|Arthur Vining Davis as painted
by Sir William Orpen in 1919
The original "Arthur Vining Davis Foundation" was organized in 1952 under a living trust established by the donor. Known as Foundation No. 1, its original Trustees were Mr. Arthur Vining Davis himself; Mr. Edward K. Davis, his brother; Mr. Nathanael V. Davis, his nephew; and Mr. William B. Given, Jr., his stepson-in-law.
Foundations No. 2 and No. 3, both patterned after Foundation No. 1, commenced operations in 1965 under Mr. Davis' will. The original Trustees named for Foundation No. 2 were Mr. Nathanael V. Davis, Mr. William B. Given, Jr. and Mr. Morris Hadley. The original Trustees named to Foundation No. 3 were again Mr. Nathanael V. Davis, as well as Miss Evelyn Mitchell and Mr. W.E. Dunwody, Jr.
Mr. Nathanael V. Davis served for more than thirty-three years as Chairman and then as Chairman Emeritus for eight more years until his passing in March 2005. His son, Mr. J.H. Dow Davis, succeeded him as Chairman in February 1997.
The founding Trustees were persons in whom the donor had great confidence. He instructed them to use Foundations' earnings for programs that would, in their best judgment, strengthen our nation's future. The single restriction he placed on them was that grants should be made only within the United States and its possessions. Successor Trustees have been elected over the years. The same individual Trustees now serve each Board. The only difference in composition of the Boards is the corporate Trustee.
The Foundations remain firmly committed to honorable service to society in memory of Mr. Arthur Vining Davis. A man of vision, courage and generosity, his name is written large in the industrial and business history of the United States and, through these Foundations, the philanthropic world as well.