Denise Brown, Co-Founder and President
The Nicole Brown Foundation is a non-profit national advocacy organization against domestic violence. Our primary purpose is to bring awareness, education and inspiration to our communities.
On June 12, 1994, the Brown family lost their daughter and sister, Nicole Brown Simpson, to domestic violence.
Shortly after this tragedy occurred, Lou Brown, Nicole's father, established a foundation in his daughter's name. The Nicole Brown Foundation was established on November 30, 1994, to provide urgently needed funding to battered women shelters across the country. The Brown family immersed themselves in the education of the cycle of violence. They approached a local women's shelter which gave them fact sheets and suggested books to read.
However, the real education began when they visited shelters and met with the women and children and learned firsthand of their experiences; they witnessed their physical, mental and emotional pain and fear. It was during these encounters that they knew their lives would never be the same; it would take on a new meaning and purpose.
Since 1995, Denise Brown, Nicole's sister, has continued to raise awareness and educate our communities on domestic violence by speaking and supporting women's shelters, schools, hospitals, prisons and corporate venues across the country.
Over the years, the Foundation has hosted high profile events, sponsored local events and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds which were donated to shelters all across the United States.
The Nicole Brown Foundation has worked to help pass a variety of legislative solutions for domestic violence. One of its most important projects was to lobby on behalf of the Violence against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA). This Act is a U.S. federal law that provided $1.6 billion to enhance investigation and criminal prosecution of the violent crime perpetrated against women, increased pre-trial detention of the accused, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted. VAWA was drafted by Senator Joe Biden's office with support from a number of advocacy organizations.
Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania contacted Ms. Brown and asked for her assistance on a portion of the VAWA bill that was being stalled in committee in the U.S. Senate. With a potential slashing of its federal allocation to domestic violence services, Denise Brown testified to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for increased funding for the Violence against Women Act. After her testimony, that portion of the bill's funding was increased from $18 million to $32 million.