The Ria Shah “Carpe Diem” Fund

The Ria Shah “Carpe Diem” Fund at the Community Foundation was established by her family to honor her joy and passion for life and continue her legacy by investing in young people who will boldly continue Ria’s journey to change the world, one day at a time.



Long before Ria implored her Hoover High Class of 2021 to Carpe Diem! in her graduation address, she lived this creed in all she did. Whether zip lining, playing tennis, preparing for a debate round, regaling friends with stories and laughter, or going on a hike, she engaged life with passion.

In her 19 years on earth, Ria lived to inspire others and inspired others to live, with gusto and zest. She set about to seize each day with what Martin Luther King, Jr. once called the “fierce urgency of now.” Ria sought to better herself, her loved ones, her community, and the world upon waking each morning.  After her passing, one friend expressed a simple sentiment that has been shared by countless others: “She left a lasting impact on everyone she met and changed the world for the better.”

We hope and trust that Ria’s legacy will continue to inspire each of us to seize each moment in life with love, friendship, dedication, and joy; a mission to be better and do better.

If you would like to make a donation in Ria’s memory or perhaps someone in your life that embodies that same spirit, the “Carpe Diem” fund will invest each dollar in young people who will boldly continue Ria’s journey to change the world, one day at a time.

Donate Now

To make a donation by check:
Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham (for Ria Shah Fund in the memo line)
2100 First Avenue North, Suite 700
Birmingham, AL 35203

This fund, established by Ria’s family, is a donor advised fund housed at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. The fund will support nonprofit organizations doing the work that embody Ria’s lifetime passions.

If you have questions about the fund, please contact Lora Blalock.

Ria Shah “Carpe Diem” Hoover High School

Ria was one of three Valedictorians who spoke at her graduation ceremony from Hoover High School in 2021. You can watch her inspiring speech encouraging her fellow classmates to practice ‘carpe diem’ in the video below.