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Gift from New Jersey family incorporates unrestricted funds and endows new services for health sciences students


Parent Giving By Claire Burns


andy davIs and hIs WIfe Carol had a plan. Someday, they would retire early from their executive careers and do something philan- thropic to make the world a better place. They imagined creating a foundation that would enrich children’s lives through music educa- tion in communities where it was unavailable or limited. “We believed that kids could be


empowered to achieve throughout their lives from participating in music,” says Andy. “Education yields lifelong benefits—that had been drilled into both of us since childhood and was part of our value system—and music appreciation and performance had been important in both of our families. Music education blended the two,” he says. When Carol died at age 51 in 2006, Andy


put the dream on hold. He left his 30-year career in the pharmaceutical industry to be a full-time dad to their two teenage sons. Three years later, he had an experience that “kick started” the foundation. “A winner of ‘American Idol,’ who had a philanthropic bent, said that he would like, someday, to create a music foundation. That was serendipity. It brought it all together for me. I thought, ‘I can do this’.” In 2010, the Music Empowers Foundation


was born through an initial major gift from Andy. Ongoing funds come from him and other donors. “We support music education programs that demonstrate an impact on kids. We pick nonprofits that spend money wisely on programming, and not on adminis- trative and marketing costs. We look for programs that impact a large number of children and communities—that make our funding go as far as it can,” Andy says. He cited programs in major metropolitan areas that provide after school and summer activi- ties and scholarships. With his respect for institutions that


demonstrate impact, Andy took a personal interest in Springfield College—apart from his foundation—when his son Remy entered the emergency medical services management


TRIANGLE 1 Vol . 84, No. 1 Andy, Griffin and Remy Davis in St. Lucia


(EMSM) undergraduate program in 2009. “Springfield College has figured out a


really good niche—it is particularly strong in the health sciences. It seems that I constantly run into Springfield College graduates in the health and human helping fields. They have chosen careers serving the needs of people. That’s admirable.


“Springfield College has done a good job for Remy. It’s a very


good program and not easy. It’s been an interesting education


and also great career prepara- tion. That combination is the


foundation for a successful path in life. And so, I wanted to make a legacy gift. It’s an emotional thing for me. I believe in


supporting the institutions that support our children.”


–Andy Davis “Springfield College has done a good job


for Remy. It’s a very good program and not easy. It’s been an interesting education and also great career preparation. That combina- tion is the foundation for a successful path in life. And so, I wanted to make a legacy gift. It’s an emotional thing for me. I believe in supporting the institutions that support our children. Remy, himself, is very philanthropic, and we planned this gift together,” he says. The Davis’ $50,000 gift includes $35,000 of unrestricted funds and $15,000 to support


two programs conceived by Remy. Remy observed that the cost of textbooks placed a particular strain on non-matriculated students in the EMSM department. “They have full- time jobs and families to support while taking courses important to their work. This fund will help them with books,” Remy said. The gift will also support interdisciplinary workshops or lectures on subjects of common interest to students in the all programs of the School of Health


Sciences and Rehabilitation Studies. Andy points out the importance of


unrestricted gifts, something he has learned while running his foundation. “Unrestricted funds give institutions the flexibility to assign monies where they are most needed. An institution does many things that are integral to the overall educational experience. These include things that are not supported by grants from foundations, corporations or government, which are often linked to partic- ular programs. Unrestricted funding most often must come from individuals.” Both Andy and Remy are passionate about


everyone’s responsibility to help make the world a better place by contributing material resources or time. “It might sound trite, but no gift is too small. Together, they make a big impact. Fifty dollars can buy a textbook that helps educate a paramedic who goes on to save lives,” says Andy. Remy, considering his peers who are years away from hitting their earning potential, speaks also of the value of contributions of their time and abilities. “It’s paying it forward,” they both say. And, it feels good.1


Note: Joining Andy and Remy Davis in challenging Springfield College families to give are Su and Bob Robotti, with their student Dan Vitetta, as well as Wallace, Elizabeth and their student Samuel Schwartz. These families hope that you will join them in supporting the Springfield College Fund. For more informa- tion on these challenges, visit springfieldcollege.edu/challenge.


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