JAMES BROWN FAMILY FOUNDATION
For many years now, we have continued to build upon our father’s legacy of giving in many communities around the country. The James Brown Family Foundation, Inc is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2007 for charitable and educational purposes.
Our father, founded the Annual James Brown Turkey and Toy Giveaways. These events assisted underprivileged children and impoverished families. It is in accordance with his wishes that we continue to bring hope and fulfillment to even more families in need. JBFF organizes and manages those two main events and have established other annual giving programs.
The children of James Brown are dedicated to honoring our father’s memory.
THE JBFF MISSION
“Empowering global communities through the Arts and Sciences.”
THE INCEPTION OF JBFF
The James Brown Family Foundation, Inc. began in April of 2007 to continue a legacy of charitable giving begun by James Brown.
Maintaining the Turkey and Toy Giveaways founded by James Brown, was extremely important to James Brown’s children.
On November 19, 2007, after Mr. Brown’s passing, his children held the first Annual JBFF Turkey Giveaway, in his memory. The first JBFF Annual Toy Giveaway was held on December 21, 2007.
Both events have become a day of reflection but, also a day of helping those in need.
The James Brown Family Foundation, Inc. began in April of 2007 to continue a legacy of charitable giving started by James Brown.
The James Brown Family Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization created in accordance with the wishes of James Brown, to continue his legacy of charitable giving and to see the world as he did, bringing hope to those who are less fortunate.
Board of Directors
Music and Radio Broadcasting Royalty, Dr. Deanna Brown Thomas, L.H.D.
Founder + President
Daughter of the legendary “Godfather of Soul” James Brown, Dr. Deanna Brown Thomas is a humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio & TV personality, actress, writer, and President of The James Brown Family Foundation (JBFF), a 501 © (3) non-profit organization created according to the wishes of Mr. James Brown. Through JBFF, she advocates charitable giving by conducting The Annual James Brown Turkey and Toy Giveaways in Augusta, Georgia, hometown of Mr. Brown. Thousands of underprivileged children, families, and senior citizens receive toys, turkeys, and other food items during the holidays. Dr. Brown Thomas was named Ambassador for “Feed the Hungry” because of her continuous work to provide food to those who are food insecure.
Founder of The James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils, Dr. Brown Thomas created JAMP in 2011, a year-round musical village dedicated to teaching students how to play musical instruments, music theory, write, and produce their own music. Students in this program are able to explore their hidden talents and build up their skills.
Founder of The James Brown Family Historical Tour, Dr. Brown Thomas created this tour in 2016 for fans of her father from everywhere could visit Augusta, Georgia, and learn about the world icon.
A true entrepreneur, Dr. Brown Thomas owns Deanna Inc., the parent company for T&T Transportation, DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, and Val-U Furniture.
Leadership is in her DNA. Dr. Brown Thomas developed an appreciation and understanding of the music industry by working and traveling side by side with her famous father as Executive Vice-President of James Brown Enterprises. She organized the world premiere of the biopic theatrical movie “Get On Up” on the life of James Brown. She was a consultant on the film as well as the HBO Documentary “The Rise of James Brown.” She served as producer on the A&E Documentary “Say it Loud.”
Dr. Brown Thomas holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Towson State University and an FCC License from Columbia School of Broadcasting. She boasts an extensive career as a broadcaster for Radio-One, Clear Channel, Brown Broadcasting, and WRDW TV CBS affiliate Augusta, Georgia. The FOX TV show “New York Undercover” and the Universal Studios movie “Blues Brothers 2000” debuted Dr. Brown Thomas as a film actress (SAG). She is a Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, a former member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, and is an active board member for the Augusta Museum of History, where she was instrumental in creating the first and largest exhibit of James Brown Memorabilia. The School of The Great Commission Bible College and Seminary gave her an Honorary Doctorate in Christian Humanitarian for her countless ways of service to all mankind.
DR. Yamma Brown
Author of Cold Sweat, Public Speaker on topics of Domestic Violence, Pharmacology, Lupus and Community Involvement issues.
Derek Wilson Sr.
Director of Music Programs
Manages the development and operations of music programs. Global Tour Direction for elite musical acts in entertainment industry.
Jason Brown, born 4/20/90 in Baltimore, Maryland, is the grandson of music legend, James Brown. After graduating from SCAD-Savannah College of Art and Design with a major in Film Production, Jason pursued the entertainment business in Los Angeles, CA where he currently resides. Prior to graduation, he interned at Warner Brother Records during the summer of 2011, shooting and editing Behind the scenes videos for “Common, Nas, DJ Drama, Jason Derulo, Theopholus London, Ximena Sarinana”, and more.
