Friday, March 25, 2011

Black Baltimore Philanthropists Win Marylanders of The Year Award

Award Presented During Maryland Day Festivities at Maryland Historical Society

Via Press Release: Baltimore, Maryland (March 25, 2011) - Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown have a talent for using philanthropy as a tool to battle inequality. They and their family have contributed more than $22 million to various charitable causes over the past fifteen years. The Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) announced today that Eddie and Sylvia have been selected as the societies “Marylanders of the Year,” an award whose recipients have included Ben Bradlee, Tom Clancy and Sargent Shriver.

Maryland Day commemorates the founding of Maryland. On March 25th, 1634, settlers stepped from two small sailing ships, the Ark and the Dove, onto Maryland soil. They landed at St. Clements’s Island on what is now St. Mary’s County, Maryland. MdHS leads the commemoration in Baltimore each year with a patriotic celebration and the naming of the Marylander of the Year.

At the awards luncheon held today, Burt Kummerow, MdHS President said, “Eddie and Sylvia have generated spectacular dividends for impoverished inner-city residents and leveled playing fields across the country in the realms of education, healthcare and art.

The Browns’ gifts primarily focus on helping African Americans in the areas of health care, education and the arts. However, a number of their gifts have been targeted to improving the quality of life in the broader Baltimore community.

Brown was born impoverished in rural Apopka, Florida. Always a superb student, his academic prowess prompted a local businesswoman to fully subsidize his education at Howard University where he earned an electrical engineering degree in 1961. He never met his benefactor but knew he wanted to do the same for other poor black youngsters. Sylvia was born in King William, Virginia (the daughter of educators) and as a former educator shares Eddie’s vision about the importance of education as an equalizer.

At the Maryland Day awards luncheon held at MdHS in Mt. Vernon, Eddie Brown said, “We have tried to create a model of philanthropy that spurs other African Americans of means to become more involved with charitable giving to our community. Both of us have been very pleased with the results achieved.”

After college, Eddie joined IBM as an engineer, earned an MBA and worked as an investment manager for T. Rowe Price before founding Brown Capital Management in 1983. His Baltimore-based business was soon able to amass more than $6 billion in assets under management. The Brown’s established their charitable foundation (C. Sylvia and Eddie C. Brown Family Foundation) in 1996.

The Brown’s $1 million challenge grant gift to the Enoch Pratt Free Library is the largest donation extended to the institution in its 129-year history. Its purpose is to make widely available the libraries' collection of African American literature then stored in a basement area.

Their largest gift was $6 million that helped fund construction of the $20 million dollar Brown Center, located on the campus of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. They also underwrote a number of full scholarships for African American students to attend MICA.

Their second largest single gift was $5 million for the Turning the Corner Achievement Program that guides inner city Baltimore youth towards success.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is another educational institution that has received their assistance. They provided $1 million to create the Brown Capital Management Faculty Institute of Entrepreneurship to provide faculty training and activities that help kindle the spirit of entrepreneurship in UMBC students.

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture received a $1 million challenge grant from the Browns for the purpose of helping the museum establish an endowment.

The Brown’s mission in the realm of the arts has been two-pronged: to provide more opportunities for African Americans in the arts, while simultaneously helping to expose their talents and skills to a wider audience. Their first gifts went to The Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art to provide more art created by African American artists to be added to their permanent collection.

Some other recipients of the Browns’ philanthropy include Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University; Center for Urban Families, that develops career paths and strong family model; Baltimore School for the Arts; Howard University; Middle Grades Partnership in Baltimore City; and the Soulful Symphony/Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Partnership.

The Maryland Historical Society was founded in 1844 and is the world’s largest museum and library dedicated to the history of Maryland. Occupying an entire city block in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore, the society’s mission is to “collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland’s diverse cultural heritage.” The Society is home to the original manuscript of the Star Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled “Maryland Historical Magazine.” More information about the Maryland Historical Society can be found online at

This evening, the Browns are among the honorees at the Ronald H. Brown 2nd Annual American Journey Awards in Washington, DC, a special event that will honor the legacy of the late Secretary Ronald Brown, the first African American to serve as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The proceeds from the event will benefit the Ron Brown Scholars program and BlackGivesBack will be there to bring you highlights!

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