Who We Are
Dorothy Dorsett Brown
The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation is a private, philanthropic foundation established in 1958. With its mission: to alleviate human suffering, the Brown Foundation funds medical and environmental research; housing for the homeless; organizations who care for the sick, hungry or helpless; religious and educational institutions; and organizations and groups concerned with improving our local communities. Applications are welcome from all non-profit, 501(c)3 organizations established for three years or more regardless of size, type, or endeavor. Efforts are restricted to the states of Louisiana and Mississippi with a focus on South Louisiana, the New Orleans area and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Board President, D. Paul Spencer leads the Foundation along with Board of Trustees members: David B. Spencer, Vice-President; Edwin Ford Hunter, III, Secretary; Betty M. Estopinal, Treasurer; Barbara G. Spencer, Edwin K. Hunter; and Ronald P. Spencer, M.D.
Joe W. Brown (1897-1959) and Dorothy Dorsett Brown (1896-1989) were dedicated to philanthropy during their lifetimes. The Browns moved to New Orleans in the mid-1920s. They both came from humble beginnings, but they slowly acquired wealth through astute investments in real estate and oil properties.
Mr. Brown drilled a producing oil well in 1946 in Valentine Field, Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, and continued drilling the field until his death in 1959. Valentine Field was one of the great discoveries in south Louisiana and established Mr. Brown as one of the state's largest independent oil producers.
The Browns owned and raced thoroughbred horses all over the country. The horses raced under the Browns' signature colors - white with a black "B" and black stars. Some of their famous horses' names were: Brownie, Gigantic, Cabildo, Listcapade, El Baba and Tenacious. Their horses won many races over many of the country's famous race tracks.
The majority of the Browns' charitable endeavors during their lifetimes were anonymous with the exceptions of a shelter for the New Orleans SPCA and the memorial recreation center in Joe W. Brown Park. In 1957 the Browns' donation of 163 acres of property for the New Orleans park was estimated to be worth in excess of 1 million dollars.
Mrs. Brown helped guide the direction of the Foundation until her death in 1989. A long-time employee and friend of Mr. and Mrs. Brown, Mr. D. Paul Spencer now operates the Foundation with a deep sense of pride and dedication on behalf of the Browns.
The efforts of the Foundation are restricted to the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. The focus is on South Louisiana, the New Orleans area and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The Brown Foundation's Board of Trustees:
D.P. Spencer, President; David B. Spencer, Vice-President; Edwin Ford Hunter, III, Secretary; Betty M. Estopinal, Treasurer; Barbara G. Spencer, Edwin K. Hunter, and Ronald P. Spencer, M.D.