The 3L Class Gift Program provides a way for members of the graduating class to come together and give back to the law school in order to ensure that the students who follow in their footsteps are met with the same excellent educational experience and collegial environment they had. Contributing to the class gift efforts allows 3L students to show their appreciation for their legal education, the experiences they have had, and the memories they have created during their time at Vanderbilt Law School.
Excellent question! Did you know that tuition only covers 76% of the actual cost of your legal education? The remainder is made up by donations from alumni, students and friends. Because of these gifts, the law school is able to best support the students--through funding student organizations, bringing in renowned guest speakers, providing top-notch career services to ensure professional development and job placement, maintaining the extensive library, keeping class sizes down and continually upgrading technology. Additionally, support for scholarships, awards and programs allows us to attract, recruit and retain the highest caliber of students and reduce their future loan burden.
The Class of 2021's Class Gift Committee has chosen three funds to spotlight as areas of focus: the Racial Justice Initiatives Fund, the Public Interest Stipend Fund, and the Law Student Emergency Relief Fund. Descriptions of these three are detailed below. We would love for you to support one or more of these funds with your gift, but please know you can always choose to support any fund at the law school--your favorite student organization, the journal for which you work so many hours, a scholarship that has positively influenced your life, or the general Law School Fund. All gifts to the law school will count toward Class Gift totals.
Because we've seen and learned more about the racial bias presented in our justice system, the committee has chosen to focus support on the Racial Justice Initiatives Fund. Established in 2020 to support the law school's current student initiatives addressing issues of racial justice. Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Community, Yesha Yadav, is driving this work and is responsible for administering these funds.
The lack of resources for lawyers representing the most vulnerable in our society is simply unacceptable. We want to help that cause by asking class members to donate to the Public Interest Stipend Fund. Established in 2014, this fund provides public interest fellowship support to Vanderbilt Law students. Specifically, stipends are available to students participating in a summer pro bono fellowship that supports traditionally underserved populations. This is a merit-based award and helps defray cost-of-living expenses.
Taking care of our community when disaster strikes is a key part of why the Vanderbilt Law community is so special. In partnership with AccessLex Institute, the Law Student Emergency Relief Fund was established in 2020 in response to the hardships students began facing after the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who find themselves in financial need due to the unique disruption in their educational and professional lives due to the pandemic are eligible to apply for up to $500 in assistance. More information about this assistance, including a link to the application, can be found here.
Make Your Gift
As we prepare for the Class Gift program for current 3Ls, members of the Class of 2021 are welcome and encouraged to go ahead and make their gift to the law school. A contribution of any amount will help the class reach the participation goal. You can set up a monthly recurring gift or make a one-time gift online.
Yes! While tuition covers a majority of what it takes to run the law school, it does not cover it all. Donations from alumni and friends make up the difference. Without these gifts, the law school would not be able to fund student organizations, provide career services, keep class sizes down, bring distinguished guest lecturers to campus, employ renowned faculty members, maintain the extensive library or continually upgrade technology. In particular, scholarships and awards enable the school to recruit the most talented of students and to minimize the loan burden.
By making your first gift to the law school, you become introduced to the importance of philanthropy and contribute to the legacy of giving established by the thousands of VLS alumni who have come before you. A high alumni giving participation rate shows law firms, foundations, and prospective students that alumni truly believe in Vanderbilt Law School, and that their donations are well placed. Last fiscal year, over 28% of all alumni gave back to the law school, which compares favorably with other top 20 law schools. As an upcoming member of the alumni community, you have the opportunity to continue the strong tradition of support the law school has celebrated for decades.
Absolutely. Gifts of any amount are greatly appreciated and truly make a difference. What matters most to us, though, is your participation. Alumni participation is very compelling, but 3L giving is even more so. Your support improves the school’s ability to leverage major gifts from other alumni, individuals and firms who pay attention to what occurs at Vanderbilt Law School.
Yes. All donations to the Law School are deductible from federal income tax if the donor itemizes deductions when filing his or her tax return. Donors may also be eligible to claim state income tax credit.
Gifts to any area of the law school are counted towards our participation goal and total dollars raised. Our goal is to encourage participation and cultivate the spirit of philanthropy so that the law school is strengthened for years to come. This starts with giving to an area of VLS that is most meaningful to you – whether that’s to one of the areas of focus, a specific student organization, or another area.
Have a question or concern that is not answered above? Email Sydney Talley, associate director of annual giving.