The Bette Davis Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt foundation created to raise funds to award scholarships to aspiring actresses and actors, as well as talented students in a cross section of related fields within the entertainment industry.
The Foundation honors Bette Davis’ seven decades of enormous and enduring achievements while simultaneously providing aspiring young artists with the financial means to follow the trail of artistic excellence that she blazed. Each year since 1999 the Foundation has awarded a Bette Davis scholarship and a Bette Davis prize to a theatre student at Boston University College of Fine Arts. The Foundation is thrilled that the 2001 Bette Davis Prize recipient, Ginnifer Goodwin, was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress in Walk the Line. It shows that the Foundation’s support for the arts can make a difference in developing young actors and actresses.
In 1999, the Foundation awarded a Bette Davis Lifetime Achievement Award to Meryl Streep and in 2002 to Prince Edwards, Earl of Wessex. In 2008, the Foundation awarded a Medal of Honor to Lauren Bacall and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Susan Sarandon. In 2014, Geena Davis was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Michael Douglas.
The Board of Directors is seeking financial contributions, both personal and corporate, to support the creative dreams of students. We ask you to contribute generously to the Better Davis Foundation so that worthy students will have the means, and encouragement, to follow in the starring footsteps of my mother, Bette Davis.
* The Bette Davis Scholarship and prize at this time are only awarded to students who attend the foundation’s charitable partner, Boston University School for the Arts.
For more information contact:
The Bette Davis Foundation
c/o Merrill & McGeary
100 State Street, Suite 200
Boston, MA, USA 02109
Phone: (617) 523-1760
Fax: (617) 523-4893
* To see a brochure of the Foundation, please Click Here. If you would like to make a donation via USPS, please print out the brochure and fill out the form with your information. Please send it to the address above with the form and donation included.
2018 – 2019 Recipient
Thomas Mitsock (CFA’19)
A note of THANKS from Thomas Mitsock (CFA’19)
Dear Mr. Merrill,
My name is Thomas Mitsock, and I am a recent graduate of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts School of Theatre with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting. I am incredibly grateful to be the 2019 recipient of the Bette Davis Prize. I am writing to thank you for this momentous honor. I grew up in the small town of Westford, Massachusetts as one of three children. My parents could tell from a young age that I was creative, but sports were a huge part of our town’s culture. After trying almost every sport there was, I finally followed one of my best friends to an after-school theatre program at age six. This program was run by a generous woman name Miss Julie who would not only provide a place for students to go after school (her own home), but she would also provide an artistic outlet through a series of plays. My first role was playing the little seahorse in her production of Finding Nemo. I got to say a few lines, I wore glitter on my face, and I had a tail. It was a dream.
After my time at Miss Julie’s, I was hooked. I loved plays; I found the make-believe aspect to be thrilling. Most of all, I loved the people. I always found (and still find) the people in the theatre to be among the most generous, supportive, and accepting people around. I soon enrolled in Summer School for the Performing Arts, a six-week intensive run by the director of our town’s high school theatre department. The first day, my mom had to basically push me through the door. I wasn’t sure I would like it. I came home from the first day beaming, and I couldn’t wait to go back. So, I kept going back, year after year. I attended that summer program for the next ten years.
As a young boy, I was constantly told that I was “mature for my age.” Many people thought it came naturally, bu I knew it was due to my upbringing in the theatre. I felt like a sponge, soaking up everything I could possibly learn about the way people behave. I learned about history and conflict and relationships. Thus began my life in the arts.
When it came time to decide where to attend college, it was clear to myself and my parents that I wanted to attend acting school. I was struck by their support as we shipped off to New York and Pittsburg and Boston for auditions. When it came time to assess my acceptances and pick the right school, Boston University was the clear frontrunner. I had friends who had gone through the School of Theatre and loved it. When I visited, I was drawn in by the same thing that drew me to theatre at a young age: the people. These people felt extremely genuine and down-to-earth. I knew that If I was going to attend acting school, I wanted to be around peers that supported me, challenged me, and made me feel welcome.
My four years at Boston University were exactly what I wanted them to be. I was pushed more than I had ever been, and I began valuable friendships and collaborations. After four years, I can confidently say that Bost University taught me everything that I wanted to know and more. The classwork was rigorous, my professors challenged me in a safe and healthy manner, and I had the opportunity to perform in some amazing productions: Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, and Andrew Bovell’s When The Rain Stop Falling were among my favorites.
The most significant part of my experience at Boston University was my acceptance of self. Growing up as a young gay person, I found it hard to be my true self. I always felt as if I had to endure the entire school year being someone else until I made it to summer camp and could express myself. Theatre became my haven in a world that felt scary and exclusionary. At Boston University, however, I learned that in order to become other people onstage, I had to learn the greatest role of all: myself. A huge part of my artistry is telling LGBTQ+ stories. I am extremely passionate about telling the stories of queer people, and I hope to continue this as I move on in my career.
I cannot thank you enough for this honor. In September, I will be moving to New York City to pursue my career as an actor, and I cannot tell you how much this support means. With student loans, two currently unemployed parents, and the cost of a career in the arts, live can feel very uncertain and daunting. This award means the world to me, and I feel significantly more comfortable as I embark on the new leg of my journey.
I look forward to speaking with you in the future, and I wish you all the best.
Thomas Mitsock (CFA’19)