A new venture: Former UVA faculty, Madison House board member invests in future of volunteer service

Before she taught a popular personal finance course at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce for almost two decades, and before she served on Madison House’s Board of Directors, Karin Bonding first encountered Madison House in a photograph. 

“I saw a picture on the front page of The Daily Progress of students camped out in the rain waiting to sign up to volunteer,” she remembers. “It was so far beyond anything that I understood about students. It was amazing.”

Not long after seeing that photograph, Karin left her career as a financial analyst to teach a course at the McIntire School that helps graduating students understand basic financial management like investing in stocks and saving for a 401(k). In the late 1990s, as Madison House approached its 25th anniversary, Karin remembers her students asking to explain what endowments were and how they worked.

It was then that Karin Bonding joined the Madison House board — successfully building the nonprofit’s endowment to $1 million.

During her tenure on the board, she remembers changing the Big Brothers Big Sisters program to the more inclusive iteration of the program today: Big Siblings. Karin also remembers producing Madison House’s first video.

“[A student volunteer] and her Little Sibling were running in and out of the columns on Grounds and on The Lawn. They were playing hide and seek and having so much fun,” Karin says. “So many Big Siblings are trying to instill that kind of thing, saying, ‘It’s possible that you can study here, too.’”

Serving on Madison House’s Board of Directors helped Karin appreciate the talent, dedication and persistence of Madison House’s student volunteers. Living in Charlottesville, Karin has run into former students and Madison House leaders like Garrett Trent, and admires their continued commitment to making a difference through public service.

Karin retired a little over a year ago, though an endowment ensures that the personal finance course she began will continue. Impressed by Madison House’s own diligent finance management and prudent spending, Karin became a Friend of Madison House and included Madison House in her will.

“…there are some incredibly talented people in the next generation that will take over from us,” Karin says. “We have to rely on our youth.”

If you have included Madison House in your will, or wish to include Madison House in your will, please contact Director of Development Melissa Fountain via email at mfountain@madisonhouse.org, or telephone: (434) 977-7051.