Fourth Annual Jefferson Trust Grants to Support 14 Projects at the University of Virginia

May 26, 2009 — A project to preserve Thomas Jefferson's original drawings of the buildings at the University of Virginia and a program to ensure educational access for low-income students will benefit from grants recently awarded by the Jefferson Trust.

The trust awarded 14 new grants totaling $376,000. In addition to aiding architectural preservation and academic access, the grants will help fund student research into Virginia's water resources, restoration of a historic exhibition gallery in Brooks Hall and an initiative to prepare students for professional life.

Established in 2004 by the U.Va. Alumni Association, the Jefferson Trust is an unrestricted endowment that distributes funds annually through a Grounds-wide grant program. The unrestricted nature of the endowment allows the trustees to pursue excellence across the entire University by supporting a variety of initiatives in programs that enhance teaching, scholarship and research; programs that allow faculty and students to work closely together while engaging in hands-on learning; and programs that allow the University community to reach out to other communities – locally, nationally and globally.

In its first four years – including this year – the Jefferson Trust has awarded more than $1.4 million for 37 projects. The grants have ranged from as little as $5,000 to as much as $150,000, and have averaged about $48,000 per project.

The projects have been diverse. They have ranged from helping fund the interdisciplinary work of U.Va. faculty and students who are trying to improve the quality of drinking water in rural South Africa to enabling the Virginia Glee Club to recover and record traditional University songs.

This year, the trustees – led by Grant Committee chairwoman Sharon Owlett, 1 975 graduate of the U.Va. Law School – carefully reviewed more than 45 grant applications, a 350 percent increase over the previous year.

Grants from the Jefferson Trust are announced each year on or around Founder's Day, typically on the south steps of the Rotunda. This year's 14 new grants were announced April 16, totaling $376,000 and ranging from $11,000 to $50,000.

The 2009 grant recipients are as follows:

Mercy Quintos, Library Exhibit Coordinator
Thomas Jefferson Architectural Drawings Conservation Project – to help preserve one of the University's most treasured collections: Mr. Jefferson's original architectural drawings for the Academical Village. $50,860.

James L. McBride Jr.
Employment Development Initiative-University Career Services – to increase the number of organizations recruiting students and to ready students for professional life. $40,500.

Daniel Lefkowitz
Language Pedagogy Workshop for Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages – to develop a multi-lingual workshop to train teachers of non-European languages. $15,000.

Gowher Rizvi
Center of International Studies Initiative – to support the creation of a highly rigorous and prestigious major and minor in global studies. $40,000.

Teresa B. Culver
Virginia Water Resources Cooperative Program – to allow U.Va. undergraduate and graduates in the Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Program at U.Va. to work on water resources projects here in the Commonwealth. $15,761.

Meg Heubeck
Youth Leadership Initiative e-Commerce – to fund an interactive, free civic education program that teaches elementary and secondary students the basic tenets of the legislative process in the U.S. $12,000.

John Hawley
Enhanced Research Educational Experience – to allow students in the Department of Astronomy to engage in research in advanced observation facilities in New Mexico and Arizona. $11,136.

Susan McKinnon, Paul Kingston and Anna Towns
Brooks Hall Commons – to support design efforts to restore the historic exhibition gallery in Brooks Hall. $20,000.

Theresa Carroll, Emily Drake and Sarah Farrell
Undergraduate Research Initiative – to encourage undergraduate nursing students to engage in independent investigative study. $31,400.

William H. Guilford
The Progressive Innovation Program – to allow students in the biomedical engineering program to engage in a multiyear discovery and innovation effort to try to develop solutions to real-world problems. $30,000.

John Quale and Phoebe Crisman
Promoting the Student Experience in Collaborate+Design+Build+Evaluate through the Learning Barge and ecoMOD4 Summer Build 2009 – supporting the ecoMod4 project, a partnership of the Architecture and Engineering schools to make highly energy-efficient prefabricated homes for low-income persons. $20,000.

Ida Lee Wootten
Linking Day in the Life Service to Jefferson Public Citizens' Growth – to support a program that unites U.Va. students with local youth in tutoring and mentoring relationships. $20,000.

Daria M. Snider
Student Math Study Lounge – to help create a meeting place for students to receive or give help in mathematics. $20,000.

Gordon Burris
John Blackburn AccessUVA Scholarship Endowment – in memory of longtime head of admissions of the University and great friend. $50,000.