Last November, Ottawa lost a great champion of non-profit sector when Phil Brown passed away.
While not all readers will know of Phil from his work as a development project manager to the not-for-profit sector, many who live in non-profit or co-op housing and anyone who has entered a community health centre in eastern Ontario in the last 20 years have (unknowingly) benefited from his expertise. The health centres in Sandy Hill, Centretown, the two facilities in Somerset West are just a few of his accomplishments.
Phil’s professional life was devoted to improving the community.
He worked as an urban planner for several municipalities and as a housing developer for cooperative, non-profit and urban native projects in Northern Ontario before finally landing in Ottawa in 1986 where he helped develop co-op housing for the Eastern Ontario Co-operative Federation.
In 1989, along with Joanne Jackson, his partner in life as well as business, he established Jackson Brown Associates. Phil and Joanne set the gold standard for development consultant work providing project management and development consulting services to numerous affordable and co-operative housing sponsors, community health centres, social service organizations and government agencies. His enthusiasm and dedication to his clients were unparalleled.
Phil’s passion for social justice and the community sector carried into his personal life as well.
He served on the board of many housing groups, health care centres, social service agencies and even a credit union. Phil was a board member of Cahdco from 1999 until 2005, only leaving the board when he was appointed to the City’s Committee of Adjustment where he served five of 10 years, as the chair of the three Committee of Adjustment panels. Being a professional planner, a development project manager and a great believer in active adjudication, he was an excellent chair, never hesitating to send opposing delegations out of the room to discuss their differences or attempting to craft an acceptable comprise on the floor of the hearing.
Phil’s entrepreneurial spirit, passion, expertise and leadership will be sorely missed but he leaves a proud legacy. The Somerset West Community Health Centre board room will be named after Phil. We can all honour his legacy by sending kind thoughts to his family and by helping to make our communities better places to live.