Darden Serves the Community


Over 160 Darden School of Business staff and faculty members celebrated the holidays on Thursday, December 17 by giving back.

Darden teams volunteered at more than 10 local charities. They spent the morning bathing and walking dogs for the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA. They sang carols and filled stockings at Cedars Nursing Home and cleaned apartments at the Monticello Area Community Action Agency’s (MACAA) Hope House, which provides transitional housing for homeless families. 

“Our annual holiday party contains two elements,” said Terry de Guzman, Darden’s associate dean for finance and administration. “We hold our party in the afternoon, but first, in the morning, we break into teams and tackle a number of community service projects.”

At the Thomas Jefferson Area Branch of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Darden volunteers learned that local demand for food has risen 30 percent over the last year. The team filled at least 80 People in Need (or PIN) boxes with staple foods to feed a family. At Meals on Wheels, a team put together 15 “blizzard bags” of grocery items, which will be delivered to the homes of people in need.

Meanwhile, outside of her office, Gayle Noble, office manager of Darden’s Batten Institute, initiated a “Hats for the Homeless” collection site.

“Thanks to the staff from Darden’s library and Sponsor’s Hall, some no-sew scarves took on a life of their own,” said Noble. The group created scarves, gloves and ear-warmers from heavy-weight fleece and then collected even more, for a total of 101 pairs of gloves, 73 scarves and 67 hats, which were delivered to the Hope Community Center in Charlottesville, which provides outerwear and opens its doors to the homeless population. 

“There were a lot of stories from the day that were very rich with emotion,” said Marie Payne, a graphic designer at Darden, who helped coordinate the day.

Other local charities served by the Darden teams were: Hillsdale Adult Day Care Center, Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, The Laurels of Charlottesville, Salvation Army Thrift Store, Mary Williams Senior Center and Jeffrey’s Gifts of the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital.

“We created the teams so that that staff and faculty spent the morning working with colleagues they may not see on a daily basis,” said Jim Kurre, Darden’s director of human resources. “So, not only did we make a difference in the community, we also had a wonderful time in the process.”

Founded in 1955, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business improves society by developing principled leaders in the world of practical affairs.

For more information, communication@darden.virginia.edu

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