Each month, The Stone House Center for Public Humanities interviews a humanities scholar or community member and asks them everything from why they believe the humanities are important to what they're currently binge-watching. We hope that our new blog series, Coffee & Questions, will inspire you, introduce you to a variety of people and fields, as well as create new conversations.
Our guest this month is Wes Davis, Director of Development for West End Neighborhood House, a community center located in Wilmington, DE. Wes currently serves on the board of the Brandywine Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and was recently elected as the organization's treasurer. Wes earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of Delaware in 2000, as well as a Master's Degree in document translation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2006. In 2014, he became a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), and in 2015 completed a certificate course in Non-Profit Management through the University of Delaware.
What inspires you in your current position/role?
The innovative nature of where I work inspires me the most. We have an incredible team who is always looking for creative ways to solve our community's most pressing problems. Plus, helping those in need is a worthwhile endeavor that is intrinsically motivating.
What work experiences (past or present) have been the most educational for you, and why? Differences in management style between organizations has been the most educational component of my experience. It taught me the importance of reputation in personal and organizational success, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of both authoritarian and autonomous leadership styles.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
Developing passive income streams to help support the ongoing operating costs of my organization. These expenses are the most difficult to fund and current sources continue to cap their support for this purpose or reduce the amount of funding they provide overall in this area.
Why do you believe that the humanities are important to everyone, and not just people in academia?
Humanities (viewed through the lens of community and social services) are important to everyone because of the real-world, practical impact on everyone. For example, government agencies contract with not-for-profit organizations to do the work they are not trained in or capable of accomplishing on their own. They often rely heavily on these local organizations' expertise and the trust and deep, long-standing relationships they have developed with their communities.
What's a book you've always wanted to read but haven't gotten around to?
Guns, Germs & Steel
Check back next month for more Coffee & Questions. In case you missed our previous interview with CPH Student Assistant, Julia Null, click HERE.
Our vision is to create a community of learners enriched, engaged and enlightened through the humanities.