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Robert S. Browne, at 79; founder of black philanthropies

TEANECK, N.J. -- Robert S. Browne, founder and chairman of the Twenty-First Century Foundation and founder of two other black philanthropic groups, died of heart failure Aug. 5 at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, N.Y.

He was 79.

"He was a person of great vision," Erica Hunt, executive director of the Twenty-First Century Foundation in New York, said Tuesday.

Mr. Browne, a Teaneck resident, founded the Black Economic Research Center in 1969.

Two years later, he founded the Emergency Land Fund, a loan source for black farmers in the South; and the Twenty-First Century Foundation, she said.

His careers included government service, university professor, and social activist.

He was with the US Agency for International Development in Cambodia from 1955 to 1958, and in Vietnam from 1958 to 1961. He met the woman who would become his wife, Huoi Nguyen, while in Cambodia.

Upon returning to the United States, he wrote and spoke against the nation's policies toward Vietnam.

He served as executive director of the African Development Bank in Ivory Coast from 1980 to 1982.

From 1982 to 1985, he was senior research fellow of African studies at Howard University in Washington.

He was staff director from 1986 to 1991 of the House Subcommittee on International Development Institutions.

Robert Span Browne was born Aug. 17, 1924, to William H. and Julia Browne in Chicago.

He got his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in 1944 and his master of business administration degree in finance from the University of Chicago in 1947.

He leaves his wife and four children.

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