Work Fluidly and Flexibly in University Advancement
Find the information you need to work efficiently and effectively, including University Advancement's flexible work guidelines, procedures, and other resources.
University Advancement Senior Leadership Communications
To the University Advancement Team:
I hope that you’re all enjoying a great spring, as our community and nation thankfully continue on a path out of the pandemic and back to more normal daily life. I was thrilled to recently announce our ability to travel domestically again, and I hope that you’re all continuing to follow updates from the University about evolving policies. I write to update you on the status of our phased reopening of the Old Ivy offices. We will commence Phase II of our reopening plan on Monday, July 19th, with the launch of our new flexible work environment.
Our decision to adopt a hybrid approach that allows our team members to choose from both in-office and virtual-remote work was significantly influenced by your feedback and recommendations from the surveys we conducted with our team in the fall of 2020 and this spring—thank you for participating. There are only a few positions in University Advancement that require a full-time physical presence in the office. For everyone else, the guiding factor in deciding whether to work from the office or elsewhere is, “where will I do my best work?”
Of course, our decisions are also shaped according to the latest advice from public health experts and adhere to guidelines from the CDC, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the University. Julie Featherstone, Ashley Privott, Matt Caesar, and the Advancement Operations team have been working tirelessly to continually refine, adapt, and execute our plans, and I want to express my deepest gratitude for their dedication to ensuring that we can all do our best work safely.
The plans for Phase II of our reopening are too detailed for me to cover entirely here. Beginning later this week, Advancement Operations will provide weekly updates throughout the month on Phase II implementation, including details for training on the “hoteling” software to reserve Old Ivy office spaces. As always, if you have additional questions or can’t find information that you need from one of these resources, please touch base with your supervisor.
As President Ryan announced on May 27th, UVA students returning to Grounds in the fall will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. UVA employees are not currently required to be vaccinated, but unvaccinated employees working on Grounds or physically interfacing with others on behalf of the University will be expected to participate in regular testing programs and additional precautionary requirements. These policies, and other ways that your vaccination status will affect your working in the Old Ivy offices, will be continually updated, communicated, and made available on the Hub.
In closing, as I’ve said many times and can’t say enough, I’m increasingly amazed and inspired by the ways that each and every one of you stepped up over the last 15 months. At last week’s Board of Visitors meeting, I once again highlighted all the statistical evidence of your astounding performance during the pandemic period, but the numbers will never tell the full story of the creativity, innovation, and resilience that you all showed in achieving our shared success. University Advancement is leading the way in the “future of work,” and many of our colleagues across the Grounds are modeling their plans after ours. I’m immensely grateful for and to our team, and I thank you in advance for carrying that same “can do, will do” spirit into the transitions that lie ahead and all our future work together.
A few minutes ago, the University announced updates to its COVID policies for students, faculty, and staff. If you have not already, I encourage you to read the message for full details.
Perhaps the most positive of these updates for Advancement is that effective immediately, University community members are permitted to conduct University-related domestic travel, as long as they follow CDC guidelines, which calls for individuals to be fully vaccinated before they travel. The University anticipates lifting restrictions on international business travel this summer and will share guidelines no later than June 15.
I realize that this past year has been challenging for all of us, especially for our colleagues who rely on in-person interactions to build and strengthen relationships. When travel and in-person meetings/events were restricted, everyone pivoted to virtual visits, events, and phone calls to creatively keep our constituents engaged. Many institutions saw a steep decline in giving and alumni participation over this period. Thankfully, this was not the case for Virginia. Because of your hard work and the generosity and passion of our alumni and friends, we have over $450 million in documented and verbal commitments for FY21 (with nearly 45 days to go) and we have hosted over 560 virtual events with record-breaking event registrations.
Thank you for your resilience, patience, creativity, and grace as we weathered this pandemic and the challenges it presented us. I look forward to the opportunity to see each of you, in-person, soon.
To the UVA Advancement Community,
Today is the one-year anniversary of our shift to remote work due to the COVID-19 global health crisis. So much has happened in the last 365 days. There have been many challenges, and we’ve all persevered through shared and unique difficulties, but there’s so much more that I’m inspired by as I reflect on all that we’ve accomplished together since March 12, 2020.
We finished FY20 with the second highest fundraising year in our history and surpassed key campaign milestones. We weathered the economic uncertainty of the pandemic while overhauling our entire work model on the fly. We reinvented our constituent engagement programs for a virtual world and shattered attendance records. We raised fast funds for COVID research, treatment, and local vaccinations. We provided emergency scholarship relief for students affected financially by the pandemic and secured gifts to reimagine core elements of the undergraduate experience with virus precautions. We set a record for Athletics annual giving without most fans being able to attend games. Most recently, we’ve seen a promising surge in giving momentum, including an uptick in large gifts, to keep our campaign ahead of schedule.
