Weathersby always knew he wanted business to be a part of his career, but he wasn’t sure in what sense. He began at Richmond as a double major in business administration and leadership studies. Later, he settled on a business administration major with a concentration in management and a minor in leadership studies. Recently, he added an entrepreneurship tract to his major as well.

“I like managing things. I like creating things,” Weathersby said, “and the idea of creating a business is so awesome that I know I want to do that one day.”

In Dr. Jeff Pollack’s Innovations and Entrepreneurship class, where the students are given $14 and 14 days to create as much value as possible, Weathersby decided to use the project as a launching pad to an already-growing idea.

His dad, who was a professor at Eastern University in St. David’s, Pa., died from complications related to throat cancer in October 2011. Weathersby was determined to keep his dad’s legacy alive and to thank those who had been there when his dad became sick. He decided to start a scholarship fund in his dad’s name.

With help from his sister and his mom, Weathersby decided on a psychology scholarship fashioned after one his sister had received during her undergraduate studies. 

“It was GPA-based, but it also [took into consideration] other things like motivation, and general love and passion for the curriculum,” Weathersby said.

Weathersby needed $20,000 to endow the scholarship and set his goal accordingly. The next question was how to get there.

“We have our goal. We have our idea. We have some money, but how do we make it to our goal?” Weathersby asked.

It was his mom who originally heard about a method called crowd funding, which would be the means in which Weathersby’s father’s fund would ultimately reach the $20,000. Weathersby was skeptical at first of how willing people would be to give to a fund dedicated to a person they didn’t know.

“Turns out my skepticism was just really wrong,” he said.

Crowd funding uses a reward-incentive to generate donations. For anyone who donated $5 to Weathersby’s fund, they would receive a maple leaf with their name on it. With $100 they earned that maple leaf and a laminated leaf on a stake to be placed around the tree that had been planted in his father’s name. A $200 donation earned the above and a thank you video from the Weathersby’s. With $500 donors earned all of these things plus a signed and framed thank you note. Finally, a $1000 donation added your name to a plaque.

“What we expected from the fund wasn’t the case,” Weathersby said. “Most of the donors came from the Richmond network. The way that the campus rallied around my dad’s cause is just incredible. I have so much thanks for that.”

The campaign raised a couple hundred dollars overnight. It reached $1,000 in the morning and $3,000 by the end of the first full day. Weathersby, who continued his project after the 14 days had ended, surpassed his $20,000 goal in 60 days.

The scholarship fund inspired Weathersby to start his own crowd-funding platform with another Robins School graduating senior. The platform will focus on gift-giving for events such as birthdays, weddings and graduations.

Weathersby credits the Robins School for his ambition in the business world.

“I would have never expected the quality of education that I’ve received,” he said. “The Robins School has given me a lot of ambition and shown me that this is what I want to do.”

The Robins School’s faculty have also inspired Weathersby in many ways.

“Some of my professors…I’ve likened to more of performers [in] the way that they stand in front of the class,” he said. “They’re delivery is impeccable. Their knowledge of the material is unsurpassed, and they know what they’re doing. It’s just a pleasure to step outside of the student role and watch them as professionals in what they do.”

After graduation Weathersby will go to Washington, D.C., to work for Deloitte Consulting in its federal practice doing strategy and operations for government.