After WBR, Jason became an office assistant at Paramount Studios for an indie-Writer/Director Joshua Newton (UK). The corporate route led him to work on Reality TV Show “The Profit” Season 1 as a camera assistant. Within the same year, the James Brown Biopic “Get On Up” was greenlit by Universal Pictures, in association with Jagged Films under Mick Jagger; and Imagine Entertainment under Brian Grazer. During production, Jason worked as an office assistant and set production assistant for 4 months. Working with Jill Scott, Aloe Blacc, Chadwick Boseman, Tika Sumpter, Craig Robinson, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis and Dan Aykroyd gave him great connections and focused goals to be a better director. Proceeding the Red carpet events at the Apollo in NYC, and Atlanta, Georgia; the sound of the music focused his attention on the artistry of DJing in the US and UK.
O. Xavier Hixon
Orlando Xavier Hixon graduated from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a BS in Computer Science in May 1991. He also received his Master of Public Administration, May 1999 and Master of Business Administration, December 2011 from the University of the District of Columbia, where he was a Washington Metropolitan Council of Government Fellow and two-year President of Graduate Student Government Association. Mr. Hixon is a member of Phi Delta Kappa International and National Forum for Black Public Administrators. Currently, Mr. Hixon is the former Interim Chief Executive Officer and President of United Communities Against Poverty, Inc. as well as a mayoral appointee of the Metropolitan Washington Regional Planning Council, which is a federally mandated organization that serves low-income individuals with HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Previously, Mr. Hixon worked for many years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of the District of Columbia and as Director of Community Planning and Research for the designated community action agency for the District of Columbia, United Planning Organization. Outside of his professional life, Mr. Hixon volunteers with several area organizations that focus on youth-at-risk and ex-offenders. He is very active in his community and has received numerous awards for his community service involvement. Mr. Hixon is also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Advisory Board Members
Jetro da Silva
GRAMMY music educator award nominee, Jetro da Silva was born in Rio de Janeiro, in February 28th, 1967. Da Silva began his musical training at 12 years old. When Jetro turned 14, he told his dad that he wanted to pursue music seriously. At that time, he started searching for the best music schools in Rio de Janeiro. After studying two years at the Villa Lobos School of Music, he was accepted as a full scholarship at School of Music at UFFJ.
At only 16, Jetro was the sole supporter of his family, playing with world-renowned musicians and his church in Rio de Janeiro. After touring with several Brazilian artists, Jetro moved to Boston to extend his music education at Berklee College of Music, majoring in Music Production and Engineering. Few years later, Da Silva earned his Master of Arts in theological studies at Andover Newton Theological School. His curiosity and desire to learn led him to study Anglican Studies, from where he obtained his graduate diploma. On May of 2015, Mr. Da Silva completed his Doctor in ministry. Da Silva served the prestigious Berklee College of Music for 13 years as Assistant Chair and Professor of the Piano and Ensemble Department. After a short term at Roland Corporation as the Artist Relations Manager, Jetro da Silva joined the California College of Music as a Piano Instructor. As an author and researcher, Da Silva has published two books, “Music and the People of God: Sacred Music and its uses through the Centuries”, and “The Purpose, Power and Politics of Brazilian Christian Liturgy: A Theological and Missiological Analysis of the Life and Music of Father Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia (1767-1830).”
Moreover, talent and professionalism keeps him as one of high demand keyboardist in this country. His experience as keyboardist, producer and arranger has increased his opportunity to work with artists such as: Whitney Houston – 10 years stint including world tours, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, BB King, Jamie Foxx, Celine Dion, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Emilio Santiago, Walter Beasley, Kevin Toney, Earth Wind and Fire, Pastor Andrae Crouch, The Pointer sisters, Sheila E., Namie Amuro, Bonnie Raitt, Luther Vandross, Kem, Patti Austin, Mary Mary and many others.
Kelly Wright currently serves a co-anchor on America’s News Headquarters on Saturdays from 4-5 p.m. ET as well as an overnight breaking news anchor based in New York. Wright previously served as a co-host on Fox & Friends Weekend.