Behind all that “we” accomplished is each and every one of you—rising to new challenges every day and finding new ways to do your best work, no matter the circumstances. You found creative ways to engage and solicit donors. You picked up phones to talk parents through COVID concerns or just to chat with an alum struggling with isolation. You worked overtime implementing a new gift processing system. You reconfigured our technology capabilities to serve remote work. You wrote so many thank you emails. You did more than anyone will probably ever know.
For all that we achieved in our Advancement enterprise, I’m most inspired by the ways that members of our team stepped up and joined together to support each other and the broader UVA and Charlottesville communities. Scores of you volunteered for the COVID Cares Team to support students in quarantine and their families. Many of you have increased your own charitable giving and volunteer service to support our neighbors in need. The College team organized an alumni phonathon to uplift students’ spirits. I bet every one of you can recall a time in the last year when you took on extra work to support a colleague who was struggling or when someone helped lighten your load on a tough day.
While isolation has been hard for all of us, professionally and personally, I’ve heard from many who’ve said that they’ve felt a deeper sense of connection and comradery within their teams. This comes from direct efforts by many of you to strengthen our community during this difficult period. Efforts like the University Priorities team creating a monthly newsletter with a teammate interview, colleague kudos, birthdays, and work anniversaries. Many of you organizing safely-distanced picnic lunches, group hikes, and outdoor happy hours. The McIntire team hosted monthly virtual gatherings of faculty and staff for fun activities, and the Education team launched a self-improvement book club and discussion group. UVA Health team members got a surprise fall visit from office elves bearing care packages. Almost every one of you organized, led, or grew from a Day and Week of Learning session. I’ve heard so many stories of virtual birthday parties, baby showers, retirement sendoffs, and “no work talk” team meetings, and I’m grateful for all of you who have put so much effort into bringing our community closer together over the last year.
It’s my firm belief that our deeper connections across our community, our creativity and adaptability in our work, and our strength we’ve drawn from this shared experience will long outlast the pandemic. As brighter days loom ahead with the expanding vaccine effort, I hope you’ll all take some time this weekend to reflect on the last year and to celebrate yourself, your colleagues, and our accomplishments of the last year.
My deepest thanks to you all,
I hope you all enjoyed a restful Labor Day holiday and that you’re experiencing a relatively smooth transition to this most unique academic year. I write today to update everyone on University Advancement’s plans for how we will continue working for the foreseeable future and how we will eventually return to a modified office work environment. I’m in the process of finalizing our FY21 goals with the President, but I will share with you that we put forth a focus on the health, wellbeing, and continued professional growth of our team as our top organizational priority. The evolving circumstances of the ongoing pandemic demand that this goal be #1 and dictate the conditions of its pursuit.
As you know, we’ve remained in the same stage of remote work since March, and today I’m formally announcing that we’ll continue in this mode for the foreseeable future. Since March, our senior leadership team has focused first and foremost on the health, safety, and wellbeing of our team. In doing so, we’ve been guided by a principle of careful planning with maximum adaptability in the face of extraordinary unpredictability. A special thank you to Julie Featherstone, Ashley Privott, Matt Caesar, and others who have spearheaded logistical planning for our evolving work structures, and to the whole AVP team, who focused on how and when to move from one planned stage to the next.
The primary reason for our decision to continue remote work was feedback from all of you through the recent staff survey. Your insights about health, community safety, and managing your families in an uncertain environment, especially regarding children’s school, helped inform our decision to maintain our remote work status quo. Encouragement from the President and Provost to reduce density on and around Grounds reaffirmed our decision. Candidly speaking, your continued high performance during this remote work period also helped make this an easy call.
When we do eventually reopen our offices for work, it will come with three to four weeks of advance notice and will occur in phases under a carefully devised plan and per University policy. Please take some time to review the current UA Reopening Plan and the supporting UA Return to Office Procedures. You’ll see that the plan is comprehensive and that we’ve attempted to anticipate every safety concern and to build maximum flexibility into the plan and its guidelines. Please let us know if you think we’ve missed anything in either the guidelines or the plan. Your feedback has been crucial to our decision-making so far, and your questions, concerns, and ideas will help shape our plans as they continue to evolve. Please share any thoughts with your relevant AVP at your earliest convenience.
I do want to highlight some key themes of the plan. As noted, we’ll remain in Phase I for the foreseeable future. Phase II, an interim stage while we’re still dealing with COVID-19, revolves around individual flexibility for teammates whose roles or personal circumstances require them to spend at least some time working in the office. Discussion with your supervisor will determine if and how you fit into this category and to what extent you need to work in the office. Phase III represents the “new normal” of how our workspace will function in a new hybrid model once COVID-19 concerns are not guiding every office occupancy decision.
