Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown Biography
Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, who spent years helping the less fortunate through community activism, is dedicated to helping the most vulnerable residents of the 190th Legislative District and improving the economy of West and North Philadelphia.
The 190th Legislative District encompasses the communities of Belmont, Carroll Park, Cathedral Park, Mill Creek, Haddington, East Parkside, West Powelton, Strawberry Mansion, Allegheny West and Lehigh West.
Her commitment to the less fortunate is reflected by her service on the Children & Youth and Health committees, as well as the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Advisory Board. Rep. Lowery Brown also serves on the Tourism & Recreational Development, Urban Affairs and Policy committees.
She regularly reaches out to the elders in her legislative district through "Senior Salute," breakfast meetings and holds events to help improve her constituents' quality of life, such as seminars on shopping for an electricity provider.
In her first term in office, Rep. Lowery Brown was instrumental in securing $2 million in grants to help the health of her constituents and to improve recreation.
Her work led to Spectrum Services receiving a $1 million grant to expand the Haddington Health Center, which provides a complete range of medical services to residents, regardless of their ability to pay.
She also helped secure $1 million for "SMITH: The Kids Play Place in the Park," a historic playhouse and playground for children opened in the 19th century in Fairmount Park. The playhouse and playground had fallen into disrepair because of lack of funds.
Also in her first term, Lowery Brown founded the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Urban Sustainability Caucus. The caucus, which she chairs, is a vehicle to discuss innovations that can help sustain Pennsylvania's cities and to educate the public about them.
She was first sworn into office on Jan. 6, 2009. She won re-election and was sworn in for a second term on Jan. 4, 2011. She is the first woman to represent the 190th Legislative District.
The daughter of Edith and Clifton Lowery, a homicide detective with the Philadelphia Police Department, she worked in her family's restaurant and carry-out business where she learned that strong local businesses make stronger communities.
She has worked tirelessly as a community organizer and in other community endeavors for many organizations. Before her election to the state House, she was a community organizer for the West Philadelphia Coalition. Prior to taking that position in 2006, she volunteered her services to the Coalition, organizing such activities as the annual holiday dinner and assisting with other initiatives. As a community organizer in the Parent Volunteers Program, Rep. Lowery Brown recruited parents to volunteer in their children's schools and assisted with parent training, including developing and coordinating training on financial literacy. She also served as liaison between the coalition and the school to support the school's participation in the program and resolve any problems that occurred.
Her broad and varied experience as a community activist and advocate has enhanced the ability of West Philadelphia community based organizations to serve their constituencies. She worked as the community outreach specialist at a shelter for homeless women and children; led the Mothers on the Move Committee at the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, and was a representative for the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support. She also chairs the Community Policing Committee of the Weed and Seed Project.
She is very proud of her record of volunteering and has worked with the following organizations: Community Council for Mental Health and Mental Retardation; East Africa Recourse and Study Center; and Philadelphia Weed and Seed. She is a national speaker for the Center for Community Change, a Judge of Elections and a committeewoman for Philadelphia's 44th Ward; and a block captain for the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee.
With a teenage son in high school, Rep. Lowery Brown is actively involved in education issues, both in his school and in the school district. An advocate for self-improvement and empowerment, she studied math at Howard University. She also attended the Community College of Philadelphia as a participant in the New Choices New Options Program.
Among her many accolades, she is the recipient of the National Organization for Women's 2008 Outstanding Community Service Award; the 2007 Dwelling Place Worship Center Destiny Maker Award; the 2005 University of Pennsylvania Martin Luther King Community Service Award; the 2004 Million Woman March Association Activist of the Year Award; the 2004 Philadelphia Operation Town Watch Honor for the 16th District Town Watch; and the 1996 Spring School of the Arts Vernon S. Porter Award for Community Service.
She received the 2009 Good Samaritan Award from Women in Partnership with God, an award from the Nehemiah Davis Foundation in 2009, the Distinguished Leadership award for commitment to higher education in 2009 from the Community College of Philadelphia and the 2009 New Choices New Options Shiny Star of the Year Award.
In 2010, she was recognized by the Young Haitian Professionals for philanthropy and by HUB Coalition Inc. for financial support to build a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.