LaVanda Brown

Executive Director, YWCA Greater Charleston

LaVanda Brown joined YWCA Greater Charleston as executive director in February 2016. Her experience, leadership, and passion for serving others span 30 years.   

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 YWCA is one that is very much in line with my personal mission of empowering women and celebrating differences,” she says. 

Her work has garnered awards, including the 2021 Trident Literacy Founder’s Award, 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 and was named to Charleston Business magazine’s 2020 and 2021 Top 50 most Influential list and its 2022 Hall of Fame.

LaVanda currently serves on the board of Enough Pie, an organization dedicated to improving Charleston’s upper peninsula, a founding board member of Family Promise Greater Charleston, which provides supportive services to end and prevent family homelessness, and she serves on the leadership council of the Social Justice Racial Equity Collaborative in Charleston.

LaVanda holds a dual bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Wesleyan College and a master’s degree in counseling from Georgia Southern University. Is the proud mother of Ethan Jeremiah and Emmanuel Joseph and grandmother of Canaan Gregory and Summer Reign, and Autumn Knight.