Interested in applying for a grant, but not sure where to start? Here are insights on the application process, including some tips from Elgin Cleckley, assistant professor in the School of Architecture and a grant recipient with multiple successful submissions to the Trust over several years.
Before submitting a proposal
- Research! Use the guidelines and additional information provided to determine whether your great idea aligns with the mission of the Jefferson Trust.
- Use the application to help frame your idea:
“I found the goals of the Trust, creativity, innovation, leadership, and University and/or student experience, as excellent guides when developing ideas for the application. These four points became a rubric — beneficial in discussions in collaborations, evaluation, and testing of the grant ideas, helping to guide the development of program goals and narrative.”
- Refine your vision:
“A clear, easy to understand narrative is essential — with University, student, and community impacts.
For example, for the Minority Pipeline Architecture Program with Barbara Brown Wilson and the School of Architecture, we were sure to focus on the data of African American students in the field, the established national program through the National Organization of Minority Architects, and details on the adaptation of the project here in Charlottesville.
We were sure to include the leadership roles for students at the School of Architecture, empathic, established connections with community organizations, and above all, lifelong skill building for our local Charlottesville design participants.
The impacts are evident, as the engagement continues this summer online with the UVA Equity Center, with students from the past program.”
- Reach out. Jefferson Trust staff is here to help — if you have questions, contact us!
During the review process:
- Be prepared to answer follow-up questions. Trustees may ask for clarifications by email or during presentations to the board.
- Know your audience. The individuals who comprise the review board span a broad range of industries and life experiences and may or may not be experts in your subject matter.
“It is important to also think of the diversity of the Trust — ensuring that your idea/program is inclusive in its content, guiding your presentation at the interview.
We were sure to bring physical imagery to the interviews, to clarify any points of our idea, and overall, to create excitement.”
- Keep in touch with the Trust. Let us know how things are going, and what we can do to help.
“It’s helpful for recipients to know of the support network of the Trust, advisors, and recipients. This support network allows for further expansion of your idea / program and provides beneficial guidance during development.”
Above all, the Trust wants its grants to be successful. Many of the most common problems can easily be resolved by reaching out — whether it is a question on how to convey an idea within the proposal, how to address an obstacle during implementation of the program, or how to scale up and manage success.
The Jefferson Trust network includes our highly engaged Trustees, well-connected former grant recipients, and University supporters. Come join us!