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JB Brown Fund celebrates 10-year anniversary, holds successful auction

Almost 1,000 low-income residents living in USA Properties Fund apartment communities have been helped by the program

The JB Brown Fund celebrated its 10-year anniversary Oct. 7 at USA Properties Fund’s headquarters in Roseville, honoring those who have made the organization such a success and sharing the stories of a few recipients helped by the social-services program.

The two-hour event featured speakers, a hosted food truck, and a silent in-person and online auction with proceeds benefiting the organization.

The auction, which raised $1,200, included a custom cake, original artwork to gift baskets with various themes, from Family Fun Night to Golf to Soccer, complete with Sacramento Republic FC items and tickets.

What is the JB Brown Fund?

Earning a college degree with the help of a much-needed scholarship.

Getting through a challenging emotional and financial period, such as a job loss or the sudden death of a loved one – or the far-reaching and hard-to-imagine impact of the Covid pandemic.

Being active and learning some of life’s most-valuable lessons, from camaraderie to sportsmanship, by participating in youth sports.

All have been made possible, and so much more, thanks to the JB Brown Fund, a partnership between USA Properties Fund and LifeSTEPS, a nonprofit that provides social services at many of USA Properties’ affordable family and senior apartment communities.

What started as an idea during a drive to the airport, has helped almost 1,000 low-income residents reach new heights – and recover from the most turbulent of times – since 2011.

The JB Brown Fund helps low-income residents – from hardworking single parents to seniors living on a fixed-income – achieve their dreams, like attending and completing college, to dealing with an unexpected financial emergency, including paying for a new pair of eyeglasses or hearing aids to vehicle repairs.

It helped out a lot. It paid for more than half of my tuition. I really appreciate the help.

— Laura Gutierrez, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on human resources from San Jose State University in 2020. The $11,000 in college scholarships from the JB Brown Fund allowed her to focus on her classes and being a new mother – and worry less about paying for school. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 3.9 grade-point average.

(Story continues after the photo gallery from the event.)

Almost $1.35 million awarded since 2011

The JB Brown Fund has awarded almost $1.35 million to residents since starting in 2011, including $900,000 for college scholarships to residents. Every dollar donated goes directly to helping residents.

“The JB Brown Fund truly changes lives, establishes a better foundation for residents and their families, and helps build stronger communities,” said USA Properties President Geoff Brown, whose father J.B. Brown founded the company in 1981. “The JB Brown Fund is an investment in our residents and their unlimited potential.”

The JB Brown Fund helps “move the needle and breaks the cycle of poverty,” said LifeSTEPS Executive Director Beth Southorn, who co-founded the JB Brown Fund with Geoff Brown. The fund, its donors and recipients are “carriers of transformation and positivity.”

Learn more about the JB Brown Fund and how you can help and join the life-changing effort at jbbrownfund.org.

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JB Brown helps nursing student pursue her dream

Angelina S. is committed to helping others – much like the JB Brown Fund.

“I went into college not knowing what I wanted to do,” Angelina says. “But something about health care interested me.”

The one-time lifeguard has chosen one of the most demanding and rewarding health care professions – registered nursing. Angelina is in her second semester in the nursing program at Sacramento State University.

“I see how hard the nurses work and how kind they are to patients,” says Angelina, who lives with her mother and sister – a recent nursing school grad and now full-time RN – at Terracina at Park Meadows in Elk Grove. “My sister told me it was super-competitive.”

Very competitive. But after some early struggles, Angelina thrived in the classroom, especially with the prerequisites like anatomy and microbiology needed to enter the nursing program.

“It’s tough,” Angelina says of the four-semester program. The program includes classes and clinical training with patients. “I really liked the patients who I’ve worked with.”

‘It helps relieve some of the financial stress’

The nursing program becomes more challenging and includes more clinical experience with patients every semester. Angelina isn’t worried, thanks to the JB Brown Fund.

JB Brown college scholarships allow Angelina to concentrate on school – and less on how to pay for Sacramento State. In fact, she took some time away from her part-time job at a local restaurant to focus on the admission exam for the nursing program – and scored in the top 1%.

“It’s a great scholarship,” says Angelina, whose sister also benefited from JB Brown Fund scholarships and encouraged her to apply. “It helps relieve some of the financial stress and I can focus more on school.”

Angelina is on schedule to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in fall 2022.

“I would like to work in a fast-paced environment,” says Angelina, who is considering being an emergency room RN. “But I also really like working with kids.”

With a bachelor’s degree and nursing license, Angelina will have many career options – and less of a financial burden with the JB Brown Fund scholarships.

“It’s really helped me a lot,” she says of the scholarship that has helped her reach her dream. “And in nursing school, you don’t know what to expect. I just know the time will fly by.”