2019 YG&E Philanthropist of the Year
DeMario Davis, his wife Tamela and their family strive daily to live lives that are pleasing to God and are based on the Acts 20:35 bible verse... “It is more blessed to give than receive.”
DeMario grew up in Brandon, Mississippi and attended Brandon High School where he played wide receiver for two seasons before moving to linebacker. He continued his education at Arkansas State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in radio and television. While attending Arkansas State, Demario played in 48 career games and started in the final 37. In 2012, he was drafted into the National Football League (NFL) by the New York Jets.
“I always knew I wanted to play in the NFL,” DeMario said. “There was no ‘plan b’ for me.”
Aware of how blessed he is, DeMario uses his platform to share his faith, give back to the community and help fight for social, economic and educational equality.
He has contributed more than $100,000 to establishing and staffing the Pearls for Girls Foundation, helped strengthen the partnership between United Way and NFL players, supports the salaries of five full time missionaries and hosts summer enrichment camps for Mission First. Also, he and his wife Tamela travel the country speaking and hosting conferences about Godly marriages and are the founders of the Devoted Dreamers Foundation that helps to equip youth spiritually, mentally and financially.
“This brother is very grounded. He knows what he wants. He knows what his calling is,” said Willis Bridges with Mission First. “He’s very passionate not only about football, but knowing that football is a platform that allows him to spread the good new and also be an encouragement for other people.”
The 30-year-old father of four is very involved in the Players Coalition, a non-profit aimed at tackling tough social justice issues such as educational disparities, police and community relations and criminal justice reform. The Coalition has successfully lobbied for criminal justice reform bills in Massachusetts raising the juvenile jurisdiction age from 7 to 12 and helped to restore voting rights to 1.2 million formerly incarcerated citizens of Florida and New Orleans.
DeMario now plays for the New Orleans Saints. He’s often described by his teammates, coaches and administrators as a leader one and off the field. While his philanthropic work is near and dear to him, what’s most important is building the Kingdom of God.
“I want my life to reflect Him. If my life doesn’t reflect Jesus Christ then I’m a failure. When I go through those gates (in Heaven), I just want to hear Him say ‘well done my good and faithful servant’. When people look at my life, I want them to say one thing… ‘that man was passionate about God. He was passionate about Jesus Christ’.”