Andrea Louise King Brown, 76, a former social worker who held leadership positions at the Philadelphia Education Fund, Health Partners of Philadelphia, and the YWCA of Germantown, died Dec. 30 of a heart attack at her East Mount Airy home.
Ms. Brown served on the board of the Uptown Entertainment and Development Corp., and was its chair for a time.
In the 1970s, she was director of Community Concern #13 Multipurpose Learning Center (CC#13), a nonprofit in North Philadelphia that provided preschool for children and adult classes for their parents.
Ms. Brown turned CC#13 into a hub for community empowerment that also had a housing program, a food co-op and a credit union, her family said.
Her career was consistent with Ms. Brown’s personality, said her niece, Benita Williams. She said her aunt was constantly helping others.
“She was like a mother to me,” Williams said. “She was always bubbly and upbeat. She tried to do everything for everybody. She wanted to see African Americans rise up and do well.”
Early in her career, she worked for the Rev. Leon Sullivan at the Opportunity Industrialization Center (OIC), and also as a caseworker for the Department of Human Services.
About this time, Ms. Brown became involved with the Venceremos Brigade, an organization that recruits and trains volunteers to work in solidarity with postrevolutionary Cuba, harvesting sugar cane or constructing houses and hospitals.
During the summer of 1975, she spent nine weeks in Cuba and returned “even more inspired to develop community-based ways to better serve Philadelphia communities,” her family said.
Most recently, Ms. Brown was director of operations for the Philadelphia Education Fund, where she worked from 1997 until she retired in July 2008. The foundation provides college access programs and other educational services to Philadelphia public school students.
Earlier, Ms. Brown was director of community relations for Health Partners for five years, executive director of the YWCA of Germantown for five years, and director of CC#13 Multipurpose Learning Center for 11 years.
As head of the learning center, Ms. Brown was a passionate “worker bee,” said Rochelle Nichols-Solomon, a former program coordinator:
“She was a roll-up-the-sleeves leader who wasn’t just telling others to do the work, but she was deeply involved in the work also.”
She also enjoyed life.
“When I think of Andrea, I hear her laughter,” Nichols-Solomon said. “She had an infectious laugh. She enjoyed parties and loved dancing. She would want us to come together, to talk, to share good food, share stories and have laughter.”
Another friend, Barbara Easley-Cox, recalled her as “a little drop of sunshine.”
Ms. Brown, Easley-Cox, and Nichols-Solomon were part of a cultural group called “Sisters Remember Malcolm” that held annual observances of Malcolm X’s birthday for more than a decade.
In 1990, the women got on a bus to the United Nations to hear Nelson Mandela speak after he spent 27 years in a South African prison for antiapartheid activities.
Andrea King Brown, known as “Andy” to her family and close friends, was born in Philadelphia in November 1944 to Zinzinita Lottie Green King and John Andrew King Jr. She was the second of four children in the family.
Ms. Brown demonstrated leadership at an early age, relatives said.
As a preteen, she organized Saturday night dances at neighbors’ homes, supervised by parents.
After graduating from the Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1962, Ms. Brown earned a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from Pennsylvania State University, becoming the first in her family to graduate college.
At Penn State, she joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and served as president of the chapter there. She later received a master’s in social work administration from Temple University.
Ms. Brown was married briefly to George Brown. They divorced.
Ms. Brown later had two daughters as a single woman.
In addition to her niece, Ms. Brown is survived by daughters, Halima and Niambi; a sister, two brothers and other relatives and friends.
The family hopes to have a traditional memorial service and a party where friends can laugh and have a good time at a later date.