Skip to main content

VOLstarter_logoThe start of the holiday season includes a day for giving thanks, two days for seeking deals, and now a national day dedicated to celebrating generosity and giving back: Giving Tuesday.

This Tuesday, December 2, UT is encouraging alumni and other donors to participate in Giving Tuesday by:

  • visiting VOLstarter, UT’s newly launched crowdfunding site,
  • picking a worthy project or a University of Tennessee fund,
  • making a gift, and
  • spreading the word about your VOLstarter contribution via social media using the #GivingTuesday

UT launched the VOLstarter crowdfunding site in November as a way for students and departments to raise money for projects that change lives.

From providing funds for advertising students to visit firms in New York to supporting a group that teaches math in adult literacy programs, VOLstarter links donors with opportunities to support specific projects and initiatives.

One of the twenty VOLstarter projects seeks to support students as they carry out social work projects in countries around the world through the Rukeyser Fund for International Study.

“There were times when I was totally alone, having to find my way around a foreign country by myself,” said Anna Weatherstone, who completed a social work placement in New Zealand. “Not only did I do it, I thrived. I came back from this trip positive in my ability to do anything. It changed my life.”

Throughout the year, members of the campus community can submit applications with monetary goals and a timeline for reaching the goal. A committee reviews and chooses projects based on the social impact, feasibility, quality, and overall commitment to the fundraising process. Once a project is fully funded or reaches its deadline, it rotates off the website so a new project can be added.

“We are pleased to offer VOLstarter as a way to connect our alumni and friends more closely with the great work of our students, faculty, and staff. Every gift, no matter the size, will help each project reach its goal and have a positive impact on the many people involved,” said Scott Rabenold, vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs.

Here are a few additional VOLstarter projects:

FMA Meets Warren Buffett: Contributions will help send Haslam College of Business students to Omaha, Nebraska, where they will meet business leader Warren Buffett. The group of students get the opportunity to meet Buffett in person, sit in on a Q & A session, and hear his story of perseverance and hard work. All donated funds will go toward travel expenses.

Orange 3 Project: Contributions will help School of Art graduate students see their art exhibited in the Chelsea Art District of New York City. The Orange 3 Project allows the students to display their artwork for a professional audience, network with well-established artists, and participate in art sessions around the city. All funds will go directly to the student cost of the trip.

Enhancing Literacy: Contributions will help the Center for Literacy, Education, and Employment provide current educational research to instructors and administrators across the state of Tennessee to help better their practices, which in turn will give low-literacy adults the ability to harness strong critical thinking skills in their workplace and everyday life.

To see all VOLstarter projects, visit

C O N T A C T:

Brooks Clark (865-974-5471,