The Vision of the Jefferson Trust

To promote excellence throughout the University of Virginia by providing catalytic support to the University community for initiatives in pursuit of Jeffersonian ideals.

The Mission of the Jefferson Trust

The Jefferson Trust provides discretionary funding for trustee-selected projects that enhance the University of Virginia as a preeminent global institution of higher learning.  The Trustees solicit and evaluate applications, and provide grants and stewardship towards the execution of stated project goals.  The Trust measures the success of a grant by its ability to encourage creativity, innovation and leadership, and ultimately by whether it enhances the University and/or the student experience.

The History of the Jefferson Trust

The Jefferson Trust was founded by the Alumni Association of the University of Virginia during the 2005-6 academic year to provide grant funding for initiatives that will enhance the student and faculty experiences at and overall reputation of the University of Virginia. As a state university, the University of Virginia has seen a steady decline in state support since 1991, making dollars for innovative new projects even more difficult to come by.  Given this climate, the Board of Managers of the Alumni Association saw a specific need for supporting the University of Virginia with unrestricted dollars to address funding shortfalls. The Trust was established to raise unrestricted funds from interested Alumni donors and was unique in that these same Alumni donors would be actively responsible for deciding how those funds would be committed across Grounds. The original target fundraising goal for the Trust was $10 million. Providing alumni with an on-going voice on how their donations would be applied was a novel feature of the Trust and has been a key factor in its success to date.

Since inception, the Jefferson Trust has grown to more than $30 million in assets. During the 2017-18 academic year, it gave out more than $700,000 in grant funding, bringing its twelve-year total to over $7 million in grants to fund 179 new initiatives spanning a broad range of schools, departments, student groups, and academic centers at the University.  This generosity has been made possible by the steadfast support of the Alumni Association, the donations of a group of 71 Trustees, each of whom has committed $100,000 or more to build the grant endowment to its current level, and the income from two other assets which have been used to fund operating expenses.

The Trustees of the Jefferson Trust

The trustee board is comprised of three types of trustees: Donor Trustees, Appointed Trustees and a Permanent Trustee. Of the current 65 member trustee board, the majority are Donor Trustees who have contributed or pledged $100,000 or more to the Jefferson Trust. Four Appointed Trustees sit on the board as the result of their positions on the Board of Managers of the Alumni Association; two of whom are the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Jefferson Trust.  In addition, the President of the Alumni Association participates on the Jefferson Trust board as the Permanent Trustee. All trustees are invited to participate in the business of the Trust, attend annual board meetings, review grant proposals and serve on any of the committees of the board.

See more information on our grant process.