Born on opposite sides of the globe, Art and Tiia Brown shared an immigrant experience that sparked their generous legacy of strengthening communities.
As a girl, Tiia fled the tumult of WWII in Estonia with only her family and the clothes on her back. For seven years, she lived in Sweden until the threat of the Korean War motivated her family to make another international move, this time to the small town of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Here, Tiia enrolled in physical therapy school and began her lifelong ambition to help people.
Soon after graduating, Tiia put her skills to work assisting another recent immigrant: Art, an injured mining engineer from South Africa. Tiia’s nurturing care helped Art recover from his injuries, and soon thereafter, he was walking her down the aisle at their wedding.
In 1967, the couple made their first immigration together, arriving in the United States for Art to take a job opportunity with Hecla Mining Company in Wallace, Idaho. In the following years, they put down roots in Idaho, adding three girls to the family, achieving U.S. citizenship and enjoying the abundance of skiing, camping and outdoor activities.
Rising through the ranks, Art retired as the CEO of Hecla with a desire to give back to the community that made his family’s dreams possible.
To achieve this vision, the couple established the Arthur & Tiia Brown Fund for Safe Passage at Innovia. A violence prevention center, Safe Passage offers resources, support and crisis intervention for adults and children affected by domestic and sexual violence in North Idaho. As a permanently endowed fund, Arthur and Tiia’s gift will sustain Safe Passage programs for years to come, including a 24-hour crisis line, emergency shelter, advocacy work and community education.
By investing in the work of Safe Passage, their fund will create more vibrant and sustainable futures for those who need it most. Art passed away earlier this year, but Tiia, when asked about the inspiration behind their generosity, pointed to the values of their Christian faith. Together, they simply knew no other way to live than to share the successes of their life with others.