Dee Davis is the founder and president of the Center for Rural Strategies, a nonprofit that conducts public information campaigns, produces communications products, and consults with rural service, cultural, and advocacy organizations on communications strategy. Davis helped design and lead the national campaign that blocked production of the proposed CBS show The Real Beverly Hillbillies on the grounds that the program ridiculed poor rural families and perpetuated stereotypes of rural life and culture. He helped plan and direct the national campaign that preserved key rural service provisions of the Community Reinvestment Act.
Davis is a veteran of the fields of community-based media production and cultural development. Before founding Rural Strategies in 2001, he worked for 25 years at Appalshop, a rural media arts and cultural center. At Appalshop, he served as executive producer for more than 50 television documentaries on Appalachian culture and social issues.
He has served as a consultant for a number of public and private agencies and foundations. Davis is a member of the Advisory Committee for Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), serves on the PBS National Council for Outreach, and is a former board chairperson and president of Independent Television Service. He currently serves on the Mary Reynolds Babcock board of directors. He has served as a panelist and adviser to the National Endowment for the Arts Media Arts program, the Rockefeller Foundation Partners Affirming Community Transformation program, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Open Society Institute's Southern Initiative.
Davis holds an English degree from the University of Kentucky and lives in Whitesburg, Kentucky.