It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Frank Brown, one of The Signatry’s founding board members and a dear friend to many of us. Frank passed away late last month. His commitment to generosity and passion for God’s kingdom helped lay the foundation for The Signatry’s success.
“I know God wants me to give to the kingdom.”
Frank’s role in starting The Signatry began because of a problem: as a successful businessman, he wondered if there were other ways to help people with the money he may otherwise have paid in taxes.
“I had been tithing for 28 years, but I knew that God had a plan for the [additional] balance I had been accumulating,” he said.
As he explored charitable giving opportunities through family and community foundations, he and Mark Bainbridge attended a conference in Atlanta, where he was connected with Emmit Mitchell and Bill High, two men seeking to share the gospel in Kansas City. That accidental—better, providential—relationship led to meetings with others who shared a similar goal.
In 1999, Frank, along with Frank Mall and Mark Bainbridge, Bill High, Emmit’s brother Thurman Mitchell (a news anchor in Kansas City), Kansas City philanthropist Pat Lloyd, and several others, spent the next several months working on what would become the Christian Community Foundation of Kansas City, a predecessor of The Signatry. They developed a shared vision for a ministry that would bless the Kansas City area with the love of God.
(Above) Frank Brown describes the faith and friendship that characterize The Signatry’s board of directors.
A Servant Leader
In the 23 years since the foundation was launched, Frank supported our work as Chairman of the Board (2000 – 2010), board member (through 2021), and a partner in prayer. His work on the board helped shepherd The Signatry through several reorganizations, challenges, and transitions.
He is the man who famously said, “I thought if we could get to $10 million, that would be good.” Instead, he was able to see The Signatry surpass $4 billion in grants over the last 23 years.
Even outside of his formal leadership role, Frank championed The Signatry with fervent prayer and deep care for all of our staff members. He often visited our offices in Kansas City for prayer times and offered warmth and encouragement to everyone he encountered.
“Frank … has been a true inspiration to me and has prayed for all of us at one point or another,” shared Lauren Shoener, our Senior Donor Care Specialist. “Frank has shared the gospel with so many, has prayed for The Signatry week after week, and is one of the main reasons we exist as an organization for the kingdom. He is with our sweet savior now!”
Frank Brown’s Legacy of Faith
The $4 billion our foundation has been able to send out into God’s kingdom is only part of Frank’s enduring legacy. His earnest desire to see the gospel reach every person in the world molds our work and each of our lives.
Steve French, President & CEO of The Signatry, said of Frank: “He was not just a colleague, but a close friend to many of us. His faith and reliance on God in every endeavor has been an inspiration, and his generosity with his time and resources set an example for all of us.”
We mourn our loss, but we do not mourn without hope. Frank spent the last few months in constant, intimate conversation with Jesus, and we know that he is now with our savior eternally. All of us at The Signatry give thanks for Frank’s life and legacy, and we ask for prayers for his family.