Most people in St. Louis remember Dana Brown for his ubiquitous local television commercials in which he promoted his successful coffee company; his commercials often featured film footage that he shot during his extensive African safaris. He even used the footage to create documentaries for the local public television station.
But when he wasn’t traveling the globe and building his business, he could often be found at the Saint Louis Zoo. “Dana loved the outdoors and wildlife, and wildlife education was one of his passions,” says David Diener, Wealth Management Advisor with The Private Client Reserve.
That passion manifested itself in quiet but significant philanthropy during his lifetime. After his death
in 1994 at age 89, Dana designated the bulk of his estate to create the Dana Brown Charitable Trust, a funding agency designed to support the local community causes—from animals to health to education—that he was most committed to during his life. U.S Bank is a Trustee of the trust.
Perhaps one of the most extraordinary gifts by the trust came in 2009, when it provided a $3 million gift to the Saint Louis Zoo to create the world’s first endowment for a zoo president and CEO. The gift funds the zoo’s professional position and will continue to do so in perpetuity.
Diener says that the team has been able to make the most of the trust’s goals in part through getting to know and deeply understanding the local nonprofit community. From one-time gifts to multi-year and challenge grants, the trust has used an array of financial tools to help get positive results.
“Our goal is to carry forth Dana’s philanthropic wishes,” says Curtis Searcy, St. Louis Market Leader with The Private Client Reserve. “We are proud to assist in the Dana Brown Charitable Trust’s ability to have such a positive, lasting impact on the St. Louis community.”
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