Couple Has Given More than $22 Million
The President of the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS), Burt Kummerow (left) led the ceremony for Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown. They have contributed over $22 million to various organizations aiding inner city children in Baltimore and elsewhere.
Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown have a talent for using philanthropy to battle inequality. Together they have contributed more than $22 million to charitable causes over the past 15 years. The Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) recently named Eddie and Sylvia as the society’s “Marylanders of the Year”, an award whose recipients have included Ben Bradlee, Tom Clancy and R. Sargent Shriver.
At the awards luncheon, 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.”
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 and as a former educator shares Eddie’s vision about the importance of education as an equalizer.
At the awards luncheon, 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. Most of our grants require that other African Americans give up to a third of our gift. 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 Browns 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 was to make widely available the libraries collection of African American literature then stored in a basement area.
Their largest overall gift was the $6 million that helped fund construction of the $20 million Brown Center, located on the urban 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 of $5 million was for the Turning the Corner Achievement Program (TCAP) that guides inner city Baltimore youth towards success.
Some other recipients of the Browns’ philanthropy include; Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Center for Urban Families (CFUF) that develops career paths and strong family models, Baltimore School for the Arts, Howard University, Middle Grades Partnership in Baltimore City and the Soulful Symphony/Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) Partnership.