Teresa DavisPhilanthropy Director

Teresa Davis

Originally from Michigan, Teresa Davis (she/her) now lives and works in Texas on Coahuiltecan lands.

Teresa Davis joined the River Network staff in 2024 but has served as a Flow Funder since 2021, leading the Trust-Based Philanthropy concept along with other leaders of color across the country. As Philanthropy Director, Teresa’s role aims to create and highlight new innovative approaches to fund development and fundraising.

Teresa is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, holding a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology, in addition to a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Business Administration. With previous professional advocacy experience in the legal field, and environmental justice field, Teresa has demonstrated her commitment to justice and equity. As a lifelong learner and Environmental & Social Justice Servant-Leader, Teresa has been at the forefront of initiatives promoting sustainable and equitable solutions for communities and continues to lead on the ground, in community, with community, as Founder of Communities Of Love In Action, C.O.L.I.A.

Outside of work, Teresa enjoys composing and producing digital music, skating, traveling abroad, and indulging in all forms of colorful and expressive artforms.

 

Which River Network value most speaks to you?

As one of River Network’s values, ‘Strength’ speaks the loudest to me. When I think about strength and how it shows up in my life, I associate it with resilience, fortitude, tenacity, durability, endurance, and might. Strength is crucial to this scope of work, serving as an anchor that holds together the many moving pieces we encounter and advocate for within the environmental and social justice space. Strength drives me, inspires me, and sometimes challenges me to push forward, do more, and stand strong—even if standing alone. Strength is a reliable capacity measurement and a two-way mirror to check-in with oneself. Strength is a connector, bridging gaps and fostering unity.

What called you to work in water?

I truly believe work chooses the individual. My profound spiritual calling is rooted in a deep connection to humanity. I feel a divine pull towards creating unity in the world, driven by a sense of purpose to uplift and protect those who are marginalized. The resilience and spirit of communities striving for justice resonate deeply within me, inspiring me to use my gifts, talents, and experiences to support and amplify their voices. This work aligns with my core values guiding me towards a path of compassion and equity.

If you didn’t work in water or conservation, what would you be doing?

If I weren’t working on water or conversation issues, I’d find myself immersed in pursuits that align with my beliefs, values, and passions. Expressing my spirituality through music, creating visual art, or writing, might be another path to inspire and encourage others. I’d also continue leading initiatives that support marginalized communities, focusing on social justice, equity, and creating inclusive, supportive environments.

How do you recharge outside of work?

Outside of work I like to engage in activities that nourish the whole person. I could spend time in nature, create music, paint, or lavish in a deep sense of relaxation through the rhythmic pressure that releases stress, rejuvenates the body, and enhances overall energy flow. Traveling abroad to explore new cultures and environments also offers me fresh perspectives and inspiration. Additionally, spending quality time with loved ones and participating in community activities that align with my values also rejuvenates my spirit and reinforces my sense of connection and purpose.