Springfield - John Davis, Senior Trustee for the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Ventry Industries, LLC, has been named the Community Champion Award winner by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading at the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading All-America City Awards Gathering in Denver, Colorado June 14-16.
Davis was recognized for his efforts to increase reading proficiency in Springfield through the Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative.
Under Davis’ guidance, the Davis Foundation has supported programs having to do with education and the well-being of children, underscoring his belief that investments in early life and early education avoid larger and frequently intractable social costs later on.
Davis was among the first supporters and advocates of reading proficiency for Springfield’s children. Shortly after a community meeting in Springfield in 2009 where Davis and other civic leaders learned that statewide test scores showed less than a third of the city’s 3rd graders could read at proficient level, the Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative was launched.
At the time, the initiative was one of the nation’s first all-out community mobilization efforts for grade-level reading success.
Springfield was named a 2017 All-America City at the Denver Awards Gathering, based on a track record of success that includes reductions in the city’s rates of chronic absence and summer learning loss, and an 11 percent increase in 2015-16 in third grade reading proficiency. The city won an All-America City award in 2012, and has also been designated a Pacesetter Community in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for exemplary work in eliminating barriers faced by children from low-income families on the path to becoming proficient readers. Davis serves on the Baystate Health Board of Trustees, is Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Nichols College, is Co-Founder of the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley, is on the board of Baystate Academy Charter Public School, a board member of the Springfield Empowerment Zone, Co-Chair of Springfield Business Leaders for Education, and an Emeritus Board Member for the Urban League of Springfield (MA).
Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade is a broad coalition of leaders in education, child development, business, philanthropy and government working towards the goal of all of Springfield’s children reading proficiently by the end of third grade.