The “hybrid” and “hoteling” aspects of our future workspace plans will be more specifically addressed in future communications as these plans unfold. For now, I want to share some general thoughts about this approach. In many ways, the circumstances forced on us by the pandemic, and your stellar performance in the face of these challenges, have accelerated our organization’s evolution toward a more modern and flexible workspace arrangement. Simply put, the last several months have proven that not everyone needs to work in an office for fixed daily hours to successfully fulfill the demands of their role.
We envision a new, post-COVID future where every individual has the flexibility to work when and where is most suited to their unique circumstances. Obviously, this flexibility would need to be approved by individual managers in advance, but it should provide everyone with greater freedom and balance in their life. Our office, industry, and other workplaces across our nation are adopting flexible workplace approaches that have been heralded in technology firms and other innovative employers for years. While I wish that a pandemic did not instigate these changes, I’m very excited for what the future of work at University Advancement will look like, and I hope that you will be, too. Again, we’ll have more detailed discussions about this “new normal” as it approaches, and your feedback will be essential for fine tuning our future workspace plans.
Thank you, again, for your input in our planning process and for your dedication, perseverance, patience, and incredible performance during this period of uncertainty and upheaval in all our lives. I hope that you will share my optimism for our work plans and all that lies ahead for our team.
I hope that this finds you well and able to have some respite during this summer of unprecedented and evolving challenges. Thank you, again, for maintaining your focus and high performance on behalf of the University throughout these tumultuous times and for your time yesterday on our Advancement Community call. I write today to clarify the implications for University Advancement from UVA’s “Return to Grounds” announcements and to seek your input as we chart a path forward for our office.
I want to first applaud and thank President Ryan, Liz, J.J., and all the senior leaders and staff who are working tirelessly to ensure a safe return to Grounds for our students, faculty, researchers, caregivers, and the essential staff who support them. Their entire approach to this complex effort, especially their reliance on internal and external expertise, instills confidence that UVA is doing everything possible to provide a safe environment for its core missions to thrive. I encourage all of you to pay close attention to ongoing updates from central leadership via email and the Return to Grounds website and to take the time to review the University’s Return to Grounds Guide found here.
There have been a few questions related to our ability to return to work on Grounds after July 31, and I want to outline our current thinking. The July 31 return to in-person work outlined in some announcements is primarily intended for roles that are student-facing or otherwise support resumption of new-normal operations. I embrace and support the University’s recommendation that we remain conservative and flexible about our return to the office, if we are able. The health and wellness of our team, and the larger community we are part of, are my top priorities. I also understand that all of us have broader concerns surrounding scheduling, including what school and childcare options will look like in the weeks and months ahead.
To help each of you plan appropriately, as of now, we are targeting a staggered return to in-person work for University Advancement to begin the week of September 21. For those of you with children, a slightly delayed start provides you the flexibility to start the school year, in whatever form, and the opportunity to have several weeks of transition before beginning to return to the office. This date also will allow us to further monitor the current public health climate in Charlottesville after we resume classes and make any appropriate modifications to our plans, if needed.
Julie Featherstone and her team are spearheading the development and implementation of a comprehensive safety plan in close coordination with University-wide guidance. I’m also having focused discussions with J.J. Davis and other senior leaders, and the UA AVP team and I are meeting regularly to strategize our return to in-person work. In the meantime, our offices will remain closed until September 21, so please continue to consult your supervisor about any needs to access the office. As stated in the pan-University announcements, the moratorium on University-related travel remains in place until further notice.
Like every other aspect of life with COVID-19, we expect a new normal will present significant changes in our day-to-day work lives once we return to the office, but it will also provide an opportunity to rethink the way we work going forward. Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done between now and mid-September to refine our return-to-work plan, and we want to hear from you to help shape this.
Please complete this 10 minute survey to provide feedback about your experience working remotely, potential concerns about returning to the office, and specific elements of what the new office environment may look like. The AVP team developed this survey to help inform our decision making, along with other data and expert guidance. The survey is completely anonymous; results will be aggregated, and responses will not be directly attributed in any way. Please be completely candid and submit your responses by July 31.
As I’ve said many times before, our team has exceeded all expectations during our remote work period, and I know that I can count on your resilience, creativity, and care for others as we plot and execute our eventual return to working in the office. Until then, keep up the great work and please know how much I appreciate your contributions to our University.
I hope that you and your families are remaining healthy as our collective social distancing efforts continue. While many of us are finding ways to make the most of our time isolated at home, I know that we are all looking forward to an easing of restrictions and a return to some degree of normalcy, whatever it may look like. I cannot overstate how much I appreciate your continued focus and hard work during these uncertain times. We’re getting through this together, and we’re getting better and closer as a community in the process.
