Oral Lee Brown Foundation
In 1987, Oral Lee Brown adopted a first grade class and promised them if they stayed in school and got admitted to college she would pay for their college education. Not only did she keep her promise to the first class of students, to date, 136 students from low income families have received mentoring, tutoring, and financial support from the Oral Lee Brown Foundation for college.
Who Is Oral Lee Brown?
Oral Lee Brown – Founder/CEO
Oral Lee Brown is accustomed to hard work and challenges having left poverty in the Mississippi Delta and relocating to California as a young woman, she worked during the day and attended school at night as she raised three daughters. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of San Francisco. With confidence and determination to make her next professional move, she attained her Real Estate Broker’s license and went on to become the owner of Nationwide Realty now known as (Oral Brown Realty) in Oakland, CA.
Ms. Brown’s difficult start in life and her religious faith has led her to believe in helping others and “giving something back” to the community. In 1987 Oral Lee Brown adopted the entire first grade class from Brookfield Elementary School in Oakland, CA. Her vision was to support these at-risk students in whatever ways essential to gain a quality education. She began to deposit $10,000.00 of her own money into a trust account for the children’s tuition and she continues her giving until this day.
Over the years Oral Lee Brown has adopted many more young students and has guided them through school and on to college. Not only is she supporting the children financially for their future education, but she provides after school and Saturday School to tutor and mentor with the students, testing, and CAHSEE & SAT/ACT prep.
Ms. Brown meets with parents, school officials, and mentors to help provide students with a well rounded academic and social program. She provides picnics, dinners, parties, outings, and cultural events on a regular basis. Ms. Brown sponsors an annual Scholarship Gala and celebrates the advances of the students in the Foundation.
“I feel the students must be given the financial assistance and inspiration to continue their education. If these children become successful, then my life will have been a success. After this, I will look forward to helping others.”
Oral Lee Brown
Who Are the Children of The O.L.B.F.?
The Oral Lee Brown Foundation currently sponsors eight (8) groups (or phases) of children.
The first phase of students was adopted in 1987. It contained an entire class of students from Brookfield Elementary School located in the troubled area of East Oakland. This group was labeled as Brookfield’s “worst” first grade class. Nearly all of them were low-income, and lived in the violence-plagued flatlands of East Oakland. Statistically, 3 out of 4 students who started as freshmen at local high schools dropped out, and of those who did graduate, just 1 in 3 had the grades eligible to enroll in a state university. Of the original group of twenty-three students, nineteen graduated from high school and entered college, and began graduating college in spring 2005.
In September 2005 we embarked upon another mission, starting a Saturday School. By starting the Saturday school, the foundation is now able to accept students from different grade levels and not just the first grade. This allows the foundation to have a greater impact and the ability to reach a larger number of students.
The foundation has been successful, Phase(2) and Phase (3) students graduated in 2009 and 2013 from Morehouse, Xavier, California State University East Bay, University of California Berkeley, San Francisco State, San Jose State, Sacramento State, University of California San Diego, Florida A&M, Southern University, Bethune Cookman and other Colleges and Universities.
Graduates have returned back to Oakland to live and work in their communities as productive tax-paying citizens.
Phase 4 students will graduate from Colleges & Universities such as: Academy of Arts in S.F. , NYU, Syracuse, Temple, Dillard , Mt. St. Mary’s, UC Merced , Paul Quinn University, SFSU ,SJSU Sacramento State and Laney to name a few and the students will begin graduating spring 2017.
Phases 5, 6, 7 and 8 are currently in high, middle and elementary school. They reside in the Oakland -Bay Area. The foundation supports these students on a regular basis through monitoring, mentoring, tutoring and a host of other services.
What are the Goals of the O.L.B.F.?
The goals of the Oral Lee Brown Foundation are to open a Boarding School Fall 2017 and continue to provide low-income youth the tools to enable them to break their cycle of poverty through education.
The Oral Lee Brown Boarding Charter School (OLBBCS) will build on the legacy of the Oral Lee Brown Foundation. It will provide a nurturing, rigorous, wellness and educational program for students in grades 9-12 to earn an associate’s degree while concurrently enrolled in (OLBBCS) and continuing Ms. Brown’s promise of funding the college education of every graduate.
The school will deliberately coordinate additional resources for students to proactively address opportunity gaps and align opportunities to develop individual talents and creating an extended family for more challenged students through coaches and mentors. The school will provide a state of the art facility and residence halls for our most challenged students. OLBBCS will implement an elite and accelerated education program drawing on national best practices, creating a beacon for Oakland’s children and a model for the student success, preparing all students to be college and 21st century career ready.
What does the O.L.B.F do?
The Oral Lee Brown Foundation is a non-profit benefit corporation with the specific purpose of providing educational assistance and scholarships to underprivileged children in the Oakland area.
The foundation not only gives scholarships for college, it is about enhancing the lives of the students with programs such as:
- Mentoring & Tutoring Programs
- STEM Programs
- Computer Training & Coding
- Recreational Activities
- Monthly Meetings
- School Visits
- Grades & Attendance Monitoring
The foundation is staffed with
- Oral Brown ~Founder/CEO
- Phyllis Opara ~Administrator
- Teachers & Volunteers
Board of Directors
- Oral Lee Brown – Founder, Executive Officer
- Joanne Baker – Vice President
- David Osborne – Advisor
- Wonda Kidd – Secretary
- Yolanda Stenmark – Treasurer
- Georgia Osborne
- Monica Washington
- Rotha So
- Julia R. Allen
- Lan La
- John Miller
- Vanessa Oliver
- Brian Hillard
Oral Lee Brown Awards
- Named Woman of the Year for the year 2000 by Senator Don Perata and Assembly member Audie Bock
- Honored at the Black History Month Awards sponsored by Union Bank of California and KQED
- Selected as among the” Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area”
- Diamond of the Bay Award for Community Service by the National Basketball Wives Association
- California Lottery Award
- The Pioneer Achievement Award by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women
- Humanitarian Of The Year by the East Bay Agency for Children
- John Stanford Education Heroes Award by the U.S. Department of Education.
- The Minerva Award 2010, Bank of the West Community Award(2011)
- Inducted into Alameda County Hall of Fame (2102)
- Featured in People, Glamour Magazine (3) times, Ebony and Essence magazines
- Seen on ABC Later Today, NBC Nightly News, Extra, CNN, Courage, and Channels 2, 4, 5, & 7
- National Jefferson Awards 2013
“My Real Life Angel” by Phase 1 Student, Jeffery Toney