Hull Fellows Highlight: Anne Davis

Since coming to the Christy-Houston Foundation in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Anne Davis has absorbed all she can about philanthropic leadership through a number of SECF programs, including Philanthropy Essentials, the Annual Meeting and the CEO Forum.

All of those programs led her to where she is today: the 2019-20 Class of Hull Fellows.

“From the moment that I was chosen for the position of President of The Christy-Houston Foundation, I began to seek out opportunities to understand grantmaking,” Anne said. “The motivation included my desire to build a new network of grantmaking professionals with whom to compare notes, collaborate and learn.”

She’s doing all of that now, even though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Anne and her Hull classmates to meet exclusively online – meetings that include work toward a Capstone Project that will be presented later this year. In fact, Capstone presentations from a previous Hull class were a key reason Anne was interested in joining the program herself.

“Attending the Hull Fellows final presentation during the Annual Meeting in Louisville, I sensed a real interconnectedness in the room,” she said. “Hull Fellows Alumni attended the session in full support of current class members, as the Capstone Project groups made their way to the front of the room to share their findings on particular topics.”

As she and a group of her Hull classmates continue to meet, Anne has developed a sense of class pride that would be familiar to most Hull alumni.

“My closest fellowship has come from my five Capstone Project friends, with whom I Zoom or WebEx on a regular basis,” Anne said. “Just seeing and experiencing the true spirit of our class members on monthly calls, as we have risen to an unusual challenge, may just affirm our position as the ‘Best Class Ever.’”

Anne is also a big fan of her mentor, Tina Markanda, who recently became executive director of The Cannon Foundation.

“What a joy to be under her mentorship!” Anne said. “My monthly calls with Tina have helped me navigate some delicate issues, debrief failures and celebrate successes. Tina is not only a role model. She is a real encourager.”

The support Anne has received from her mentor and her Hull classmates has been especially helpful in a year where her foundation, like so many others, has focused much of its work on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Local needs were plentiful before March 2020 and they have only grown since that time,” she said. “The directors immediately agreed to fund needed emergency grants for local nonprofits offering food and shelter. I stayed on the phone with our nonprofit grantee partners for many days, listening to their needs, helping them brainstorm and connecting them with the help they needed whenever possible.”

Amid a busy year, Anne has still carved out time for herself and the things that are important to her, including a deep sense of faith that, she says, guided her transition into a career in philanthropy once her children had grown.

“I know He led me to my current career, after 22 years of being a stay-at-home mom,” she said. “My family is everything to me.  At the end of the day, who you love, who loves you, and how you stand with your Maker is all that matters.”


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