This week, I want to highlight some good news, good ideas, and great work from across our community. I don’t want to seem boastful about fundraising news during these difficult times, but I do want to celebrate the donors who have stepped forward to help UVA with direct response to the pandemic and its impacts on our health, community, and global society. Gifts large and small show our UVA community rallying together to support our students, core mission, and the role UVA will play in restoring global health and economic vitality.
- I hope that you’ve all read the article in UVAToday about Paul Manning’s (Parent ‘07, ‘09, ‘13) generous expendable gift of $1 million to create a research catalyst fund focused on COVID-19. In addition, in the last week, another local foundation has stepped forward with a verbal commitment to support a similar research fund at the University—we hope to announce this soon.
- UVA Health has raised nearly $345,000 for its COVID-19 response fund, and the Jefferson Trust, led by Ashley Manning (McIntire ‘97), made a $125,000 special grant to President Ryan to support students, healthcare workers, and patients affected by COVID-19.
- The UVA Parents Fund made a $250,000 grant to the Student Life and Leadership Fund to support students with unexpected financial needs caused by the pandemic. The Fund has also received support from approximately 350 alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends.
- Nearly 250 donors, including from many of you, have supported the UVA Emergency Assistance Fund for Employees and Contracted Workers in a touching show of support for your coworkers.
- University Professor of Politics Larry Sabato (A&S ‘74) and Center for Politics Advisory Board Chair Peter Kiernan (Darden ‘79; Parent) are leading fellow donors in supporting politics students with virtual summer internships.
- And, I would be remiss if I did not mention the early $1 million grant from Jaffray (McIntire ‘91) and Merrill (A&S/Curry ‘98) Woodriff to support the rapid expansion of the UVA-developed COVID-19 test that is now deployed across Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington DC.
- I am sure that I speak for all of us in expressing tremendous gratitude for all those who have stepped forward to support UVA and its response to this unprecedented global challenge.
Our teams across the Grounds continue to find innovative ways to strengthen the bonds in our UVA community and I would like to highlight a few that have recently been shared with me:
- The College Foundation has enlisted board volunteers to reach out to all graduating fourth-years to share congratulations and encouragement.
- University Advancement Donor Relations is arranging phone and video calls between R&V scholarship donors and their fourth-year beneficiaries—connections that we believe will be very meaningful for the donors and students, now more than ever.
- President Ryan will be featured this Thursday, May 7, in a virtual interview format for an audience of the University’s highest-level donors and volunteer leaders. The President’s virtual event will be followed by similar sessions with Provost Liz Magill, Athletics Director Carla Williams, and Executive VP for Health Affairs Craig Kent.
- Overall, teams across the Grounds have produced over 40 virtual events, since UVA suspended in-person events In March, with over 14,000 registrations from 9,350 unique constituents. The number of registrations is staggering because it is close to surpassing the number of registrations that we had last year during this time for over 350 events that were hosted primarily around the national championship win.
- Just last week, a virtual “Run with Jim” had 3,250 registrations, a virtual tour of the Pavilion Gardens had 1,100 registrations, and “On-Air with UVA” featuring Dean of the School of Data Science, Phil Bourne, had 1,035 registrations from 17 countries—our highest international registrations for a virtual event to date.
- Our colleagues across the Grounds have individually connected with nearly 24,000 alumni, parents, and friends since the second week of March.
- And, finally, next week, we plan to hold an across-Grounds Advancement Community meeting where President Ryan, and others, will speak to the team. More details will be forthcoming in the next several days.
None of this good news would be possible without great work by every one of you. We have all had to adapt to unique working conditions, while facing broader circumstances that are deeply concerning to all of us. I wish that I could recognize all of you individually for the creative ways that you have found to continue, and even improve, our work during this challenging time. For now, please accept my sincerest thanks and know how much your work means to our community—within Advancement and among the entire UVA constituency. Keep safe.
The fourth quarter of each fiscal year is typically UVA’s second-largest quarter for philanthropic revenue from mass solicitations. Maintaining such revenue flow, as much as possible, is critical to preparation for UVA’s resumption of normal activities, especially in a constrained budgetary environment. That said, these needs must be balanced with the ever-evolving concerns of our donors in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are thankful to our partners across the Grounds for suspending mass appeals for the last month. We believe this was the right decision in the early stages of the pandemic crisis, but many of our colleagues have asked for direction in the weeks to come. After talking with the President, we encourage schools and units to send direct mail and/or e-appeals between now and June 30, but we ask that you consider the following guidelines and recommendations.
- We suggest that outreach should come from the leader of the school/unit (dean, VP, etc.). In some situations, it may be appropriate to have the signatory be a volunteer or student, but we recommend against mass solicitations coming from Advancement staff at this time.
- We recommend that the content explicitly reference the current situation and be forward-looking to how such funding will ensure programing and student/faculty support in the future. This is not business as usual.
