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Roseville, Calif.- Helping residents achieve their dreams and build a better future for themselves and their families are the foundation of the JB Brown Fund, a grassroots organization that has assisted hundreds of low-income residents living in USA Properties Fund Inc. communities.

From college students who have endured numerous challenges – from balancing full-time work, motherhood and school, to the death of a family member – to families dealing with a financial hardship such as a medical emergency, the JB Brown Fund has been giving a helping hand to residents since 2011.

The JB Brown Fund, a philanthropic effort between USA Properties Fund and LifeSTEPS, will celebrate the accomplishments of these residents-including some who will share their emotional stories-during an Open House 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Rocklin Event Center, 2650 Sunset Blvd.

The JB Brown Fund has reached a record $180,000 in donations and pledges from corporations and individuals during the past nine months, and has raised more than $775,000 since 2011. Three of every five dollars donated are earmarked for college scholarships.

So far, the JB Brown Fund has awarded college scholarships to 34 students attending community colleges and four-year universities this year. The fund has awarded 44 scholarships (students can receive two scholarships per year) worth a total of $109,600 in 2016 – and 145 scholarships during the past five years.

“We’re committed to helping our USA Properties residents build a better future,” said Geoff Brown, President of USA Properties Fund. “A college education has become such a hard-to-reach goal for so many families, but it’s critical to have a degree for many professions.”

Scholarship recipients and residents receiving financial assistance live in affordable family and senior communities – from the Bay Area and Sacramento region to San Diego County — owned and managed by USA Properties and where LifeSTEPS provides social services to residents.

The JB Brown Fund awarded eight scholarships, worth thousands of dollars, making college possible for Angelique Boyi, one of four recipients who have completed four-year degrees during the past year. In May, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences with an emphasis on Occupational Safety from California State University, Sacramento.

Boyi lost most of her family, including her father, in the Rwandan genocide and moved to the United States to escape the violence of her native country.

“It’s been such a blessing to have the JB Brown Fund and LifeSTEPS,” said Boyi, a wife and mother of two young sons. “It has opened a lot of doors.”

And that’s the goal behind the JB Brown Fund.

“College is a challenge under the best of circumstances,” said Beth Southorn, Executive Director of LifeSTEPS. The Fair Oaks-based organization provides social services at many USA Properties Fund communities in the state. “Many of our residents are faced with extraordinary circumstances and scholarships help ease some of the financial burden.”

Brown and Southorn established the JB Brown Fund during a drive from the Burbank airport to a meeting in Southern California in 2011. The JB Brown Fund is named after the founder of USA Properties, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.

“My father strongly believed in education, and we want to make sure that is possible by offering scholarships to many of our residents,” Brown said.

The JB Brown Fund also offers financial assistance to families and seniors. Almost 60 clients and families received financial assistance from the JB Brown Fund this year, helping with everything from new glasses to new tires.

USA Properties community managers and LifeSTEPS counselors identify families and seniors who need financial assistance due to extraordinary circumstances, such as the death of family member or an unexpected major expense. Families who receive assistance must complete a financial counseling program, encouraging them to cut spending and save money, when possible.

“It’s not a handout, but a helping hand,” Brown said. “We give them the financial assistance they need to get through a difficult period and the tools to help them prepare for financial emergencies down the road.”

The JB Brown also provides youth sports scholarships, allowing children to participate in sports, from Little League to soccer. The JB Brown has issued 124 scholarships this year – and 377 since the fund started.

“Children learn so much from participating in sports, from developing leadership skills to teamwork,” Brown said. “It’s also important for children to remain active and healthy.”

Just ask Elijah and Issac, who prefer martial arts to traditional team sports. The 12 and 9-year-old brothers, respectively, have benefited greatly from their youth sports scholarships.

“Martial arts have been great for them,” said Melissa McGuirk, adding the balance, commitment and focus have helped her sons. “It’s helped with their confidence and independence. They are truly excited about it.”

Of course, the help – the college and youth sports scholarships as well as the family and senior financial assistance – is only available thanks to generous donations.

If you’re interested in donating or leaning more about the JB Brown Fund, please call 916-865-3988.

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