Judy Tobias Davis

The following article first appeared in the fall 2010 issue of Torchlight, produced by the NYU Office for University Development and Alumni Relations. Judy Tobias Davis, a great supporter of the Silver School, passed away on January 3, 2011, after a long illness.

Judy Davis

Judy Tobias Davis, a leading light of NYU’s Silver School of Social Work and an honoree at the School’s Fiftieth Anniversary, made a major contribution to the School through the NYU Charitable Gift Annuity. Her gift reflects a long involvement with the School—and an appreciation of the unique financial advantages of charitable gifts that pay income back to the donor.

Soon after the start of World War II, Judy married Seth Tobias. With her husband serving overseas, and while busy as a young mother, the war years and their aftermath strengthened Judy’s sense of social activism. She became deeply committed to the problems of inner-city children here at home, as well as the plight of war orphans overseas. As early as her twenties, Judy held board positions and leadership roles with non-profit organizations that dealt with these grave social problems.

Decades later, as president of the Child Study Association of America, Judy came to know Jack Goldberg, the New York City Commissioner for Social Services. When he was appointed dean of NYU’s School of Social Work in 1973, he turned to Judy for help in solving the School’s financial troubles. After Dean Goldberg’s death, his successors recognized the value of Judy’s expertise and persuaded her to remain at the School.

Judy worked tirelessly to appeal to friends of the School as well as alumni, telling the story of the School and explaining its unique contributions to the life of the City and the country as a whole. Judy’s endeavors among many different communities around New York City eventually resulted in the fulfillment of the School’s early vision—a single large and renovated facility of its own, consisting of three landmark row houses on Washington Square North. Judy’s own generous support for the School named a large room in memory of her late husband Seth, a space that was formerly the studio of artist Edward Hopper.

Judy’s two sons—Stephen and Andrew—have enjoyed success and prominence in their own fields, Stephen as a lawyer and Andrew as a noted financial writer and treasurer of the Democratic National Committee. Judy’s sons became important advisors to her when she was contemplating her gift to the Silver School.

“When NYU approached me with information about how I could make a gift and receive a high and secure income through the charitable gift annuity, I turned to my sons for advice,” Judy said. “Both agreed that the gift annuity is an excellent opportunity to help support the School, which means so much to me, while benefiting myself as well.”