The Davis Foundation Story
Since 1965, the Davis family has been practicing generosity and leaving a family legacy. Today, practicing generosity through their foundation and donor advised fund has allowed them to shape each others’ lives and to leave a family legacy by sharing their values with their children and grandchildren. Their story is a story of passing on that family legacy by teaching generosity so that their future generations will know the importance of helping others. They have learned a lot on their journey, including that legacy is never really about the money. Discover more about leaving a legacy of generosity for your family as well.
BEV: I’m Bev Davis, Beverly. My family started a family foundation in 1965.
BEV: It was my dad DD Davis and my mom Velma.
RICK: Well, I’m Rick. Actually, I have a different last name, Litchfield, as opposed to Davis. But I answer to Mr. Davis, too.
BEV: I have one sister, Lois, and she died of breast cancer in 2003. My dad died in 2002. So, at that time, my father’s estate rolled all of the real estate and all the cash and stocks and bonds into the foundation. So, today it is Roxanne. It is Rick and I, and our one daughter, Dana.
RICK: And so, when Bill [High] set up The Signatry in 2018, [ … ] number one, we love Bill [High] and the way he was helping our family with some of the personal challenges that we had. So, we decided to stay with Bill, and we’ve been very glad to be involved with The Signatry.
BEV: He listened to us, and he was really putting structure to our foundation. So, number one, have a vision statement, have a mission statement, what are your values… And that was great because we’re all strong personalities in our family and to have somebody that can really stabilize us and keep us moving forward and really being able then to go back to say, is this one of our values? Is this our mission statement? Is this our vision for this organization, our foundation? And that really pulled us together closer because of his ability to work with us.
BEV: People ask… how I knew about being generous… and my dad and mom didn’t talk about money a lot, but they demonstrated it. And one of the ways they demonstrated it was that they were Gideons. And when we were small, even as teenagers growing up, when they would be placing Bibles at a hotel or they’d be going and giving them to the graduating nurses, and that… we went along as kids.
And it was very clear that, where were these Bibles coming from? Well, Daddy was giving money so that we could give these Bibles away. And every Sunday, I would see him sit down at the desk and write a check. And I knew I would then see the check go in his lapel and I would see the check go into the offering plate. It was not “You need to give you need to do this.” I just grew up with it. This is what you did.
RICK: Well, I wasn’t a believer when Bev and I actually got married. And the reason or the way I came to faith and came to find out about legacy and so forth, was watching her dad, who is one of the finest men that I’ve ever met, and watching him, as she said, quietly, as a giver, and then watching my wife.
BEV: One of the cool things and how we’ve set up our foundation now we have what we call the big pot and then we have two little pots. And so, by having the donor advised fund, which is smaller than the big pot, we can pick and choose the things that is really near and dear to our heart… And now what we are going to do is start even though our grandkids are seven to two and a half, there’s four of them. But we’ve come across something here… it is not a Christian organization, but it is a very needed organization. And they rescue puppies from the SPCA and then they pick out ones that they think are going to be able to help a disabled veteran. And it takes about $10,000 to raise one puppy to be able to do the work for a disabled veteran. So, we’re going to take our grandkids to go see the puppies. And so that they can start putting some of their money into the puppy bank to raise that puppy. And then when that puppy is given to that veteran, they will be there to see that puppy go to the veteran. This is legacy. This is teaching to be generous. This is something that they can actually touch, feel, see, get emotionally involved in.
RICK: You know, life is all about relationships. For Bev and I, our most important relationship is with Jesus Christ. The second relationship is with each other, the third is with our family. Well, one of the things that we weren’t discussing early on was the family value we’ve come down to, which is our relationships, or our experiences. And if you go back to DD and Velma, DD was a champion of experiences. He wanted his daughters to travel and to see the world, which they did. And he also, after Bev and I got married and our kids were young, we did cruises, we went to Switzerland, Austria, and so and it wasn’t until we started reevaluating and saying, you know, yes, experience is something that we want to pass on to our children.
BEV: We said, let’s take our grandkids and our daughter and son in law and let’s take them over to Virginia Beach for three days. We just did this. And it didn’t dawn on me that these kids had never had their feet in the ocean before and didn’t understand what a wave was and how the wave could be pretty strong and active right off your feet. And so, the day came that we left, and we hadn’t prepped the kids very much. We knew the day we were leaving, and we had adjoining rooms. And I heard this crying and so I go over and I go, “What’s wrong?” And Eric says about… that Aubrey doesn’t want to leave. I don’t want to go home. I want to stay. And Rick and I are going: “Yes! We accomplished it.” That experience of being with grandma and grandpa, that experience to jump in the waves for the first time, that experience of walking the boardwalk and then getting a bicycle. And if we don’t start when they’re little, they won’t know how to do it with their children when we’re long gone. And I go, well, Grandpa, you’d be happy today that we are having your great grandkids have these new experiences. And that’s the beauty of really having at now the forefront of our thinking is… I love what Bill [High] said. Your legacy isn’t about the money. The money will be spent. It’s gone. But those memories will last forever and will be passed on to the next generation.
RICK: So many people think about their legacy as the money that they leave. And I think that maybe we thought that too before we got involved with The Signatry. But, we now understand the money is irrelevant.