Ryan D. Davis


UA Little Rock Children International

Little Rock

Age: 39

Ryan D. Davis

There’s a simple but profound east African directive that shapes Ryan D. Davis’ thinking and career: “Work with the clay while it is still wet.” By helping people when they’re young, Davis, who grew up in Little Rock, hopes to shape the future and lessen the number of “broken adults.”

As director of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Children International, a partnership between the university and the nonprofit Children International, Davis directs an antipoverty initiative that in the last 25 years has helped more than 20,000 children. It currently serves about 2,600 children and young adults throughout central Arkansas, including about 9 percent of the students in the Little Rock School District, offering health, education, empowerment and employability programs.

Many of the programs are after-school efforts held at schools, community centers and the public library. Children International also sponsors a dental clinic at Wakefield Elementary and partners with Arkansas Children’s Hospital to run a full-service medical clinic at Stephens Elementary. “We thrive on partnerships,” Davis said.

In 2017, he was instrumental in obtaining a $400,000 grant from Children International to renovate the Little Rock facility.

Davis also serves on the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center advisory board and is a board member of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel and Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families. In addition, he is an associate pastor at Bullock Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.