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, Oral worked during the day and attended school at night while raising three daughters. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of San Francisco. With the 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 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 annually deposits $10,000.00 and began her quest to educate her “babies”.
Through the years Oral Lee Brown has adopted many more young students and helped guide 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. Of the original twenty-three students, nineteen graduated and enrolled in college.
“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. An entire class of students was adopted 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. At the time they were adopted by Mrs. Brown, 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 attended college.
In September 2005, the Foundation embarked upon another mission – starting a Saturday School. This allowed the Foundation to accept from different grade levels instead of just first graders. This gave the Foundation the potential to have a greater impact by reaching a larger number of students.
The Foundation has been successful in its efforts. Phase 2, Phase 3, and Phase 4 students graduated in 2009, 2013 and 2017 respectively from prestigious colleges, such as Morehouse, Xavier, California State University East Bay, University of California Berkeley, San Francisco State, Southern University, Bethune-Cookman University, and other universities.
Phase 5 students graduated high school in 2017 and are attending colleges. Phases 6, 7 and 8 students are in high school, middle school and elementary school. The foundation supports these students on a regular basis through monitoring, mentoring, tutoring and a host of other services.
What does the O.L.B.F do?
The Oral Lee Brown Foundation is a non-profit corporation with the specific purpose of providing education assistance and scholarships to underprivileged children in the Oakland area.
The foundation disburses scholarships for college and enhances the lives of its students with programs such as:
Mentoring & Tutoring
Computer Training & Coding
- Grades & Attendance Monitoring
The foundation is staffed with
- Oral Brown, Founder/CEO
- Jewel Hampton, Administrative Assistant
- Teachers & Volunteers
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
Tom Brokaw NBC Nightly News December 1999
In 1987, Oral Lee Brown adopted a first grade class and promised them that 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, more than 136 students from low income families have received mentoring, tutoring, and financial support from the Oral Lee Brown Foundation.
Oral Lee Brown on KTUV TV
KTUV TV ran a video special on the Oral Lee Brown Foundation
Oral Lee Brown on MSNBC Live 2018
March is Women’s History Month. Oral Lee Brown is highlighted for her 31 years of keeping her promise.
The Women’s Conference 2010
Photos by GoldWong Photography