$1.5 million gift supports social justice work

Couple create endowments for UC College of Arts & Sciences and UC College of Law

Jeff and Jennifer DavisA $1.5 million gift from Jeff and Jennifer Davis has created two endowed funds supporting social justice at the University of Cincinnati. The Davises have created the UC College of Arts & Sciences Endowment for Inclusive Excellence and the Theodore M. Berry ’31, Directorship of the Nathaniel R. Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice Endowment Fund at the UC College of Law in response to recent national events.

The Davises are Cincinnati residents, and Jennifer is president of Procter & Gamble’s Global Feminine Care Division. “This is an important time in our country, and we wanted to help,” they said.

The couple cites UC’s commitment to positive change and the existing social justice work of both the College of Arts & Sciences and College of Law as deciding influences on selecting the university for this gift.

"In this moment of urgency and increased advocacy—not only from those most directly affected by bias and discrimination but from everyone in our community—there is hope for greater inclusiveness and understanding, as well as systemic policy changes,” they said. “We hope this is a positive step toward increased social justice."

"I’m honored and grateful that the Davises are shining a light on the transformational work of our university and they want to partner with us to create a better present and future for our community," said UC President Neville G. Pinto. "This gift is bold and visionary.""

Littisha BatesThe Davises said they were also inspired by the expertise and respective visions of Littisha Bates, PhD, associate dean for Inclusive Excellence and Community Partnerships in the College of Arts and Sciences and Verna Williams, dean of the College of Law.

In the College of Arts & Sciences, the endowment will allow for structural change and social justice initiatives. Bates will work with faculty, staff and students to create programs that elevate inclusive excellence, equity and anti-racism.

"The Davises put action behind what they were feeling," Bates said. "Our conversation aligned with how to mitigate problems from a structural angle and not just be performative."

"The College of Arts and Sciences wants to be intentional and inclusive in pursuing anti-racist practices," said Valerio Ferme, PhD, dean of the college. "This gift provides an opportunity to create collaborative spaces, where underrepresented faculty, staff, and students share that their cultures, emotions, histories and societies are ours too, and enhance our well-being."

Verna WilliamsThe Nathaniel R. Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice provides its students with interdisciplinary and intersectional work that goes beyond the classroom. A new director will grow and oversee programs, coordinate outreach and collaborate across the university.

"The generosity of Jennifer and Jeff will allow the Jones Center to have a dedicated director who will train and cultivate scholars, leaders and activists committed to social change," said Dean Williams. "This gift helps us train the next generation of social engineers who will move us toward real equality and liberation."

We believe Cincinnati is fortunate to have an institution such as UC," said the Davises. "Its leaders, who are grounded in the reality of today’s issues and challenges, have bold visions for what is possible. They are leveraging a growth mindset to create innovative solutions. We are proud to help fuel their work."

This donation supports the priorities of Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati, the comprehensive fundraising effort for UC and UC Health.