For the Betterment of LGBTQ+ Youth: The McCauley-Brown Fund

Categories: Donor Story,

Editor's Note: As charitable giving continues to define our region’s growth and spirit, we will be sharing stories of our remarkable donors, past and present, who have entrusted us with their hopes, dreams, and visions for a better future. These individuals believed in the power of giving to others to strengthen our community with their timeless gifts, both during her lifetime and in the future. This story is dedicated to the memory of Richard "Dick" McCauley and Clayton Brown, whose efforts to better the lives of sexual minority youth have transformed into a legacy of love and empowement.

The McCauley-Brown Fund and its scholarship fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County reflect the bond between Richard “Dick” McCauley and Clayton Brown.

Their shared commitment to better the lives of sexual minority youth empowers the funds to support human rights activities, public awareness, education, and programs designed to develop self-esteem in sexual minority youth and to eliminate hate and fear.

Richard John McCauley (1927-2009)

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Richard John McCauley served in the U.S. Coast Guard prior to earning a degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Minnesota. This education led him to become the head of Occupational Therapy Department in Cleveland, Ohio. After a successful career in Occupational Therapy and as a United Nations scholar, he retired to Sarasota in the early 1990s.

Ever since his arrival in Sarasota, he gave of himself in countless charitable organizations and did so with a joyous heart. Among his early contributions were his support and personal involvement in the development of ALSO Youth, which recognizes the needs of LGBT youth in our community. He was deeply involved in funding the building of homes for the Habitat for Humanity. Because of his generosity the Richard McCauley Center at the Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center was dedicated to him. He was also deeply devoted to the arts in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

A love of travel and adventure took him around the world four times. He sought adventure in the Antarctic and remote African villages, as well as the Asian mountain peaks in Tibet. His home was a museum of massive collection of art, sculpture, furniture and artifacts garnered from around the world. He loved meeting and learning from different groups and cultures. When asked what his favorite trip was, he would say, "My favorite trip is always my next one."

Clayton Brown (1923-2004)

Born in Jerseyville Illinois, Clayton Brown grew up with a deep appreciation for the arts. Like McCauley, Brown served in the U.S. military (12th Army headquarters) before beginning his education in design. With the Chicago Art Institute as his alma mater, he went on to own a design firm in Chicago and Sarasota, as well as a realty company in Illinois. He would later move to Siesta Key in 1982.

The McCauley-Brown Fund

From its first gift in 1999 to its first grant in 2009, the McCauley-Brown Fund was created for the betterment of sexual minority youth in the Sarasota-Bradenton community via grants to qualified charitable organizations that support and assist these very same youth. Since its inception, the McCauley-Brown Fund has awarded 134 grants totaling more than $866,000. Recent initiatives suppported include:

  • ALSO Youth to support costs associated with its COVID-19 Reopening Plan.
  • CAN Community Health to support pregnancy, STD, and HIV testing as well as curriculum and program materials for the Youth CAN program.
  • Harvey Milk Festival to provide assistance for the #Wesupport campaign, LGBTQ Inclusion & Diversity training.

As a reflection of McCauley and Brown's appreciation for education and the opportunities it opens, The McCauley-Brown Scholarship Fund has awarded 71 scholarships to LGBTQ+ students, support that totals some $411,000.

McCauley Brown Scholarship recipients stand alongside review committee volunteers at a scholarship reception in 2014. From right to left: Edward Town (vounteer), Taylor Melenedy (recipient), Hunter Carpenter (recipient), and Ken Shelin (volunteer).

In the words of McCauley: "I think giving is fun. Give something now because it will make you feel good while you are still alive, and leave a legacy that will make the world better for someone who comes after you. Get out of yourself and into the world."

Read more stories from charitable individuals and families, both past and present.

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