Sylvia Brown Smart Donors

Smarter Donors,

Better Outcomes

Leveraging her family’s 300-year philanthropic legacy and her 25 years’ experience in international development, Sylvia Brown, CAP® is a passionate advocate of thoughtful and effective giving by ALL donors.

Donor Education

Empowering Individuals to Make Effective Giving Decisions

Self-directed virtual courses to create a personal charitable giving roadmap.

Workshops and Train-the-Trainer Sessions

For advisors and their clients to better use Smart Donors...Make a Difference materials and resources.

Uplifting Journeys

Immersive donor education programs to learn the principles of thoughtful and effective giving.

Thought Leadship


Targeted research on a much overlooked and underserved demographic: MidLevel donors who give between $2,000 and $20,000.


Sylvia is delighted to speak with groups eager for purpose and impact , particularly individuals who make their own giving decisions.

Grappling With Legacy

Rhode Island’s Brown Family and the American Philanthropic Impulse.

What fuels a family’s compulsion to philanthropy?

When Sylvia Brown’s father handed much of his inheritance to Brown University in 1995, the gesture maintained a 300-year family philanthropic tradition.

Less than a decade later, at the inaugural symposium of the University’s Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, one speaker declared “there were no good Browns.”

Grappling With Legacy was born of the juxtaposition between these starkly opposed perspectives.

Against Rhode Island’s distinctive backdrop, this family saga mirrors America’s evolving urge to do good, providing fresh perspectives on times surprisingly akin to the present.