Davidson Institute - About Us

Formed in 1999, the Davidson Institute is a 501(c)3 private operating foundation funded by Bob and Jan Davidson. 

Our Mission
Our mission is to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference.

Who We Are And How We Started
Prior to starting the Davidson Institute, Bob and Jan founded Davidson & Associates Inc., a successful educational software company best known for the Math Blaster™ and Reading Blaster™ series.  Bob and Jan sold Davidson & Associates in 1997 and decided to launch a significant philanthropic effort to continue their commitment to make a positive difference in education and to help all children be successful learners.

Who We Serve

We serve profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. Profoundly gifted students are those who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests. These students often share the following characteristics:

  • An extreme need for constant mental stimulation
  • An ability to learn and process complex information rapidly
  • A need to explore subjects in surprising depth
  • An insatiable curiosity; endless questions and inquiries
  • A need for precision in thinking and expression-often answering questions with “that depends...”
  • An ability to focus intently on a subject of interest for long periods of time
  • An inability to concentrate on a task that is not intellectually challenging, including repetitious ideas or material presented in small pieces

In addition, we provide information and educational opportunities for teachers, school administrators, school counselors, pediatricians, psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals.

What We Do
The Davidson Institute offers much-needed support to profoundly gifted young people through the following programs and services:

  • The Davidson Young Scholars is an individualized, family-oriented program that supports the educational and developmental needs of profoundly intelligent young people between the ages of 5 and 18. This program assists parents and students with academic support and educational advocacy, child and adolescent development, and talent development.

  • Davidson Fellows scholarships recognize young people 18 and under for completing a significant piece of work that has the potential to make a positive contribution to society in one of the following areas: science, technology, mathematics, music, literature, philosophy, or any other graduate-level work considered outside the box. Davidson Fellow Laureates are awarded $50,000 scholarships, and Davidson Fellows are awarded either a $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship. Since 2001, the Institute has awarded nearly $5 million to 206 brilliant young people through the Davidson Fellows Scholarship.

  • The THINK Summer Institute is a three-week residential summer program on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno for 13- to 16-year-old students. These students are enrolled in university-level courses taught by University faculty and earn up to six transferable college credits.

  • The Educators Guild is comprised of teachers, counselors and school administrators who are interested in connecting with colleagues to locate resources and discuss strategies for identifying and serving highly intelligent students. Members of the Educators Guild have access to electronic mailing lists and discussion forums and to the Davidson Institute’s team of professionals who are available for consulting and locating other resources.

  • The Davidson Gifted Database is a gateway to resources for and about gifted students. This database features easy search capabilities for articles, resources and state policy pages to help students, parents and educators pinpoint gifted information.

  • The Davidson Academy of Nevada is a free public school that encourages and supports the abilities, strengths, and interests of profoundly gifted middle and high school students who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ or college entrance tests, such as the SAT or ACT. Not a charter school, The Davidson Academy is a third type of public school, called a "university school for profoundly gifted pupils" created by the Nevada State Legislature in 2005.

  • In 2004, Simon & Schuster published Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting our Bright Young Minds co-authored by Jan and Bob Davidson, with Laura Vanderkam. This award-winning book has generated conversations throughout the nation about the importance of educating our nation’s brightest students.

Why We Do What We Do
The Davidson Institute's services are based upon the following shared beliefs:

  • All young people should be lovingly nurtured in a safe, supportive environment where each person is accepted and appreciated as a unique individual.
  • All young people should have access to an education where they can learn and achieve at a level appropriate to their abilities.
  • All young people should have an opportunity to develop their talents in positive ways to create value for themselves and others.
Profoundly intelligent young people should not be denied what we desire for all young people. Their needs should be recognized and accommodated. Their uniqueness should be understood and nurtured. Rather than be locked into an age based curriculum, profoundly gifted young people should have the opportunity to be challenged to excel and achieve.

To learn more, please visit "Our Beliefs" - Davidson Institute.


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