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By J.P. Camden
The Faces of P.A.C.E. (Positive
Action for Charitable Endeavours)
Introducing Kathy Brown ...
For most folks in these troubled times,
this may be easier said than done. But
her philosophy has served Kathy very
well over the years.
Most people that know Kathy know her
through her parties and charitable
events where she is a major force in
Chicagoland for doing good and
helping people. But few know the
woman behind the whirlwind that she
is on the charity scene; involved with
such groups as the Jessie White
Tumblers, the Joseph Academy,
Orchard Village, and the Fisher House
for vets and their families, plus more.
She particularly is selective in which
groups and charities she supports; she
looks for those that do the most good
with the least amount of staff and
administrative overhead. In addition
she is also a member of P.A.C.E.
(Positive Action for Charitable
Endeavours), a social/fraternal group
of people that belong to, support,
and/or help out with good causes and
their events where she was P.A.C.E.’s
“Woman of the Year”.
From the Albany Park neighborhood of
Chicago, Kathy was an early
“go-getter” learning Latin in order to
change to a better high school and get a
scholarship to go to Georgetown
University and their Tokyo, Japan
program before graduating from
North Park University.
After college it was on to the
Chicago Public Schools where
she was a teacher. One would
think that this challenging
occupation alone would be
enough for one to handle. But
not for Kathy Brown! She also
joined United Airlines in 1969
as a flight attendant.
Shortly thereafter she met the
love of her life at Oak Street
Beach, Larry Brown, and in
married him and they went on to
become a dynamic team not only
personally but in business until his
early and untimely passing at age 45.
Having experienced the vagaries of
corporate business fortunes; Larry came
to believe that real estate was the
answer to one’s economic stability and
fortune. In 1973, the Brown’s
purchased their first building in Lincoln
Park; at the time a “down-and-out”
neighborhood where they were having
trouble getting $75 a month for an
apartment and had to take all sorts of
characters as renters, including
practitioners of witchcraft!
Soon after they were on to buying more
buildings in the neighborhood,
rehabbing them, but NOT selling or
“flipping” them.
Decades later this approach was
validated as today Kathy’s company,
Brown Properties, has several dozen
buildings and has even expanded
into out-of-state development in
Two Rivers, Wisconsin and New
Kathy believes that today “is the best
time in the world to buy real estate”. In-
deed she and one of her two sons, Mike,
are actively
involved in buying properties today for
the price of a high-end luxury car and
enhancing them for rentals that will re-
turn their investment in just a
few years.
What are her guiding principles in her
real estate operations? She believes in
taking on no partners, hiring good
earnest workers, and not over
stretching beyond one’s means and
capabilities. Indeed, she is proof that
the American success story is not dead.
Kathy Brown, a true pillar of Chicago’s
charitable community and someone
that cares about people and just not
Buy real estate … and NEVER
sell!” is Kathy’s motto.
Their philosophy was
to buy “the worst
building on the best
block of a neighborhood
and make it the
best building”.
Vigoré believes people make a difference
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White,
Kathy Brown, and actor Steven Seagal
viewing the Jesse White Tumblers performing
at the Secretary's birthday party.
Photo by J.P. Camden, Copyright (2011)
hicago &
(Positive Action for Charitable Endeavours)