In November 2017, 30 emerging leaders from 27 countries, students and faculty from the University of Virginia, and other scholars and experts gathered on grounds to participate in The Presidential Precinct’s Global Leadership Forum: Promoting Gender Equality in Education. Events included round-table and panel discussions, breakout workshops, small group conversations, and site visits to Charlottesville community organizations, with project-based learning components. The Jefferson Trust was very pleased to support this initiative!
The week began with the University of Virginia’s Women’s Global Leadership Forum, a part of the Bicentennial celebration. Spearheaded by the UVA Morven Programs, the forum brought together women of all backgrounds to address the “Role of Women in the 21st Century Democracy.” Participants explored the challenges and contributions women have made in today’s complex society through conversations on 21st century democracy: race, religion, and gender, leadership and gender equality, political power, mobilizing millennials, and health and education challenges for women and girls. The culmination of the event was the closing address by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, where she discussed the path forward for women in 21st century democracy.
The forum continued with the Presidential Precinct’s Global Leadership Forum, which focused on developing innovative ideas and effective solutions being implemented to ensure that women and girls around the world have equal access to quality educational opportunities setting them up for lifelong success. Highlights included small group site visits to Charlottesville’s most progressive and concentrated programs focused on education, and Design-Thinking sessions where participants learned practical solutions to complex problems, based on an understanding of target group needs. Lastly, a key application involved a full-day design challenge – in small groups participants used design-thinking methodology to tackle real-world problems in one of the participant’s home countries, which resulted in six new approaches to various challenges in gender equality in education.
Organizers of the week consider their weeklong symposium a successful event. Attendees were able to strengthen individual skills and perspectives to address gender equality in education, create professional ties among participants, and UVA students who worked on the program gained a valuable professional development opportunity. From one global emerging leader, “In addition to the various interactive and informational sessions delivered during GLF, I appreciated connecting with many leaders from all around the globe acting as agents of change with regard to women and gender issues in their respective communities. What’s more striking was for me to see to what extent projects other peers have been able to successfully implement which I long have thought impossible at home. Now more than any time before, I am armed with the confidence and inspiration it takes in order to drive the same initiatives in my own country as well. I feel so empowered to be part of this large network of young leaders.” Funding from the Jefferson Trust supported partial program costs, helping in the symposium’s success.
One of Mr. Jefferson’s theories was that an easily accessible library should be one of the cornerstones of a democratic society, allowing citizens and scholars to conveniently access knowledge. The UVA Law Library is making that theory a reality. This past fall, the Law School’s Digital Collections Librarian, Loren Moulds, and Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, James Ambuske, sought almost $30,000 in funding from the Jefferson Trust to complete a forty year goal of the UVA Law Library, digitizing 375 rare legal texts that were originally selected by Thomas Jefferson for the first UVA Library. The Digital 1828 Catalogue Collection Project will allow greater access to this esteemed collection by providing a virtual bookshelf for these texts. Throughout the summer, this student-centered project provided an opportunity for students to gain research experience in digital humanities, learn the history of early American law and legal education, and master the process of digitizing rare books.
To date, project directors and student interns have digitized more than 1/3 of the books and the entire collection will be digitized by the end of 2017. They are also in the final stages of developing the virtual web experience. Under the direction of Institute for Public History intern, Melissa Gismondi, student researchers also compiled and organized data about the collection, noting concepts and volumes worthy of further investigation in the future. Gismondi’s contributions were remarkably productive. She wrote several interpretive essays historicizing the University’s use of the books, including Jefferson’s view on the proper methods of using the books to educate students in reading the Law. She also contextualized the books’ intellectual place in the early republic.
The project directors are planning a conference in 2018, centered on Jefferson’s catalog for the University’s first library. The fully realized digital, virtual library project is planned for early 2018.
All Jefferson Trust trustees are generous community leaders, but Grace Hobby Grundy (SEAS ’12) may have the most interesting volunteer affiliation of all—she’s a member of the Mutton Bustin’ Committee. Grace serves on the Houston Rodeo’s Mutton Bustin’ Committee, which prepares 5 year olds to suit up for the ultimate Texan adrenaline rush—sheep riding! She is not only true to her native Texas, she is also true to the University. As a fourth year, she served as a class trustee and just completed her fifth year of service as a post-grad class trustee. As an active member of the Jefferson Trust since 2012, Grace has served on the Grants Committee and led the committee as Chair this past year.
Grace is connected to the University through her classmates, whom she describes as incredible change makers; she also shares family connections, as the daughter, sister, wife, cousin, niece and sister-in-law to fellow Hoos. She says that as a trustee her connections to the University have expanded. Now she is more than a member of the SEAS class of 2012 and more than a member of a family of alums. “Working as a trustee with other UVA alums and parents has brought me into every class and school within UVA. As a trustee, I am called back to the University repeatedly to hear from deans, professors and students. I see the power and drive within the University that I didn’t fully grasp as an undergrad.”
One of the highlights of being a trustee is that “The Trust has a front row view to what is happening at the University. We see applicants with projects in early stages that often have not yet been made public to the University community. As a trustee, I have a voice in my financial influence at the University.” She notes, “The Trust allows trustees to stay connected to their donations, their schools and with fellow trustees.” From Grace Hobby Grundy’s front row seat, she states that at the University of Virginia “Times are good and the future is bright!”
UVA Today spotlighted the new President of the Alumni Association, Jenifer Andrasko. You can read the article here.
Since 2006, the Jefferson Trust has awarded 160 grants totaling $6,309,119 to all areas of the University community. Founded by the Alumni Association of the University of Virginia, the Trust promotes excellence by providing catalytic support to the University community for initiatives in pursuit of Jeffersonian ideals. As an agile, unrestricted resource for the University of Virginia community, the Trust supports new projects advocated by students, faculty and organizations. Please note that the Trust does not provide budget relief for existing programs.
The Jefferson Trust will hold a grants application information session in the Manning Pavilion at Alumni Hall on Wednesday, September 6 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. For more information about the Trust and the application process, please check out the Application page on our website or contact us At 434-243-9026. For resources to navigate the application process, take a look at our Resources page.
Gifts to the Jefferson Trust provide the early-stage funding for important, innovative projects like the ones described in our newsletter and on our website. On average, we only have the resources to provide grants to less than one-third of those deserving support. We ask that you consider making a gift to help us further develop this unique program of enormous impact to the University. There are many donation options available, including multi-year pledges, cash, gifts of stock/bonds, real estate or other personal property, and in some cases, planned or deferred gift vehicles.
All contributions to the Trust from alumni, parents, students and friends are counted as part of the University campaign, giving societies and class gifts, if made during the reunion year.
Donors who wish to make leadership gifts to the endowment and become members of the Board of Trustees have the additional opportunity to make the decisions on the use and strategic investment of endowment earnings. To become a part of this distinguished group of alumni and parents, please contact Kaye Forsman, Jefferson Trust Senior Director of Development at 434-243-8118 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!