- Schools and units should be cognizant of the volume of solicitations that are sent. We recommend no more than one direct mail appeal, and e-appeals should be used strategically. Obviously, e-appeals allow us to modify content quickly in a rapidly changing environment. However, we want to be donor-centric and sending multiple mass e-appeals, which is common for some schools/units at the end of the fiscal year, could have a negative impact. If multiple e-appeals are sent, we ask that you track the open rates and recommend sending follow-up emails only to those who have opened the first solicitation so as to minimize donor fatigue.
- To improve coordination of mass appeals, we ask that staff document all print and e-appeals on the Advancement Direct Marketing Calendar as early as possible. In addition, we ask that you monitor the calendar in advance of your distribution to minimize our constituents receiving multiple messages in the same day. The calendar can be found here. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Julia Parlette-Cariño in University Annual Giving, at firstname.lastname@example.org, for assistance.
- From a technical perspective, we ask that all solicitations have appeal codes and, if sent electronically, that the appeals are delivered through Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
- We request that any negative responses be replied to individually, promptly, and tracked in Advance. Again, we want to be donor-centric, and tracking such responses will be helpful to our colleagues across the Grounds in their outreach.
In closing, we will also begin sending pledge reminders again this month from the University. We will be modifying the text of the reminders and would encourage you to do the same if your individual school/unit/foundation is responsible for your own reminders.
If you need assistance on the content for appeals and/or pledge reminders, please do not hesitate to ask.
Thank you, again, for your continued leadership during these times.
I have never been more impressed with the ingenuity, resilience, and dedication in our community than I’ve been in the last few weeks. I’m grateful to be part of this team and for all your individual and collaborative efforts to rise to new challenges every day. Please continue to take good care of your health, both physical and mental, and your family first. Please keep checking on your colleagues and look for ways to uplift those who need help.
This week, I want to highlight some innovative steps that our peers across the Grounds are taking to engage alumni and to focus on internal development and strategic planning.
Creating and Disseminating Content:
- McIntire hosted three alumnae-led webinars promoted to their alumni with trending topics ranging from best practices for remote work in the current environment to maintaining financial focus during turbulent times. Each attracted between 100-350+ registrations.
- The School of Architecture made lectures available online to alumni, and Darden is looking at the possibility of online mini-classes for alumni.
- Darden is sending messages to their younger alumni promoting career services and other resources.
- In a collaboration between advancement, engagement, and communications, Darden has also begun compiling stories from alumni about how COVID-19 has impacted them—whether personally or in business.
Internal Development and Strategic Planning:
- New employee orientation and training have been moved online. In the last three weeks, there have been over 130 virtual training sessions.
- Several areas, including our reunions and principal gifts teams, have completed or are in ongoing benchmarking projects with peer universities to learn from their responses to the COVID-19 crisis. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Andrea Devine (email@example.com) and she can point you in the right direction for additional information.
- From an operational perspective, we have updated the Bicentennial Professorship gift agreement templates on the Advancement Hub under Resources, to reflect the new matching levels, along with additional resources related to gift agreements.
- If you would like to contribute to the funds that the University has established related to COVID-19, or if you receive inquiries from donors, please go to giving.virginia.edu. The top portion of the home page has been updated to include the opportunity to support our students, the COVID-19 Fund at the Health System and the UVA Emergency Assistance Fund announced by President Ryan last week. There is also an option to make a payroll deduction if you are a University employee.
I am pleased to report some exciting news about our planned giving program. After an extensive review, we have hired TIAA Kaspick to replace BNY Mellon as our third-party provider. Effective July 2020, TIAA Kaspick will manage and administer our charitable remainder trusts, pooled income funds, and gift annuities. On April 23rd at 11:00 AM, the Office of Gift Planning (OGP), in partnership with Mark Smith, of TIAA Kaspick, whom many of you may remember from his time with the OGP at UVA, will be leading a Zoom meeting to answer any questions you may have, including our communication plan to our current planned giving constituents. We intend for this to be a smooth transition which will benefit both our donors and the programs at the University, Schools and Units. Please click here for FAQs or reach out to the Office of Gift Planning directly with questions.
It is good to see important work continuing. Everything that we can do now to proactively prepare for the relaunch of normal business will pay dividends down the road. I look forward to promoting more creative ideas in the weeks to come. If your unit has something to share—whether already succeeding or still in formative stages—please communicate with Andrea Devine (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you for your continued focus on being at our best, and being there for each other, during the most challenging of times.
Mark Luellen, Vice President for Advancement
I want to first send my best wishes to you and your families. With Governor Northam’s order for Virginians to stay at home, I hope that you all are staying in as much as possible, remaining healthy and safe, and keeping your spirits up. I cannot repeat enough how much I appreciate all your focus, hard work, and collaboration during these uniquely challenging times.
