Orioles first baseman Chris Davis and his wife, Jill, are expanding their charitable endeavors by a huge margin, donating $3 million to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The announcement was made this morning.
The donation marks the largest gift to the center from a Baltimore sports figure.
According to a press release, the funds are allocated for the construction of a state-of-the-art pediatric hybrid catheterization and operating room “that will allow UMCH to provide the most technologically advanced care to pediatric patients locally, regionally and nationally, and position the hospital to continue to meet the growing needs of seriously ill children.”
“This remarkable gift from Chris and Jill Davis will benefit children throughout the state of Maryland and beyond,” Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, president and chief executive officer at UMMC, said in a release. “It will provide critical support to expand the resources and technology available at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital - including a new cardiac catheterization lab and operating room, allowing our world-class experts in children’s heart disease to provide the most advanced care possible. We are grateful to Chris and Jill Davis for their generosity and partnership.”
The facility will be called the “Evelyn Kay Davis Congenital Hybrid Catheterization Suite,” named after daughter Evie, who was born with a ventricular septal defect in January 2018.
“This is a cause that is close to our hearts,” Chris Davis said in the release. “Everyone at the hospital has inspired our family - from the patients and families who show such courage in the face of overwhelming challenges, to the medical professionals and caregivers who dedicate their careers to saving and improving lives.
“We are committed to showing our daughters that with great privilege comes great responsibility. As their father, I pray that my girls will embrace opportunities to serve others and love as they are loved. I want to encourage and empower them in hope of watching them grow into caring, compassionate, generous leaders who are inspired to help those in need.”
Chris and Jill make numerous visits to the hospital, delivering toys and other gifts and donating nearly two dozen MamaRoo infant seats to the Drs. Rouben and Violet JiJi Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UMCH. Jill, a trained pediatric nurse, has volunteered in the NICU at UMCH.
Davis has been chosen as the Orioles’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for three consecutive years. It is the annual recognition of a player from each team who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
The couple has been cited for its devotion to charities in and around the Baltimore community, the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, the LUNGevity Foundation, Casey Cares Foundation, Helping Up Mission, Compassion International, Maryland Food Bank, International Justice Mission, Water Missions International and Feed My Starving Children.
The last three summers have included the Davises hosting “Crush’s Homers for Hearts,” a charity home run derby held at Camden Yards to benefit the UMCH Children’s Heart Program. They’ve raised more than $250,000.
They’ve served as honorary board members and ambassadors for UMCH at the University of Maryland Medical Center since 2016, assisting in raising awareness for childhood illnesses.
Each year since arriving in Baltimore, Davis has donated $5,000 to the OriolesREACH Gameday Experience Program, which treats thousands of underprivileged youth to Orioles games.
The Orioles signed Davis to a seven-year, $161 million contract prior to the 2016 season, which includes deferred money that runs through 2037.
The results on the field haven’t been good, with Davis unable to recapture the power and run production that led to the franchise-record deal, but he’s still trying to make an impact away from it.