Wright was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Sponsors at Morehouse College for his “Beyond the Dream” series. In April 2007, Wright secured an exclusive sit-down with first lady Laura Bush where she responded to the Virginia Tech massacres, Katrina recovery and the president’s final term. Earlier in 2005, he reported from Tampa, Florida, on the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case. In 2004, Wright spent nearly three months reporting on the developments in Iraq. He was among the first reporters to cover the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal and the subsequent court martial cases held in Baghdad. Wright also spent time embedded with U.S. and British troops, reporting on the military’s humanitarian efforts in Baghdad, Basrah and Mosul and provided coverage on U.S. forces training Iraqi security forces. Additionally, he reported on the historic U.S. handover of sovereignty to Iraq. Beyond Iraq, Wright extensively covered the 2004 presidential election, including the Democratic presidential race, the New Hampshire primary, and the South Carolina primary. In October 2003, he reported live from the Congressional Black Caucus/FNC Democratic presidential candidate debate in Detroit.
Before joining FNC, Wright served as co-anchor of News at Ten at WVBT-TV (FOX) in Norfolk, VA. During his tenure there, he covered a wide range of stories, including a historical event in Benin, West Africa, where African presidents Mathieu Kerekou of Benin, Jerrauld Rawlins of Ghana, and representatives from the United States, England, France and Dominican Republic apologized for their role in slavery.
Previously, Wright served as a weekend news anchor and reporter for WRAL-TV (CBS) in Raleigh, N.C. Wright secured numerous rare interviews, including a 1996 exclusive interview with O.J. Simpson following the criminal court trial.
Wright also served as a general assignment reporter for WWOR-TV (MyNetworkTV) in New York. He reported on numerous high profile newsmakers and events for the station, including John Gotti, Amy Fisher, the Howard Beach and Bensonhurst murder trials and the 1989 Central Park jogger rape case. He began his journalism career in 1977 while serving in the United States Army and has received numerous awards for his reporting, including two local Emmy Awards for his developing, reporting and co-producing a documentary and news series on the transatlantic slave trade.
Wright is a graduate of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Denise Johnson is a 20-year veteran educator, committed to inspiring the world through innovative leadership, community service, and lifelong learning. Presently teaching English Language Arts at a Clayton County Charter school in Atlanta, Georgia, Ms. Johnson’s resume extends from school leader, classroom teacher, instructional coach, writer, and educational consultant to building Academic Solutions and Programs, providing S.T.E.A.M programming and other educational services to independent schools and small businesses. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Morris Brown College, a Master’s degree in Curriculum from Central Michigan University, and Education Leadership certification from the University of West Georgia. She is currently working on her Educational Doctorate at Baylor University.
Grammy-Nominated Maestro Daniel “D.U.B.” Sapp was born and raised in Augusta, GA. Maestro Sapp is widely known for his musical abilities and for his passion and involvement in music education. At the age of eleven Sapp started playing the trumpet and writing/composing original pieces. He quickly realized that music was his calling, now holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Music with a minor in Creative Writing. As a professional musician Sapp gigs with his band The Sounds of Brilliance while maintaining a position as one of the Maestros of Music at the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils where he teaches music theory and performance to children ages 3 – 18. In 2016 Sapp was nominated for the Grammy Music Educators Award while working as the Music Director for three different schools simultaneously.
As a recording artist/producer/songwriter Sapp celebrates the launch of his independent publishing and production company, Brilliant MusiQ. The company’s name was derived from his alias (D.U.B.) for “Don’t Underestimate Brilliance.” Sapp’s musical background spans several genres including classical, jazz, funk, r&b and pop. Naming iconic legends such as Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and James Brown as his inspirations, Maestro Daniel Sapp hopes to soon sit amongst the ranks.
Jeremy manages the logistics of special events ranging from entertainment events, media relations, theater, and a host of other projects created by the foundation.
ANNUAL TURKEY DRIVE
This annual Turkey Drive was established by our father decades ago in Augusta, Georgia. We now duplicate the same event in many communities around the country.
ANNUAL HOLIDAY TOY DRIVE
The Christmas Holiday Toy Drive was another favorite event of our father. The joy on the faces of the children as he handed them their toys was truly a thrill. We now raise enough funds and toy donations to give away multiple gifts to each child!
The James Brown Family Foundation offers a special way of providing extraordinary wishes to youth. It’s a great feeling to put a smile on a child’s face by granting them a wish come true.
In an open environment among teachers, students and volunteers where youth learn an artistry and/or craft or skill through doing.
The NAMM Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry.