to be taken anywhere, anytime — offers one-half-credit classes that deliver modern business content and skills to students who may be interested in starting a new business, growing a network, honing a brand, or learning how ‘Name, Image, and Likeness’ works for college athletes.

This grant will provide seed funding and proof of concept programming and help the school better showcase the dean’s vision.

These examples have both been on the ‘yes’ side, what happens when the Trust says ‘no’?  It can still be a positive.  A ‘no’ from the Trust gives the grant seeker a chance to revise the pitch, revise the project, or go back to the drawing board.

The Trust grant-making process is a positive opportunity to move an idea forward faster. It yields great ideas and great outcomes that advance UVA.

New Owners of a Historic Home

Aerial view of Lewis Mountain House

While on Grounds, you may have looked to the west and seen a hill-top house reminiscent of Monticello. But isn’t Monticello east of Grounds? Yes, it is.

What you have seen is the Lewis Mountain House, also known as Onteora. Built in 1909, it is on the National Register of Historic Places and its 42 acres were originally landscape-designed by the renowned Warren H. Manning.

The home was recently acquired by Jefferson Trust Trustees Adrienne and Keith Woodard (Parent ’08). We asked Adrienne and Keith about the property and their plans for its future.

What led you to purchase the property?

We saw this as an opportunity to rescue a Charlottesville icon and to transform it from a neglected, mysterious place into a spectacular destination that more people would be able to use and enjoy. Our goal is to preserve the historic character of the property, revitalize the landscaping, and make it more accessible, usable, and enjoyable.

How will you use it?

Initially, it will be used for our own use as we strive to get the house and grounds into respectable condition. In addition to the main house, there is a guest house, and the original carriage house which we plan to rent for this upcoming school year. We are exploring with the county how we can make the main house and the almost 43-acre property, described in 1965 as a mountaintop park, more usable and purposeful. We have met with UVA architects and will be researching the property more to get a better understanding of its past and its potential for the future.

When will you receive your first guests/ customers?

Our youngest daughter, Anna-Marie (Col ’08), was recently married here in Charlottesville. We managed to clear out enough rooms, repaint and clean them to have family guests stay in 8 of the 11 bedrooms in the main house. During most of July we are staying here along with hosting 5 guest artists, who are in the summer performances of The Charlottesville Opera.

What interesting feature can you share about the house?

There are numerous interesting features in the house: huge pocket doors, multiple light sconces in every room, 14-foot-high ceilings, huge marble fireplace mantles, original silk wall coverings, original chandeliers and more. Of course, what stands out most are the views in every direction — from the very visible four-columned portico looking east towards UVA and Monticello, looking south from the original pool area towards Nelson County, from the ‘front’ entrance looking west towards Birdwood and the Blue Ridge Mountains, and from the north portico toward the airport and the Southwest Mountains. We were able to see Fourth of July fireworks in every direction!

The Lewis Mountain House is a gem right in the heart of UVA, Charlottesville and Albemarle County and we look forward to seeing what the next chapter holds in its long history.