Ann Lee Saunders Brown and her husband, Charles L. Brown, were kind and considerate community-minded residents of Princeton for many years.
During part of Charles’ working life as Chairman of AT&T and in his retirement, the charming Virginia couple entered wholeheartedly into community life. Ann was an avid member of the Princeton Garden Club of America and participated in numerous local activities with her southern charm.
They were extremely thoughtful and wished to participate philanthropically, with organizations they supported. So, they set up a Community Grantmaking Fund at the Princeton Area Community Foundation following Charles’ death in 2003.
That support will continue forever, through the Charles L. and Ann Lee Brown Fund at the Princeton Area Community Foundation, an endowed fund supporting the Community Foundation’s Community Impact and All Kids Thrive grants.
After Ann’s death last year at her family’s Virginia farm at the age of 101, the Community Foundation learned she had made a multimillion-dollar bequest to the fund.
When members of the community try to figure out how to best support the community forever, they often decide the Community Foundation is the best way to do that.
“Donors trust the Community Foundation to support agencies that are doing effective and relevant work in the community – it’s something like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” said Bill Burks, a longtime Community Foundation Trustee.
Everyone who met Ann loved her.
“She was a Princetonian and believed in the area very much,” Bill explained. “She loved living here, even after Charlie died, she’d come back to visit friends and attend Princeton Garden Club of America meetings.”
In a 2018 interview with Collegiate School in Virginia, she spoke about her philanthropic philosophy.
“I think people who are fortunate enough to have more than they need to live, I think we all need to give back to where we have gotten our source of strength and well-being,” Ann said. “I think gratitude is one of the most life-giving ways of living, to be grateful for what you have and grateful for what you can do.”