“We are extremely honored to be the recipients of the 2018 Matthew M. Brown Fund award. As photographers, we strive to use our skill set to impact the world in a positive way. Photography goes lengths in helping individuals see themselves in new ways and this is the reason why we strive every day to provide those less fortunate with that opportunity. We want to recognize Matthew Brown for his passion for photography and his selfless impact in Latin America. Thank you to the Brown family and The Denver Foundation for recognizing Project Picture Day and supporting our mission.”
– Jen Campos & Jules Alonzo (PPD Founders)
Born on May 16, 1966 in Denver, Colorado, Matt Brown attended Denver Public Schools and graduated from East High School in 1984. He was an all-state tennis player and star student. He later attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon majoring in international business and Latin American studies while also participating in several overseas studies programs in Latin American countries, including Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Matt helped to found the campus organization, Students in Solidarity With Central American People (SISCAP), which held symposia about current issues in the Region. Matt was also an avid photographer and loved taking photos of children during his trips to Latin America where he helped build several schools. Matt had been accepted to the University of Wisconsin, Madison for graduate studies, but decided to defer to take some time off and live in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Tragically, several years after graduating from Lewis and Clark in 1989, Matt was hit by a car while riding his bicycle in Sun Valley and suffered a severe head injury. His dream of going to graduate school would not be realized and his recovery took him to the Center for Neuro Skills in Bakersfield, California and the Craig Hospital in Denver, CO. He was eventually able to live on his own with some assistance. He taught tennis for several years and continued his photography work with the help of his teacher, Jennifer Olson.
Photography was a real passion of Matt’s and allowed him to express himself in ways he would not normally be able to, as a result of the head injury. In late April 2011, Matt suffered a sudden and severe stroke and passed away on May 3, 2011.
To honor his legacy, in 2012 Matt’s siblings established The Matthew M. Brown Fund as a donor-advised fund at The Denver Foundation, Colorado’s oldest and largest community foundation. The fund makes grants to 501(c)3 organizations who embody the spirit and interests of Matt such as photography, tennis, Latin America, and animals. Matt’s siblings select organizations on an annual basis to donate to and The Denver Foundation vets them and sends them the grant funds. Past recipients of grants include the Colorado Photographic Arts Center Picture Me Here program, the Denver Achievement Academy, the Denver Zoo, the Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation, and the Denver Dumb Friends League. In 2016, a sizeable grant was made to Matt’s college alma mater, Lewis and Clark College, to establish The Matthew M. Brown Overseas Study Endowed Scholarship, which supports students with demonstrated financial need who are participating in an overseas studies program in Latin American countries. “We are thrilled to be supporting Project Picture Day and know that Matt would love the work that is being done to provide children with school portraits and school supplies.” – Stephany Brown (Sister)