The Alumni Association almost doubled its goal of $18 million in the campaign. The Alumni Association set as its primary goal the creation of the Jefferson Trust, an unrestricted endowment that gives out grants to various areas of the University. Having raised nearly $10 million in the campaign, the trust has already provided an enormous influence on new initiatives. Scholarship support continues to be a driver for the Alumni Association particularly for minority populations, with the Ridley Scholarship Fund reaching its goal of $5 million for African-American students and the Serpentine Society creating four scholarship funds totaling over $4 million for LGBTQ students. A Legacy Scholarship Fund nearing $1 million has been created to support the children of alumni.
The Jefferson Trust
The Jefferson Trust has become an important source of unrestricted support for various new initiatives of the University of Virginia by providing 87 grants totaling $3.4 million, including $100,000 for President Sullivan’s Big Data Initiative. The trust provides special endowment funds designed to provide “seed-money” support to projects and new initiatives brought forth by enterprising students, faculty or organizations of any U.Va. school, department or program that will improve scholarship, teaching, research, physical resources and/or the institutional character of the University. Using a philanthropic collaboration model that creates a common pool of resources, donors become trustees and determine each year which new projects to support. Trustees are also active in the administration and evaluation of program results.
Ridley at the University of Virginia is an umbrella scholarship fund dedicated to attracting exemplary African-American students to the University by offering large scholarship grants. Named for U.Va.’s first African-American graduate, Walter N. Ridley (Curry ’53), the fund continues to successfully raise money for scholarships benefitting over 300 students since its inception in 1987. With rising tuition, Ridley Scholarships provide significant support for top students in a very competitive environment. Ridley Scholars are chosen based on several factors including academic performance, leadership, community service and financial need.
Gifts at Work
Offering High-Impact Grants That Can Enhance the University’s Future
As a new model for philanthropic support, the Jefferson Trust provides donors the opportunity to make decisions about what projects can be most useful for the continued advancement of the University. Jim Rutrough, past vice chair of State Farm and a trustee of the Jefferson Trust, feels passionately about his role as a trustee. “The real ‘Kool-Aid’ for me as a Trustee is the incredible opportunity I have for such direct contact with the life of the University and to see an immediate and tangible impact on the education of our students and faculty each and every year,” he said. Rutrough’s support of the University of Virginia demonstrates his commitment to education and initiatives in pursuit of Jefferson’s vision of academic excellence — the Jefferson Trust allows him to play an important role in ensuring the University’s future.