Second, I want to share an online learning and networking opportunity that will be of interest to our alumni relations and engagement professionals. Cindy Fredrick and her team are partnering with peers at Clemson University to host an ACC Alumni Outreach Virtual Meeting on Wednesday, April 1, at 12:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity to connect with peers to discuss best practices, brainstorm ideas, and share lessons learned. You can join the Zoom meeting by clicking this link.
Finally, I want to share detailed information about how federal response actions may affect our work in the months ahead—namely, specific elements of the CARES Act relief package that impact philanthropy. As most of you know, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, that the President signed into law on Friday provides more than $2 trillion in relief touching nearly every corner of the U.S. economy. Included are several provisions of interest to our Advancement Community—particularly our development professionals. A brief summary is below:
- 100% of AGI limit available in 2020 for cash gifts to most public charities: For the 2020 tax year only, donors may elect to apply a new 100% of adjusted gross income (AGI) limit to cash gifts to public charities. Gifts to donor advised funds (DAFs) are not eligible for this special election. The 100% limit is reduced dollar-for-dollar by other itemized charitable deductions. This means that, in 2020, a donor who deducts 30% of her AGI in long-term appreciated property gifts and elects the 100% of AGI limit for qualified cash contributions will be able to also deduct up to 70% of her AGI for qualified cash gifts, a total deduction of up to 100% of AGI. If this donor uses all of her available deduction for qualified cash gifts, she will pay no federal income tax in 2020! Ordinarily, this donor’s total deduction would be limited to 60% of AGI, and she would have to carry forward the rest. This change presents a big opportunity for attracting major gifts and planned gifts in 2020.
A donor who makes the 100% of AGI election can carry forward unused qualified cash gift deductions up to 5 years. The carryforward will be subject to the normal 60% of AGI limit, as are cash deductions carried forward from past years.
- The 100% election may not always be the tax-wise choice: Because federal income tax rates are progressive, it is not a given that it will be to a donor’s advantage to make the 100% of AGI election. For example, a single donor who has taxable income of $200,000 is in the 32% federal income tax bracket. If the donor makes $200,000 in qualified cash contributions, makes the 100% of AGI election, and itemizes no other deductions, he will pay no federal income tax in 2020, saving $45,015.50 in tax as a result. However, if he doesn’t make the election, he would deduct $120,000 and carry forward $80,000 to 2021. Assuming he can deduct the remaining $80,000 in 2021 and again has taxable income of $200,000, he will save $31,625 in federal income tax in 2020 and approximately another $22,136 in 2021, a total tax savings over the two years of $53,761. A donor in the highest federal tax bracket, 37%, could see an even larger tax benefit by not taking the 100% election. Donors should consult their tax advisers to determine whether the 100% election makes sense for them.
- Non-itemizers eligible for $300 charitable deduction: A reduction in taxable income is available in 2020 for donors who do not itemize their deductions. It is an “above-the-line” adjustment to income that will reduce a donor’s AGI and thereby reduce taxable income. This adjustment is available for cash gifts to public charities only and is limited to $300 per taxpayer ($600 for a married couple). It is not available for gifts to DAFs, nor for cash deductions carried forward from prior years. This change will encourage the 90% of taxpayers who do not itemize to make more cash gifts in 2020.
The text in the CARES Act is ambiguous as to whether this provision applies just for the 2020 tax year or for future years as well. The best interpretation appears to be that it applies for 2020 only.
- Required minimum distributions waived in 2020 for most donors: Most donors will not have a required minimum distribution from their retirement plan in 2020. Minimum distributions will not be required from IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s and most other defined contribution plans maintained by an employer for individuals. Minimum distributions that have already started are still required from defined benefit pension plans and some 457 plans. However, required minimum distributions that would have had to start in 2020 don’t have to start until 2021, including distributions from defined benefit pension plans and 457 plans. This change will dampen somewhat the incentive for a donor to make a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from her IRA in 2020. Even so, making a QCD this year will still allow itemizers and non-itemizers alike to direct up to $100,000 from their IRA to charities in a tax efficient manner.
The CARES Act has been made necessary by a terrible pandemic. Foremost in the minds of your donors are acute concerns about their continued health and financial wellbeing and of those they care about. Nevertheless, many of them are also eager to do what they can to help others, and we need to be prepared to help them.
If you have additional questions, please contact Heather Engel, AVP for Gift Planning, at email@example.com or on her mobile at 585-301-6428.
Keep up your good work and your care for each other.
Attached to this e-mail is a letter from me with information and resources specific to the Advancement Community. In the letter, I detail several strategies and tactics that our colleagues are embracing to adapt to an everchanging environment. In the coming weeks, we will continue to share these ideas with our colleagues across the Grounds.
If I can answer any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly and thank you for your leadership during these challenging times.
