40 Under 40

Cory Davies

RMH Foundation
Harrisonburg, VA

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

1. Four years ago the RMH Foundation, under Cory’s direction, provided $286,000 in seed funding to test a new concept that partners community health workers with home visiting nurses to improve health outcomes and manage the social determinants of health that affect the community’s most chronically ill populations. This new program is now considered an evidenced-based best practice and has been recognized in peer-reviewed journals.

2. Since Cory was named executive director of the RMH Foundation, annual fundraising production has increased from $1.1 million to $4.7 million, without increasing the size of the foundation staff.

3. Cory has held volunteer roles with several Harrisonburg-area community organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and a local free clinic.

4. Cory led the RMH Foundation’s “Millimeters Matter” capital campaign to secure resources necessary to advance radiation therapy at the Sentara RMH Hahn Cancer Center. With an initial goal of $2 million, the RMH Foundation raised over $2.25 million six months ahead of the deadline.

Q & A

1. How did you get into health care philanthropy?

Twelve years ago I had an opportunity to apply to a position working in a hospital foundation led by a fundraiser for whom I had tremendous respect, Mr. Merv Webb. I was thrilled to be invited to join his team and learn from him directly. I was still new to fundraising at the time and thought I had a lot to learn from him and the other members of his team.

2. Why did you choose to make health care philanthropy your career?

My mom was a floor nurse on an OB/GYN floor for 35 years before retiring. I always had tremendous respect for her work. My family and I have also had several episodes of care that have resulted in tremendous gratitude. Dedicating my career to health care philanthropy enables me to live out the values instilled in me being raised by a nurse and also pay forward the gratitude I have for the impact quality health care has had in my life.

3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.

My first position in health care philanthropy began in 2008. Our organization was two-thirds of the way through our largest ever capital campaign when the economy crashed and the Great Recession began. It was a tumultuous time to say the least, but looking back I now appreciate all that I was able to learn and grow as a result of those circumstances.

4. What was your first job, and what is something it taught you?

My first job outside of working for family members was working as a “lot boy” at a used car sales lot. Largely that meant detailing cars before they were put on display and sweeping up cigarette butts and other trash from the lot. Cleaning a parking lot in the hot summer sun instilled in me an appreciation for everyone’s work in an organization, no matter the title or position in the official hierarchy.

5. What are your future aspirations?

I have a firm belief that the sea change that health care as an industry is going through creates tremendous opportunity for philanthropy to make a greater impact than perhaps it ever has. I’m excited to help connect donors to the ways in which this can happen and be a small part in transforming the health care that is available to my community.
Cory Davies

Fun Fact:

I’ve made it my goal to learn how to surf before I turn 40. If I’m out on the water alone with no one watching, I think I’m making good progress on that goal. When my kids are out in the water with me watching, they tell a different story.