Local hip-hop poet Bomani Armah works with a Free Minds member.

"Free Minds is a vessel that I've used to better my life and a way for me to give back to the community what I took from it.
Free Minds has been with me all the way through and is committed to me so I'm committed to them for life. Thank you Free Minds!"

- Lamarzs, Age 25


Supporter Profile: Amina Brown

As a former District of Columbia Public School English and Journalism teacher at both the junior high and high school level, Ms. Amina Brown is familiar with the challenges that at-risk, neglected and abandoned youth confront daily. First hand encounters with children orphaned by AIDS, drug addiction, and stories of struggle through extreme poverty--often under a pervasive and unremitting threat of lethal violence--serve as motivation for Ms. Brown’s commitment to education reform and innovative curriculum design. Ms. Brown is currently the Senior Director of Programs for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) where she is charged with helping NFTE DC fulfill its potential as a force for change by building an ever-expanding and increasingly academic strategy leveraging private and public sectors committed to educational excellence and opportunity for all children. In this role, Ms. Brown is responsible for enabling and accelerating NFTE DC’s impact by 1) building partnerships with schools, districts, supporters, government, community organizations, and other education institutions; 2) developing and executing an instructional coaching model that harnessed experience from both MBAs and teachers of mathematics instruction; and 3) supporting the harnessing of STEM, and other critical area education financial streams to enable NFTE’s growth and operations.

Prior to her experience at NFTE, Ms. Brown was an Instructional Performance Coach at Anacostia Senior High School as part of DCPS’ School Turnaround and Restructuring Effort. Prior to this experience, Ms. Brown was a District Literacy Coach/Reading Intervention Program Manager for District of Columbia Public schools via the Office of Curriculum and Instruction. In this capacity she was responsible for working collaboratively with school-based instructional coaches to demonstrate best practices in reading intervention and literacy. This work included modeling, co-teaching, co-planning for and observing both teachers and coaches. Additionally, she was responsible for creating training materials, lesson plans, and Web-based resources to assist teachers with instruction; and, for establishing professional development and teacher training seminars all aimed at guiding effective teaching that integrated best practices in literary development.

Ms. Brown’s experiences as a high school English teacher and as a District curriculum manager and literacy instructional coach have afforded her the ability to examine and contribute to the fundamental structures, policies and institutions that influence teacher quality and high impact instruction. Ms. Brown has consistently aligned herself with the goal of maximizing teacher quality in high-needs schools. She finds inspiration in the hard work, talent and impact of America’s best educators and subsequently has undertaken a range of professional activities to increase the concentration and effectiveness of teachers in high-need schools. Ms. Brown holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Syracuse University and Master’s degree from the American University in Journalism and Public Affairs and is certified in International Baccalaureate World Literature; Advanced Placement Language and Composition and Adult Literacy. Ms. Brown is native Washingtonian.

She had this to say about Free Minds:

“Free Minds is more than an organization; it is a youth intervention model. First hand encounters with young men who have blazed paths that are, in many cases, appealing or ostensibly necessary to the youth we serve offer more credibility and more cause for pause than any pedantic or academic median. These young men embrace responsibility and should be measured not by what they’ve done, but what they are doing.

“Free Minds is a perfect partner to any organization whose mission is to work with low-income, disaffected youth. Free Minds gives selflessly the most priceless gift of life which is the ability to learn from mistakes. More often than not incarceration breaks the soul of a man, but in their cases it has sharpened their moral core and transformed them into pillars of principle that in the face of desperate situations and unnerving temptaion they dare to look toward the future and all of its vast possibilities, rather than become victims of present circumstance and all of its shortsighted calamity.”

Learn more about Amina’s work at www.nfte.org.




We are so grateful for the generosity of both the individuals and institutions who make our work possible. Free Minds receives and has received financial support from the following foundations:

Aliza Family Foundation
Ballard Spahr LLP
Capitol Hill Community Foundation
Commonweal Foundation Fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
Compassion Capital Fund's Communities Empowering Youth Program
Crowell & Moring Foundation
Daughters of the American Revolution (Eleanor Wilson Chapter)
DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
The District of Columbia Daughters of the American Revolution, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
Dealy Foundation
Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
The Fullen-Smith Foundation
The Global Fund for Children
Harman Family Foundation
The Herb Block Foundation
The Jovid Foundation
Lainoff Family Foundation
Mental Wellness Foundation
Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
National Book Foundation
New York Avenue Foundation
Philip L. Graham Fund
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Ronald McDonald Foundation House Charities® Global
Ronald McDonald Foundation House Charities® of Greater Washington D.C.
Ruddie Memorial Youth Foundation
Share Fund
Snave Foundation
SPARC Foundation, George Washington University
The SuPau Trust Private Foundation
United Way of the National Capital Area

Free Minds thanks Mr. Thomas Faust, Director of the DC Department of Corrections, Deputy Director Carolyn Cross, Warden Gregory Futch, Reverend Betty Green, Correctional Institutional Administrator for Programs Latoya Lane, and Public Information Officer Sylvia Lane, as well as Correctional Treatment Facility staff Warden Isaac Johnston, Assistant Warden and Public Information Officer Walter Fulton, Reverend Kenneth Napper, and all of the dedicated staff at both facilities who continually support our program. We are also grateful to the staff and teachers of the DCPS Incarcerated Youth Program, led by Principal Ms. Soncyree Lee.

A Fair Chance Partner