Elizabeth W. Brooks
Charles H. Wright Museum
Of African American History
Elizabeth “Betty” W. Brooks is a patron of the arts, a tireless community services leader, and an avid writer and speaker. She writes inspirational poetry and is a columnist for a local newspaper.
Brooks is a member of the board of directors of the Michigan Opera Theatre and the Michigan Humanity Council. She is chair of the board of directors of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Brooks is also currently on the Josephine Ford Cancer Center Council of Advisors; Southeastern Michigan Partners Against Cancer (SEMPAC); and the Detroit Jazz Festival.
Brooks is past president of the Michigan Opera Theater Volunteers Association. She is a past member of the board of directors of the Detroit Institute of Arts; the Detroit Historical Museum; the National Kidney Foundation; and the Wayne County Community College Education First Foundation. She is also past chair of the Barat Child and Family Services; past advisory committee member for the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan; and past vice chair of the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts. She is past chair of the board of directors of the Sphinx Organization.
Brooks has served as chair of the Margaret Garner World Premier Committee, working to raise $1.2 million in support of the opera, and helped to raise $1 million for David DiChiera’s Opera Cyrano. Brooks has also served as chair for fundraising events for the Motown Museum and the UNCF Ebony Fashion Fair and Scholarship Ball.
Brooks was appointed by Gov. John Engler to three terms as a member of the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs. Brooks is chair of the Council for African American Dance at the Detroit Opera House. She was also chair of the UNCF Diamond Scholars Ball for 2008 and 2009. She also served as a past opera panelist for Opera America.
Brooks was selected board member of the year for 1998 by the Michigan Federation of Private Child and Family Agencies. She is the recipient of many service awards including the Appreciation Award from the American Cancer Society, the 1999 Champion of Hope Award from the National Kidney Foundation; the Shirley Chisholm Award of Recognition as the 1997 Woman of the Year; and the Distinguished Chairman Award from Detroit Public Schools for the 1997 Dance Theatre of Harlem, Residency Program; Life Directions Inc – Life Time Achievement Award for 1997; and the Award of Distinction presented by Opera America in recognition of the outstanding support of Michigan Opera Theater for 2005. She has also received recognition from Archbishop Cardinal Adam Maida for Outstanding Volunteerism and Service; and a Special Tribute of Honor and Recognition from Gov. John Engler and the State of Michigan for active support and devoted time, talents and energy in volunteerism. Also, she has received the Dr. Alan Locke Award; the American Business Women’s Association Community Involvement Award; the Phenomenon Woman Award; and the 7th annual UNCF Mayor’s Ball Philanthropic Endeavor Award. In 2008 she received the Detroit Urban League’s Distinguished Warriors Award and the Michigan Chronicle’s Women of Excellence Award.