Tiffany Graves ’06 Takes on National Appeals Chair Role
Tiffany Graves ’06 agreed to become the new National Appeals Chair for the Law School Foundation long before anyone could have anticipated the challenges that COVID-19 would present for the annual giving campaign and the life of the Law School in general. Not that any of that would have deterred her from signing on to do it. Her two-year term began this summer.
“I’m really supportive of the Law School,” she said, explaining why she took on these additional responsibilities at such a difficult time. “I had a phenomenal experience as a student and have benefited from the generosity of alumni support. That has enabled me to carve out a career in public interest law. So, for me, this is a way of giving back to a school that has given me so much.”
As National Appeals Chair, Graves will head the annual giving campaign, recruiting and encouraging donors and volunteers, sharing information about what is going on in Charlottesville and, when it’s possible again, traveling to alumni events around the country.
Thanks to the hard work of hundreds of alumni volunteers and Martha Warthen ’02, the outgoing National Appeals Chair, the 2019-20 annual giving campaign had “inspiring” results, said Foundation President Luis Alvarez Jr. ’88, considering the campaign was suspended for six weeks at the start of the pandemic. More than 8,000 alumni, or 47%, made gifts totaling $19.86 million during the campaign. Graves is committed to building on that success and will focus on getting the alumni participation rate back to at least 50%. (Before the pandemic, the Law School had a record 14 consecutive years with more than 50% of alumni participating.)
Having served as a class agent since she graduated from law school, Graves knows how important it is for alumni to remain involved. “It doesn’t matter what amount you can give,” she says. “It’s important that you participate and show your support for the Law School.” Each annual gift also counts toward the school’s $400 million capital campaign goal. The school is now $262.7 million, or 65%, toward that goal, part of the University’s $5 billion Honor the Future campaign.
One thing Graves did anticipate was that her additional responsibilities for the Law School would tax a schedule that is already busy to overflowing. She serves as the pro bono counsel for the Bradley firm, in its Jackson, Mississippi, office, which has more than 500 lawyers in 10 offices across the southeastern United States. Despite a demanding work life, she has remained close to her Law School classmates and served on the Law School Foundation’s Alumni Council—the elected body that governs the Alumni Association. Next February, Graves will even teach a remote course for the Law School, “Advancing the Commitment to Public Service Through Law Firm Pro Bono,” to share with students how law firms engage in public service and promote social justice.
Graves acknowledged that she and the Law School Foundation will need to be creative until life returns to normal.
“It’s going to be harder, there’s no doubt about that,” she says. “Alumni still want to know what the law students are experiencing. Finding ways to keep them engaged and give them assurance that things are still good in Charlottesville will be important. We all need to continue to support the Law School even at this strange time in our world.”
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.