Brooks Education Foundation
A Partnership between OES and the Brooks Education Foundation to provide financial assistance to an OES student via a Brooks Education Foundation award.
Tammy Brooks ’86 said that going to OES was one of the best experiences of her life. Her older brother, Tim, and she were both boarding students and immediately felt at home.
“The OES dorms quickly provided a sense of camaraderie and family all at the same time,” shared Brooks. “The resident advisors were extremely welcoming, and made sure that everybody felt like they belonged. There are so many different types of people at OES, it’s almost like a social experiment where everyone accepts each other for who they are. And there was always something going on—going to a Winterhawks game, playing ping-pong, chatting during study hall. It was a sense of being in the moment with everyone.”
While attending OES, Brooks and her brother kept in close touch with their family in Bandon, Oregon, including their father, Dave Brooks, who was always busy. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to build boats, run a gardening store, and expand his own cranberry-growing business to consulting on how to raise cranberries in Chile. As he began to experience age-related health challenges, Dave Brooks started thinking about where he might want to share the fruits of his labor.
“A bank account isn’t what he wanted to leave behind,” Brooks said. “My father wanted to do something meaningful.” Dave Brooks talked with his family about creating a foundation or a non-profit organization, possibly related to education.
“My father didn’t get a formal education himself because he felt he needed to work rather than take the time to study,” Brooks said. “He self-educated himself in his business ventures. He used the public library. He met with people and soaked in all the wisdom he could from them. But he did think at some point, maybe it would have been easier if he’d gone to school.”
Most importantly, added Brooks, “My father always said, ‘An education is something no one can take away from you. Once you have that knowledge and experience, it’s yours.’”
Brooks had a specific idea for her father’s legacy. She’s worked for the Oregon Department of Human Services for 29 years and has seen challenges young people face. “I meet a lot of bright kids who are struggling, who could really use a chance to get a better education,” Brooks said.
“I asked my dad: what if we combined our ideas and created a scholarship program at OES for boarding students, and, in particular, youth who are affected by child welfare or are experiencing homelessness and/or family instability,” Brooks said.
Dave Brooks liked that idea and, with the help of the Advancement and Admissions departments at OES, the Brooks’ vision became a reality. The first student to benefit from the Brooks Foundation scholarship came to OES in fall 2022, and they are thriving in the dorm program. Brooks and her father continue to reach out to communities across Oregon to introduce OES to more students who will contribute to, and benefit from, our community.
“In this way, my father is making an investment in the future,” Brooks said. “When you are creating a legacy, you want it to be in a community that inspires, educates, nurtures, and fulfills students, and does it in such a way that they can hold onto that and go out into the world and spread it.”
“My own OES experience made the world so much bigger,” Brooks added. “It allowed me to interact with different people, explore various cultures, and experience new thoughts and beliefs. It opened my heart and my eyes. Knowing that my dad and I can help more students have that experience is a great feeling.”
To learn more about the Brooks Education Foundation and its support of youth affected by child welfare, homelessness, and/or family instability, visit http://brookseducationfdn.org.