TITLE: Vice President, Community Relations
FUNDING AREAS: Early childhood education
CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)
PROFILE: When it comes to education funding, Karen Davis has been on both sides of the fence. For 14 years she worked in higher education development, leading fundraising campaigns and working to secure support from corporate and other funders. In fact, Hasbro, where Davis is now Vice President for community relations, was one of the companies from which she secured funding. She told Forbes magazine that when she interviewed for the job at Hasbro, the company's CEO asked if he hired her, would she stop asking him for money.
Davis now heads all philanthropic efforts at Hasbro, the Rhode Island-based toy and game giant that introduced G.I. Joe and My Little Pony, among other successful toy lines, to children around the world. Her responsibilities include leading grantmaking efforts at the Hasbro Children's Fundn and coordinating volunteer programs in which Hasbro employees help serve needy children. These efforts involve Hasbro employees at all levels, including senior executives.
"Executive involvement is part of our DNA," Davis told CSR Wire. "We go in deep—it's not checkbook philanthropy."
Early childhood education funding is a natural fit for a foundation affiliated with a major toy company, and the Hasbro Children's Fund's grantmaking emphasizes three core principles: programs that provide hope to children who need it the most, playtime for children who might not otherwise experience it, and empowering youth through service. Davis believes that when children learn to give back when they are young, that becomes an important part of who they are.
Under Davis' leadership, the Hasbro Children's Fund appears to operate on two levels: a national level, in which the foundation concentrates on working with strategic partners that support children in need nationally and even globally; and a local level, supporting programs and activities in communities in which Hasbro has operating facilities. These communities include Los Angeles; Springfield, MA; Renton, WA; and the state of Rhode Island.
At the national and global level, Davis and the Hasbro Children's Fund work with partners that include Generation On, Toys For Tots, and Operation Smile. At the local level, meanwhile, Davis funds programs and projects that include pediatric health care services, early childhood education, and youth service programs. Recipients of past grants have included local chapters of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Salvation Army, and United Way, as well as children's museums, shelters and soup kitchens, educational nonprofits, and foundations. For organizations in the above-mentioned communities, the local program at Hasbro is the best avenue for securing grant funding.
Because of her belief in youth service, Davis is also interested in local projects that teach children how they can make a difference in their communities. One of the Hasbro Children's Fund's national programs is its collaboration with GenerationOn, a global service organization that helps kids bring joy to their communities through service. Local programs that foster youth service are sure to be a big hit with this funder.
A Warwick, Rhode Island, native, Davis is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, earning a degree in business administration. She serves on the board of the Grantmakers Council of Rhode Island and a wide range of advisory councils and boards. Davis is a past vice chair of the Rhode Island United Way Children, Youth and Families Impact Group and Out-of-School Time Initiative Chair.
Hasbro Children's Fund conducts its grantmaking at the local level through an RFP process, which means nonprofits interesting in securing support from this funder should keep an eye on the foundation's website for funding opportunities.