Community Giving

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Dorothy Brown

Fund Name:: Willmar Civic Scholarship Association Dorothy Brown Scholars Fund
Fund Established: 2017
Community Foundation(s): Willmar Area
Award: 2019 WACF Marv Otto Award

Dorothy Brown believed in the capabilities of children and all the potential opportunities they could create. As an educator, Dorothy touched the lives of countless young people. Sharon Arfstrom, a former colleague shared that Brown was “incredibly kind to everyone, never raised her voice in the classroom, knew her students’ strengths and worked hard to create plans that helped them improve their weaker spots, which is a hallmark of an excellent teacher.”

Dorothy grew up in the Grove City area, graduating from Litchfield High School. After receiving teacher’s training in Litchfield, she went on to receive her Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in education from St. Cloud State University. Dorothy taught elementary school in various communities in Meeker County prior to her marriage to Stanley Roy Brown in 1944. Thereafter in 1958, the Browns made Willmar their hometown.

Dorothy taught in the Willmar Public Schools for 25 years. She not only left a powerful legacy with her colleagues and students but is now leaving a legacy for future educators. Dorothy passed away in May of 2017 at the age of 95, but her passion for teaching led her to take significant steps to help create the next generation of classroom teachers. As a part of her legacy, Dorothy left an $800,000 estate gift to one of her favorite charities, the Willmar Civic Scholarship Association (WCSA) to help local students become elementary teachers. “Dorothy’s gift will not only touch the lives of these students, but as future teachers, they will have the opportunity to give back to their community and leave their own legacy,” states Deb Zinda Hanson, Board Chair of WCSA. This transformational gift led to a partnership between the WSCA and the Willmar Area Community Foundation for an endowed scholarship named the WCSA Dorothy Brown Scholars Fund. This fund will enhance the lives of students pursuing elementary education with a $10,000 scholarship disbursed throughout their undergraduate career.

Dorothy illustrates that teaching is more than educating others, it’s a profession of the heart. “Dorothy’s investment into our youth will create a ripple for generations; that is a powerful impact made by an everyday hero,” notes Sara Carlson, WACF Executive Director. While Dorothy wanted to share the passion of education, she also created a ripple of opportunity for future educators for generations. Dorothy Brown’s final lesson in generosity and commitment will speak for a lifetime, while changing countless lives.