Who We Are

The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation proudly works to relieve human suffering. Under the proud and deeply dedicated leadership of American war hero D. Paul Spencer, a long-time employee and friend of the Browns, the governing body of the Foundation adopted its mission statement: Alleviate Human Suffering. Significant steps were taken to develop the direction and scope of funding. Foundation endowment funds were invested prudently and in accordance with modern portfolio theory. Committees were organized, guidelines were drafted, and application and reporting processes were developed to ensure strict compliance by grant seekers.

Through the hard work and dedication of the governing body and staff, the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation continues to contribute to the betterment of communities, alleviating human suffering, and promoting service learning. 

We believe in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and developing new treatments for the sick while assisting with community benefit and human interest programs where prudent.  Grant support falls into one of these committees, each chaired by a program officer: Human Services; Medical, Health & Science; Education; Community Benefit and Conservation & Environment. The Foundation also runs a Service Learning program. We offer funds to schools via Service Learning Awards for a class, grades K-12, to link learning and intentional service to their community through an identified Service Partner.

Lastly, The Brown Foundation sponsors the Emmy Noether Fellowship. One young scientist will be awarded with a gold medal and $25,000 of funding for each of three years that she remains in a post-graduate level program to obtain a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics through which she will continue to pursue research and discovery (some restrictions apply).


Joe W. Brown and Dorothy Dorsett both came from humble beginnings. He was born on a farm on October 5, 1897 in East Texas, and she was born in a small town on March 31, 1896 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. They married in Houston on February 4, 1919, and moved to New Orleans in the 1920's. 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 of Lafourche Parish. It was one of the great discoveries in south Louisiana, and established Mr. Brown as one of the state's largest independent oil producers.

Their philanthropic activity reached from Louisiana to Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, Kentucky and Mississippi. Most charitable endeavors during their lifetimes were anonymous. Exceptions were the shelter for the New Orleans SPCA, the Memorial Recreation Center in Joe W. Brown Park and the acreage of the park itself in eastern New Orleans.

During their lifetimes, the Browns raced thoroughbred horses, entering them at major racetracks throughout the country under 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.

After Mr. Brown's death, on February 15, 1959, Mrs. Brown devoted much of her time to building and expanding the Broadwater Beach Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi. She died on October 14, 1989.

Joe W. Brown
10/05/1897 - 02/15/1959
Dorothy Dorsett Brown
03/31/1896 - 10/14/1989