Kim Moon, a Westhampton College alum, smiles at the camera

Paying It Forward

March 25, 2021

When Kimberly Ford Moon transferred to the University of Richmond, she had never really traveled outside of her home state of New York. “I was like a fish out of water,” she recalls. Kim grew up the youngest of three daughters in a conservative Catholic household and was the first in her family to attend college. Her parents didn’t place a lot of particular value in higher education; her father was self-made and successful—so Kim and her sisters were encouraged to attend secretarial school. After a year on this path, Kim made the decision to transfer to Richmond, joining the Westhampton College Class of 1983 as an English major.

In a community unlike any she had been part of before, Kim found herself opening up to new ideas and interests at Richmond. At the urging of friend and fellow alumna, Cammie Dunaway, W’84, Kim became involved with WILL*, the nationally recognized four-year program for students interested in exploring gender and diversity studies. Kim’s interest in gender and diversity studies guided her academic path, and she was one of the first students to graduate from Richmond with a degree in Women’s Studies—in addition to her English degree. When she thinks back on her time at UR, she is certain of one thing: her experience changed her life for the better. “It connected me with lifelong friends and with the field, Women Studies, that would inform all of my career choices and my personal viewpoints from then on,” she said.

Kim returned to New York after graduation, where she met and married her husband, Tom Moon, a professional musician, author, and critic. Professionally, Kim’s work evolved into the non-profit sector, where she worked with many women’s organizations and focused on her expertise as a grant writer. Kim has remained active in issues around gender equity for decades, and in 2017 she co-founded Impact100 South Jersey, a women’s collective grantmaking organization.    

In 2012, Kim made the decision to give back to her alma mater by endowing the Kimberly Ford Moon Scholarship. Each year, this need-based scholarship provides financial aid for a student who is majoring in English or Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Over the years, Kim has observed that women are “often discouraged from pursuing these types of majors because they don’t seem practical, or that they’re limiting. I couldn’t disagree more—[that’s] why I created my scholarship,” Moon explains, “I want to affirm and support these choices in the hope that somebody else can benefit from all that these degrees can offer to impact one’s heart and one’s path in life.”

Since the establishment of the Kimberly Ford Moon Scholarship, seven different students have directly benefited from Kim’s gift. Through this endowed scholarship, Kim’s generosity will continue to support a student each year in perpetuity. Kim has also made provisions in her estate to build upon the existing fund, further ensuring that student need continues to be met at Richmond.    

Kim remains engaged with the University, often learning about and when possible, meeting recipients of her scholarship, and returning to campus for special events, like the 40th anniversary of WILL* in April of 2019. Kim feels positive about her alma mater’s growth, especially “the increased diversity and overall upward trajectory.” Her message to students at UR? “Embrace your time at Richmond, seize everything that it has to offer, and may your life be as changed as mine.”

 

Because of donors like Kim, the University of Richmond can commit to meeting every undergraduate’s full financial need, making a Richmond education a reality for exceptional students who might not otherwise be able to attend. To learn more about how to endow a scholarship or make a gift to support undergraduate scholarships, please contact donorrelations@richmond.edu