UVA Darden Alumni-led Challenge Leads to Surge of Support for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Initiatives

By Kristen Keesee

In the wake of a renewed movement for racial equity and justice and outreach from alumni asking how they can support the University of Virginia Darden School of Business‘ efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, the School introduced a new designation to the Darden Annual Fund last year to create a direct pipeline to fuel this critical work.

To build momentum for the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives designation, the Dean’s Diversity Advisory Council (DDAC) established a match challenge that will yield at least $250,000 in new resources. Those funds will allow the Darden Annual Fund to help the School foster an inclusive community that enables its global and diverse members to collaborate and excel.

The match challenge has two parts, one based on participation and the other a dollar-for-dollar match. The participation challenge activated support for the designation from 100 donors to unlock $50,000.

The second part of the challenge, which is not yet complete, seeks to raise $100,000 to unlock another $100,000. To date, 224 donors have helped to raise more than $94,000 in support of this effort.

“This effort is a step we can take today to ensure Darden sustains a world-class business school culture where all members take responsibility for — and value — an inclusive and diverse community,” said Chief Operating Officer, Sustainability & Center for Inclusive Growth, Mastercard and Vice Chair of the DDAC Nicole Lindsay (MBA ’99/JD ’00). “I am heartened to see that this work continues to be a priority that resonates with my fellow alumni.”

The new designation continues the Darden Annual Fund’s efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, which have also included support of programs such as the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management.

Support for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives designation will power efforts identified and prioritized by Darden’s Racial Equity and Inclusion Working Group, which includes a cross section of Darden leadership, faculty, staff, students and alumni. These efforts will seek to improve the experience of diverse prospective students, current students and alumni at all stages of their engagement with Darden in the following ways:

  • Enable a broader set of recruitment activities.
  • Fund key affinity clubs.
  • Increase opportunities for admissions outreach and yield, including scholarships.
  • Increase access to professional and skill development for students.
  • Support the student-to-alumni transition with compelling engagement opportunities.

Since the new designation launched, and before counting the results of the DDAC challenge, the community has rallied together to raise nearly $152,000 in support of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at the School.

As Darden continues to work toward a more equitable community for all of its members, alumni support remains critical to actualize these efforts.

Contact Interim Vice President for Advancement Samantha Hartog at HartogS@darden.virginia.edu or +1-434-982-2151 to learn more about supporting diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at Darden.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia