Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative

Join Jefferson’s Circle

The Jeffersonian Grounds, or the University’s core historic precinct, were designed by Thomas Jefferson as the embodiment of his ideas for an educated citizenry as a cornerstone of democracy. In fact, Jefferson cited the University (in his phrasing the “Academical Village”) as one of his proudest achievements, along with writing the Declaration of Independence and Virginia’s statute for religious freedom. He sought recognition not only for two documents fundamental to American freedom but also for the institution through which those freedoms would be preserved.

When Thomas Jefferson began designing and building the University of Virginia, he gathered a “circle of friends” who were the “subscribers, contributors, and founders” of the University. This select group included James Madison and James Monroe, who were present to lay the cornerstone of Pavilion VII and who served on the University’s first Board of Visitors. Jefferson’s Circle was formed to support the preservation of Jefferson’s architectural masterpiece: the Rotunda, pavilions and hotels, student rooms, and gardens that make up his Academical Village.

Jefferson’s Circle members make unrestricted gifts of $1,000 or more as the basis for annual membership. Gifts may be made to the Rotunda Renovation, Historic Buildings and Grounds or the Jeffersonian Restoration Endowment, and are recognized annually in the Rotunda.

With the help of these generous donors, the Rotunda, the pavilion and hotels, the student rooms and the historic landscapes will continue to embody Jefferson’s belief in education as the foundation of democracy.

Members of Jefferson’s Circle provide the means to

  • Continue the restoration of the Jeffersonian buildings and landscapes
  • Organize educational and interpretive programs on the historic buildings and gardens
  • Support documentary and on-site research and support to publish the findings
  • Provide and conserve appropriate furnishings for the pavilions on the Lawn
  • Promote public awareness of the historical and cultural significance of the Academical Village

How to Join Jefferson’s Circle

Jefferson’s Circle is an association of donors who make annual, unrestricted gifts of $1,000 or more to advance the University’s historic preservation effort. Their gifts also support educational programs both for the University community and the general public.

The University invites individuals, corporations, and foundations to become part of Jefferson’s Circle. Gifts that qualify a donor for membership must total $1,000 or more within a single fiscal year, July 1 to June 30.

Contributions may be in the form of cash, securities, planned gifts or other appreciated assets. Matching gifts from an employer are credited to the donor and count toward membership.

Members of Jefferson’s Circle provide a sound foundation for the University’s historic preservation programs. Their continuing generosity protects a landmark of international significance and ensures that the Jeffersonian buildings and grounds remain an integral part of University life for future generations.

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Amy Yancey

Telephone: 434.924.7750
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