Clockwise from lower left: oyster reef restoration (grantee 2014); small animal data station (grantee 2018, 2020); Jonathan Spindel with inner ear model (grantee 2022); Modjadji Choshi showing the location of her mobile STEM and wellness education unit in Limpopo, South Africa (grantee 2022); MeshSAT/DukeSAT in space (grantee 2021). See all past projects.
Photos by JMU Creative Media. Collage by Michael Njoroge (’22).

Where innovation ignites

Every year, philanthropic investors fuel JMU innovations through Madison Trust. Think of a certain TV show but without “sharks” and instead JMU alumni, family members, and friends who believe in and are ready to back their fellow Dukes: faculty, staff and students who are Being the Change on campus, in our community, and around the world.

Register now to attend the 2023 Madison Trust on Friday, March 10.


Innovation ignites in Madison Trust and grows in service to the world.


Our faculty innovators seek seed money to secure proof of concept, launch programs, conduct novel research, develop inventions, and more.

Our philanthropic investors are discerning donors who foresee the local, regional, national and/or global impact of the faculty and staff projects they choose to support — and who do not receive any financial return on their contributions to Madison Trust.

Together, we bring imagination and insight to life. We are savvy visionaries who consider innovation the key to tackling the toughest problems.


Since 2014, donors to Madison Trust have provided more than $955,000 to nearly 100 worthy projects. 


Building a better world: Architecture students rescue local trees from the landfill

November 11, 2022 — Last spring, Assistant Architecture Professor Nick Brinen stood before the 2022 Madison Trust attendees asking them to fund his idea for giving students hands-on experience with designing projects and then actually building them. Brinen’s design-build approach would give JMU’s program something rare in architectural education. Read more

JMU supply chain team ships medical supplies to hospitals in Kyiv, Ukraine

September 28, 2022 (HARRISONBURG, Va.) — A 40-foot ocean freight container of humanitarian aid is on its way to those affected by Russia’s war in Ukraine thanks to the James Madison University Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) Student Forum. Read more 

2022 Madison Trust pitches online

March 11, 2022 (HARRISONBURG, Va.) — This event was livestreamed from James Madison University. Watch as this year’s top 10 JMU faculty and staff innovations are revealed and pitched to a panel of philanthropic investors. Read more 

Everything old is new again: Old medical supplies find new life in Africa

Feb. 10, 2022 (DIJIBOUTI, West Africa) — 2400 face shields, 126 crutches and canes, 16 hospital beds, 10 wheelchairs, four boxes of surgical instruments, an ultrasound machine... Read more 

Professor’s animal monitoring innovation earns patent with donor assist

Winter 2022 — Biology professor Katrina Gobetz received a U.S. patent for her Animal Monitoring Data Station, a novel idea developed at JMU and supported by donors from Madison Trust. Read more

Madison Trust is an initiative of University Advancement managed by the office of Corporate & Foundation Relations in collaboration with colleagues and campus partners from across JMU.

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