Alexander “Sandy” Brown was a fourth-generation Denver native who served the United States Marine Corps, an inventor, and an entrepreneur who started and led two successful companies.
Outgoing and determined, Sandy believed in the importance of hard work and self-reliance. He lived with a can-do spirit and penchant for fun that attracted many friends to his larger-than-life personality. His wife and four daughters were always the center of his life.
So when one of Sandy’s daughters became ill and had to undergo a kidney transplant, he applied his indomitable optimism to the challenges that came along with those experiences, including waiting for an organ transplant and navigating the healthcare system. He and his wife became
champions for organ and tissue donation and participated in a number of transplant-related causes.
Sandy served as Chairman of the Mile-High Transplant Bank, now part of the Donor Alliance, and received honors for his work with the National Kidney Foundation and the American Council on Transplantation.
“Sandy was a wonderful father and friend. When his daughter was diagnosed with kidney disease, he learned everything about transplantation,” says Donald Ringsby, a close friend of Sandy’s for nearly 40 years. “He was a terrific guy who helped other people. He was so committed that if you called him and had to leave a message, he had a statement at the end that encouraged others to think about being a donor.”
Two of Sandy Brown's daughters with longtime family friend Donald. From left to right: Tracy McInnes, Donald Ringsby, and Cecily Klein
Sandy felt his family had been given a true gift of life through organ donation. He believed that for many families, the gift of education would have a similar life-changing impact. He had a strong belief that a college degree was something that, once earned, could never be taken away.
“Although he never graduated from college, he understood the value of a college degree,” says daughter Kim Marsh. “He always told us, ‘Girls, you can lose your job, your home, everything. But if you have your education, you really have something that can never be taken from you.’ He generously paved the way for each of us to attend the college of our choice and encouraged us, regardless of financial or personal obstacles, to attend and graduate from college.”
In that spirit and on his passing in 2018, Sandy’s family and friends (including Donald Ringsby, who is featured on the cover with two of Sandy's daughters) created the Alexander Brown Memorial Scholarship at The Denver Foundation. The scholarship fund helps students who have been recipients of an organ transplant to pursue their educational goals. The scholarship furthers two of Sandy’s interests: the importance of supporting others in their pursuit of higher education, and the miracle of organ donation and transplantation.
“How blessed we all were to have a father and a friend who inspired us and so many others and whose legacy lives on in this amazing scholarship,” says Kim.
If you would like to explore opening a scholarship at The Denver Foundation, please call the Philanthropic Services Group at 303.300.1790.