The Thomas R. Brown Foundations are dedicated to raising the quality of life for present and future generations through expanded understanding and application of economic principles in private and public decision-making. The Foundations are also dedicated to advancing solutions to community problems through strategic grants, research and policy analysis.
The Foundations consist of the Thomas R. Brown Foundation, a private operating foundation, and the Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation, a supporting organization of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. The two entities are legally separate, but are governed by the same trustees, and programs of both foundations are coordinated where appropriate.
The philosophy and objectives of the Thomas R. Brown Foundations are derived from the life and accomplishments of its founder and benefactor, Thomas Rush Brown, Jr. (1926-2002)
Mr. Brown was one of Arizona’s most successful businessmen. He attended MIT and Harvard where, respectively, he earned a general engineering degree and an MBA. After serving in the Navy in World War II, he married Helen Watson Mason and moved to Tucson where he co-founded Burr-Brown Research Corporation with Page Burr in 1956.
Several years later, he bought Burr’s interest and focused the rest of his career on building the company. Brown had a manufacturer’s enthusiasm for developing an excellent design, and then replicating it. His attention to detail was relentless and his methodology meticulous. The company grew to be a multi-billion dollar semiconductor firm known world-wide for its high quality products. In 1983, Burr-Brown went public, and in 2000, was sold to Texas Instruments.
Thomas R. Brown was committed to a free market economic system. He sought to encourage individual liberty and fiscal conservatism. He supported initiatives to help the less fortunate and to provide them opportunities to become more financially productive. He believed in the institution of private property and in personal responsibility. He stressed the importance of forethought, personal initiative and effort, commitment and disciplined work. He encouraged individual achievement and was a supporter of education and training to enhance the ability of an individual to reach his/her potential.
Central to everything Mr. Brown did was his belief that the welfare of society is advanced through individual initiative and the preservation of the free enterprise system. It was his wish to encourage people to participate fully in our democracy with knowledge, balanced judgment, personal initiative, and with motivation to be productive and contributory citizens.
Thomas and Helen Brown had two daughters, Mary and Sarah, who now lead the foundations.