Mark M. Luellen
Vice President for Advancement
For those of you who were unable to be in the office last Thursday, Mark Luellen was onsite all day to meet with staff and assured us that senior leaders, across the Grounds, are working tirelessly to respond to a constantly evolving situation. Mark spoke to us about being kind, staying focused, and looking for ways to be creative with our work. He also reminded us to be mindful not to judge one another’s reactions to COVID-19.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation and looking forward to the days and weeks ahead, we have refined expectations and provided tips for working remotely.
- We trust all of you to use good judgment when it comes to managing your schedule and communicating with your manager about your work hours.
- As long as the University’s offices are open, we will allow staff to work onsite. That said, in light of local school closures and other safety precautions, please do not hesitate to ask to work remotely in prior consultation with your direct supervisor.
- It may be difficult to take care of your families and work remotely at the same time; we encourage flexibility and creativity from both employees and managers.
- You are free to use PTO if you anticipate significant stretches of being unable to work.
- Please be patient with your colleagues (donors, cross-Grounds partners) when it comes to scheduling meetings and scheduling conflicts. If you see an opportunity to step in and help a colleague, please do so.
- Prioritize your work to ensure you are focusing on the most important activities.
- If there are any issues that arise, or if you are unclear on how to fulfill your job duties that can't be resolved with your manager, please connect with your AVP.
- If you are a manager and are experiencing significant gaps in your team and struggling to complete important projects or assignments, please communicate with one of us and we'll work together on a solution.
- Managers should set and communicate clear timelines and due dates for all projects.
If you have a laptop, we ask that you take it home with you each night should you need to work remotely. If you do not have a laptop, please speak to your supervisor. We have added resources and tools on the Advancement Hub under Hoos Remote to help you be productive while telecommuting. Please review the site and consider making the Advancement Hub your homepage on your work computer.
In addition, within University Advancement, we will begin piloting a casual community listserv: ADVCasual@virginia.edu. This is not meant to serve as University Advancement’s “official” communication resource—our existing listservs will stay in place for broad communications and we encourage you to closely monitor crucial announcements from the University. You are not required to subscribe to the ADVCasual listserv, but we hope it will be an informal communication vehicle between colleagues to share practical resources on working remotely, suggestions from vendors and business partners, ideas from other institutions, online learning, etc. A searchable digest will be linked on the hub as well as in our weekly Advancement Take 5.
During these adverse times, we will continue to be a high-performing organization. We are committed to helping you all work creatively and thrive during this unprecedented time. We will increase communication within our individual teams in the days to come and we thank you for all that you continue to do for our University.
We have heard from a number of our alumni, parents, and friends asking how they can provide financial assistance to our students. If you receive such requests or know of individuals interested in supporting our students, we would ask that you direct them to the Student Life and Leadership Fund. The Student Life and Leadership Fund is a long-standing “rainy day” fund administered by the Division of Student Affairs to help students with unexpected expenses. We are already using this fund to assist students as they adjust to spring semester changes. Support will help underwrite travel expenses, meals, technology needed for online learning, and other necessities for our students.
The University’s giving page, www.giving.virginia.edu, has been updated to provide additional information and there is also a button (“Support Students”) that will take individuals directly to a page to make a one-time, multiple payment, or ongoing gift to the Fund.
While you should feel free to share this link on an individual basis, we would ask that no mass e-mails be sent at this time regarding the Fund.
If you have further questions about the Student Life and Leadership Fund, please feel free to contact Bo Greenwood at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I write to follow up on President Ryan’s email yesterday regarding the coronavirus and University travel guidelines. Our primary concern is safeguarding the health of our community on the Grounds and in Charlottesville as much as possible in the face of a situation that evolves daily. University leadership is monitoring all information channels closely and will provide updates on travel guidelines and other recommendations accordingly. In the meantime, our work will continue, and I think it is crucial for us to all follow one set of travel guidelines in accordance with recommendations from University leadership. They will be following guidance from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health with the wellbeing of all of us as the primary focus.
Obviously, travel is an essential part of many of our roles; as an example, I was NYC today. Of course, we want to minimize risk as much as possible, and we expect you to exercise your own judgment on what is best for the safety of you and your families. I want to summarize and expand on some of the President’s points about travel:
At the current time, the only total travel restriction is on foreign countries where the CDC and/or State Department have imposed a Travel Notice warning of Level 3 or higher. Currently, those countries are China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy.
For all other international travel and for domestic travel, the University discourages “non-essential” travel. As stated above, most of your advancement travel qualifies as essential, but we want you to make smart choices for yourself, your family, our colleagues, and our constituents.
If in doubt about a trip, discuss it with your supervisor to determine if the timing is essential or if it can be rescheduled. Consider if it is possible to drive in your own car, rather than travel on planes or trains. Would a phone call or video conference work in lieu of a visit?
