MADISON — On May 16 the Madison Historical Society will honor philanthropists and civic leaders Jack and Helen Davis for their legacy of supporting the arts and culture of Madison at a gala event at the Madison Beach Hotel.
Few others have shaped the town like this dynamic duo, who have been residents since 1956. All proceeds from this celebration of the lives of Jack and Helen Davis will benefit the Madison Historical Society.
A graduate of Stuyvesant High School and New York University, Jack earned his Ph.D. in psychology in 1949 and developed a career that focused on cutting-edge treatments for mental health issues. He and Helen met on a blind date and were married in 1955. By that time, Jack had already had several careers. He sold fruit and vegetables from a pushcart as a young boy, was the youngest faculty member at NYU while working toward his doctorate, hosted a psychology segment for a local television show, and worked at a top-secret naval research think tank—all before age 30.
The pair was drawn to Madison by the opportunity to transform the Grove School from a boarding facility for severely mentally and physically handicapped children to an intensive therapeutic and educational learning center. Helen earned her master’s in special education from the University of Hartford — a degree essential to her varied roles in running all aspects of the school. Together the Davises created a world-renowned holistic treatment center for children with behavioral, social, and emotional challenges.
Redefining the Grove School and raising their three young sons would have been enough responsibility for most couples, but not for Jack and Helen. Extremely active in town politics — serving on town boards and hosting political fundraisers — the pair also established a foundation that funds arts and culture projects, student scholarships, and local civic organizations.
At the Madison Rotary Club, Jack is the longest-serving member. He and Helen also created a commercial real estate business in 1975 to breathe new life into Madison’s downtown, and later the couple helped found Temple Beth Tikvah to create a place of worship for the Jewish community on the Shoreline.
Jack and Helen have spent a lifetime giving of themselves to make the lives of others better.
For information or to purchase tickets for the spring gala that will celebrate the Davises' legacy of philanthropy, visit https://www.madisonhistory.org.
— Submitted press release