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Governor George Romney Lifetime Achievement Award - Evelyn Brown
Governor George Romney Lifetime Achievement Award: honors an individual who has shown a lifelong commitment to community involvement and volunteerism.
Evelyn Brown’s selfless actions have touched the lives of countless Detroit residents and her leadership has made a difference across the nation.
She started helping others decades ago while attending college in the 1960's. Along with other students, she led the struggle to enfranchise the African-American voters in Mississippi, where 45 percent of the community was African-American, while only five percent of that population was registered to vote. Working with Civil Rights groups, the students successfully impacted voter registration.
Professionally, Evelyn became the founding Director of Detroit’s Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). She assembled a local advisory board, created local policies and raised the initial $1 million funding to help African-Americans gain fair access to quality housing, state of the art schools and ideal communities.
Evelyn has volunteered for various organizations including Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Lydia's House of Southeast, Art Maui Inc, Community Youth and Women's Alliance and Vista Affordable Housing.
Upon retirement, she wanted to expand her impact with an organization. As a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Detroit she has surpassed her goal. Her presence has resulted in more economically resilient planning and increased productivity within each department. Appointing the right people and allowing them to come together for the benefit of the community is one of her greatest strengths. She also ensures that every Habitat volunteer she encounters feels welcome and appreciated. “She makes everyone feel like Habitat Detroit couldn't realize the mission without their volunteer service,” said Carol Wilson, fellow volunteer.
Evelyn has helped increase operations efficiency at the Habitat for Humanity Detroit ReStores, one of the largest sources of unrestricted funds that support building homes, communities and hope throughout Detroit neighborhoods. Under her leadership, donations have increased, the stores are stocked and the customer experience has improved.
She also continues to make a real difference as a board member with Habitat for Humanity Detroit, helping in the city’s revival and sharing her vast knowledge with the Habitat team.
"Her enthusiasm for serving is so infectious, it makes others want to volunteer, and serve because of her. She is a national treasure,” said Sandra Cobb, Chief of Community.