If you do travel, be smart: take caution in large crowds; wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer (keep some on you); avoid touching your face, especially with unwashed hands; plan your schedule to be well rested at all times—being overly tired enhances your risk; stay hydrated; and, if you show any symptoms of the virus, seek medical attention immediately.
Our constituents are in similar positions of concern. Please consider, or simply ask, if they want to keep a planned meeting on the books, or if they would prefer to postpone or use a phone or video conference instead. It is important for us to keep in touch with our stakeholders, especially as market volatility increases from virus concerns, but face-to-face meetings may not be the best option at this time.
We all want to be cautious and safe, but it is important to keep calm and maintain perspective on the level of your personal risk. If you do not feel comfortable with planned travel, please discuss your concerns with your supervisor and explore alternatives.
If you have any questions or concerns, especially as a manager of staff who travel, please contact my office.
In closing, we have a team of senior leaders at UVA who care deeply about each of you. We need to carry on our work and daily lives, but we all need to be smart in the face of a new and evolving challenge. Keep a close eye on any updates from leadership; communicate more than usual with your supervisor or staff about travel; and, do not hesitate to ask questions or raise concerns. Most importantly, be smart and safe.
I will continue to reevaluate and share advancement-specific travel guidance as the situation demands. My thanks to all of you for keeping your and each other’s spirits up and your work moving in the face of challenging circumstances.
University Advancement Flexible Workplace Guidelines
University Advancement FY21 Reopening Details
Work where your work will be best supported. On any given day, you might choose to work from our offices in Charlottesville, your home office, a hotel, an airport, or a coffee shop. We leave it up to you to decide where you will do your best work for UVA, and we acknowledge that this may change from day-to-day, depending on what you and your team are working on. We also acknowledge that the nature of our work may require occasional in-office work and in-person meetings.
Yes. If your role is not "essential" to our physical location, you can work remotely, full-time. The expectation is no different than if you were in the office. Staff are evaluated on performance and accomplishment of goals. It is incumbent upon each employee to ensure their goals and objectives are defined and clear.
We acknowledge that the nature of our work may require occasional in-office work and in-person meetings. Additionally, University Advancement staff are required to attend the Day and Week of Learning in Charlottesville each year.
Yes. If working from the office supports your best work, you are welcome to reserve a location.
No. AVPs will have permanent offices on site, and our essential employees will have permanent space. Otherwise, each person will reserve an office as needed. Reservations can be made in advance and can be recurring.
Working at 2420 Old Ivy Road
Yes. If you need to pop in for up to two hours, you are welcome to work from one of our Collab rooms on the mezzanine on the second floor. Please check in with Mary Greene.
If you need a work space for a more extended period, use the QR codes outside our offices and cubicles to check their availability and reserve the space on the fly.
A Keurig coffee maker and pods are available in the Cafe on the second floor.
Please use your best judgement and dress appropriately for your role.
Please bring your laptop. You may also want to bring your laptop charger and a charger for your cell phone. All workspaces on the second floor have monitors, docking stations, keyboards, and mice. Office spaces also have webcams.
No. Staff are issued a laptop, mouse, and keyboard. You will need to purchase any additional tools that fit your unique needs.
If your team members do not have essential roles, it is not necessary to know. However, you could have team members post their location on a team calendar or in a chat on MS Teams. You can also check OfficeRnD to see where team members have booked workspace at OIB.
If your team members do not have essential roles, you should not require them to work in a certain location. However, we acknowledge that the nature of our work may require occasional in-office work and in-person meetings.
Yes, occasional in-person meetings, like retreats, may be required.
Yes, we will host training for managers focused on topics related to hybrid management.
**The above FAQs are evolving. If you have additional questions, please share them with your AVP.
Stay Connected with These Tools
EMAIL SIGNATURE: Change your email signature line to let business partners know you're working remotely.
PHONE: UVA uses soft phones for individual phone lines. Learn more here.
Working & Managing Remotely
Hybrid Work Models and Definitions. Watch LinkedIn Learning Video.
Flexwork Guidance from UVA's Human Resources team: Flexwork Toolkit
Tips for Success, No Matter Where You Work. Access LinkedIn Learning Course.
Ergonomics for Telecommuters. Review tips from UVA Facilities Management.
5 Highly Effective Virtual Communication Skills. Read Business 2 Community article.
Leading at a Distance, Leading with Emotional Intelligence and more! Access LinkedIn course collection for managers.
Best Practices for Working Remotely. Topics include: managing remote teams, learning Zoom, maintaining an executive presence on conference calls, and using Microsoft teams. Access LinkedIn Learning courses.
Best Podcasts for Remote Workers. Listen to podcasts.
More Remote Work Podcasts. Listen to podcasts.