History of the Sadie & Harry Davis Foundation
The Sadie & Harry Davis Foundation was established through the will of Sadie Davis, who died in 2005. Sadie grew up in Bath, Maine, then lived in Portland. There she and her husband, Dr. Harry E. Davis, raised their daughter Patricia. Sadie wanted the SHDF to advance the health of Maine’s children, Harry’s life-long pursuit.
One of six children and the first in his family to be born in America, Harry grew up in Portland and then went to Tufts College. After graduating from its medical school and completing his residency training, Harry returned to Portland, where he established a private practice and was a pediatrician for more than 40 years. He served as Chief of Pediatrics at Mercy Hospital from 1943 until his death in 1963, when he suffered a heart attack while treating a patient.
Most children in Portland knew Dr. Davis because for many years he vaccinated the entire fifth grade at the Portland public schools. After government funding for vaccinations ended, Dr. Davis continued the program at his own expense. Dr. Davis’ philanthropic approach to medicine extended well beyond vaccinations. He volunteered his services at the City of Portland’s hygiene clinic and the Female Orphans Home. At his pediatric practice, he accepted as payment whatever his patients could afford.
More than 50 years after his death, the SHDF, along with other foundations associated with the Klingenstein family, established the Dr. Harry E. Davis Pediatric Center on the Mercy Hospital campus, which provides the family-oriented, compassionate care for which Dr. Davis was known. An exhibit at the hospital traces his life as a pediatrician.
The SHDF is led by Andy Klingenstein, Chairman and CEO, and Eliot Brenner, Ph.D., Executive Director of Klingenstein Philanthropies. Other trustees include Andy’s siblings Nancy and Sally, and his wife Julie. Patricia Klingenstein served on the board of the Foundation from 2007 until she passed away in 2023. Patricia was a well-known philanthropist based in New York City, but her heart always remained in Maine, where she was a long-time supporter of Mercy Hospital, Waynflete School, and other Maine-based organizations.