Colorado Springs native Terrell Brown grew up in the Hillside neighborhood and graduated from Palmer High School. He was a pretty good basketball player, and decided to take his shot at Division I.

“I went to three colleges in four years,” he recalled. “Started at South Dakota, then transferred to Otero Junior College in La Junta, and finished up at Montana State-Bozeman.”

Brown earned first team all Region 9 honors at Otero, and captained Montana State in 2015. He graduated in 2016 with a degree in marketing, but also learned from basketball.

“Teamwork, work ethic — you learn that in basketball,” he said. “I thought I could use that knowledge to pay it forward, just as so many people have in the past in Hillside. [Colorado Springs Basketball legend] Dan McKiernan, my dad Nathan Brown — it’s a very long list.”

Brown founded a new organization, Hillside Connection, in 2017, intending to “leverage the game of basketball to create pathways to opportunity for kids in southern Colorado Springs. A group of community leaders serve as coaches/mentors to Elementary School boys [first through sixth grade] free of charge. Youth participate in fundamental basketball sessions, field trips and community service opportunities throughout the year.”

The nonprofit has been a success, and then some. Brown raised money to fund a summer basketball league for 60 kids, coordinated a community renovation project at Memorial Park basketball courts and brought the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation in as a fiscal sponsor for the program. His work at Hillside Connection didn’t go unnoticed — in 2017, he received the Mayor’s Young Leader award for sports and innovation.

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From 2016-2018 Brown worked as an El Pomar fellow, a two-year leadership development position that combines “hands-on program management with theoretical leadership and nonprofit management study” at the $560 million foundation. He served as Pikes Peak regional director for one of several regional partnerships that direct approximately $200,000 in annual grants, advised by 10-member councils comprised of local leaders. He also worked on health and wellness initiatives jointly sponsored by El Pomar and the Denver Broncos in 11 Colorado communities.

In early 2019, Brown was hired by Pikes Peak Community College as multicultural student success coach. It’s a position created “to close equity gaps by increasing the retention, persistence, and completion of PPCC students from historically underrepresented populations (particularly male students of color).”

Brown said he works one-on-one with about 35 men.

“We’re the United Men of Color cohort,” he said.

Nominator Warren Epstein is more than glad to have Brown aboard.

“Terrell has truly made a difference in our community,” Epstein said, “and we know he’s going to make a huge impact as a Rising Star at PPCC.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be an influencer, a change agent, however I can enhance the lives of others. I don’t know yet what that life looks like, but I’m on that path.