LAVANDA BROWN, M.ED
Meet our executive director
LaVanda Brown joined YWCA Greater Charleston as executive director in February 2016, bringing more than 20 years of experience, leadership, and a passion for serving to the organization.
During her decades of on-the-ground experience in social services focused on underserved populations, she has led and advised multiple nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including Family Promise of Greater Savannah, Union Mission, Greenbriar Children’s Center, Gang Alternatives of Miami, Clarke Community Services in New Orleans, and others in the behavioral health, employment, and community services arenas.
A passionate advocate for causes including gender equality, diversity, and racial equity, and a strong ally of under-resourced teens and homeless populations, she envisions a world where differences are not just tolerated but celebrated. "The mission of the YWCA is one that is very much in line with my personal mission of empowering women and celebrating differences," she says.
During her career, LaVanda has developed strategic plans resulting in more positive community interventions, created a homeless case management system, developed a life skills curriculum, designed an after-care program to help the homeless transition to independence, and instituted permanent supportive housing for homeless adults and families.
Her work has garnered awards including the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Best Practices Award for Transitional Housing and Case Management, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Magnolia Award for Excellence in Housing. She was also the 2018 recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Picture Award for outstanding community service, presented by Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and South Carolina Rep. Wendell Gilliard.
LaVanda currently also serves as the housing subcommittee chair for the Mayor’s Commission on Homelessness and Affordable Housing, and serves on the board of Enough Pie, an organization dedicated to improving Charleston’s upper peninsula.
She holds a dual bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology from Wesleyan College and a master's degree in counseling from Georgia Southern University.
ON A MISSION