Dr. John Churchill Joins the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations as Director of Programs

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, July 26, 2019 – The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVDF) are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. John Churchill as Director of Programs. In this role, Dr. Churchill will lead the Foundations’ grantmaking activity spanning the five Program Areas of Private Higher Education, Public Media, Interfaith Leadership and Religious Literacy, Palliative Care, and Environmental Engagement, Stewardship, and Solutions. He will join the Foundations on August 9, 2019.

Dr. Churchill will be joining AVDF from the John Templeton Foundation (JTF), where he served as Director of Philosophy and Theology, a program that oversees approximately $50M in active grants to organizations spanning the globe. In that capacity, he significantly expanded JTF’s support for inter-disciplinary research, especially between scholars in the sciences, philosophy, and theology. He also successfully managed the expansion of the Foundation’s support for work in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

“John Churchill is an exceptionally talented leader who has successfully launched a number of exceptionally fruitful portfolios of philanthropic work,” said Dr. Michael J. Murray, president of AVDF. His breadth of knowledge and expertise in philanthropy and in the fields in which we work will sustain and expand the impact of our major Program Areas.”

“I am both honored and humbled to join the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. I have long admired the Foundations’ commitment to strengthening America’s future through education,” said Dr. Churchill. “AVDF has an impressive tradition of supporting work in important areas, including high quality children’s television programming, interfaith leadership, and improving the quality of private higher education. I am grateful to have the opportunity to play a role in continuing this important work.”

After receiving his M.A in philosophy at Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Indiana University, Dr. Churchill moved to the Templeton Foundation as Program Officer in Philosophy and Theology. A year later he was promoted to his current role of Director of Philosophy and Theology in November of 2011. Since 2011 he designed a variety of grant programs supporting interdisciplinary research on topics such as free will and neuroscience, intellectual humility, and analytic theology. In 2013, the department he led launched a portfolio of “New Frontier” grants that expanded Templeton Foundation funding in areas outside of North America and Western Europe.  By 2018, the portfolio had grown to $15M in active grants supporting academic research and public engagement throughout Latin America, East Africa, and the Middle East, most notably Turkey, Jordan, and the UAE.

About the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations
The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations were organized in 1952 under a living trust established by Mr. Arthur Vining Davis. The Foundations bear witness to Mr. Davis' successful corporate leadership acumen and his visionary, entrepreneurial spirit in philanthropy. Since their inception, the Foundations have given over 3,800 grants, totaling more than $300 million, to colleges and universities, hospitals, medical schools, and divinity schools. The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations have promoted the improvement of American private higher education, and provided visionary leadership in public television for scientific and historical documentaries, children's programming, and the distribution of high quality educational media. 

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