He expressed his unconditional love for humankind through photography, writing, art and music. For Philip J. “Phil” Braun, artistic expression was just one way of giving back to the community he loved so dearly.
Born and raised in Flint, Phil learned the value of “giving forward” by his father’s example and from other community leaders whom he had known and admired. In Faces, one of several books he published, Phil shares the stories of several Genesee County leaders who made an impact on his life.
“He made a garden of friends and family,” says son Mark. He guarded, nourished, and harvested that garden his whole life.”
As a community leader, Phil Braun nourished and supported organizations like the YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint, Downtown Kiwanis Club, Mott Children’s Health Center, United Way of Genesee County, and the Flint Northern Alumni Association. Through charitable remainder trusts, Phil established four Funds at the Community Foundation that benefit the causes he cared about most – mental health, the Flint Cultural Center Corporation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint, and the Community Foundation.
The Philip J. and Sally J. Braun Fund for Mental Health supports community needs in the area of mental health. Established in 2009, the Fund awards grants to such organizations as Whaley Children’s Center, Hurley Foundation, Priority Children, and Ennis Center for Children.
When Whaley Children’s Center needed funding for an additional case manager, the Braun Fund met the need. Throughout the year, about 90 children call Whaley their home. “The funding will enhance the case management services to better address the mental health needs of our children,” said Mindy Prusa, President and CEO.
When he passed away at age 89, Phil Braun ensured that his charitable legacy would be a for good, forever story that would inspire other leaders for generations to come.