Brandon's House

$17,192 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 160 people in 28 months
Kellin Rowlands
on behalf of Brianna Brennan

Hello all,

Brandon Rowlands passed away in Costa Rica October, 25th 2016.  

During the time my parents spent in Costa Rica preparing to bring Bran home, they had the chance to speak with representatives from the Costa Rican judicial system as well as the United States Embassy.  During these discussions, it was made expressly clear to my parents that support for foreign nationals’ participating in Costa Rica’s early release program, the same one Brandon had qualified for, is entirely deficient.  Conceptually, the program allows individuals with a stellar performance, a confirmed place to stay and promise of employment, to be released to serve the remainder of their sentence within the community.  Given the instability in the social and political infrastructure of Costa Rica, however, the program does not provide adequate support for individuals with significant medical conditions and does not sufficiently account for the inherent instability of health care, housing and employment. 

My parents were introduced to an American expatriate in Costa Rica who has invested a significant amount of her personal assets into the formation of a self-sustained “halfway house” where individuals in Brandon’s circumstance would be able to secure stable housing, and employment.  Individuals currently staying at the house are be responsible for tending the gardens and cultivating their own food, producing handbags and pottery to sell, and cultivate seedlings for sale to local farmers. The individuals involved in this program also receive one of the greatest resource available and that is a sense of purpose and community belonging. I am without question, that if Brandon had been provided these opportunities, he would still be alive today.  Not only does the commerce align with all of Brandon’s greatest passions, but there is no way to overstate the importance of stability for matriculating ex-convicts. 

I believe I speak for everyone who has ever had the opportunity to meet Bran, or understand his central tenets regarding teaching and learning, or hear a story of his energy and compassion, that his death must be cautionary and impetus for systemic change.  Brandon was an agent of moral integrity.  In such, his family is continuing dialogues with the Costa Rican government, and US Embassy, to garner support for the following opportunities:

1)      Financial support, and political buy-in to expand capacity and resources for the halfway house mentioned above.  It is our wish to fully fund and rename the house, “Brandon’s House.”  We wish to expand services provided through Brandon’s House by attaching a psychiatrist and social worker to provide behavioral and substance abuse treatment. 

2)      An “adult foster care” reentry program that would place nonviolent felons within participant homes.  This program would aim to provide a semblance of stability for offenders and provide financial support to families providing housing. 

We will be kicking off a fundraising campaign within the coming days.  Additionally, working with the US Embassy in Costa Rica, we have begun to engage avenues for potential grant funding.  The family is requesting, in lieu of flowers or any donations to the family, that you would be willing to show and express your generosity and support by helping prevent any person every having to contend with what Brandon’s did at the mercy of a broken system.  

Thank you all for your support.  Let's make Brandon's death a resoundingly loud voice of change.  Let's make Brandon's death a powerful and relevant statement and make a huge change.  

Thank you all for your generosity!
+ Read More
Dear Supporters of Brandon’s House,

In the 18 months since Brandon’s death and creation of Brandon’s House the Founders have:
• Met Karen Dippold and Luna Droubi from Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP who helped us put our goals to paper and frame the steps forward to establishing Brandon’s House.
• Met Cabell and Martha Cropper, US Expatriates living in Costa Rica who have joined the founding group and are the local leaders of the effort. Cabell Cropper is retired Director of National Criminal Justice Association;
• Created a letter to give to international prisoners providing a name and contact number for support. The Ministry recommended that we establish an NGO in Costa Rica before using the letter.
• Begun the process of registering Brandon’s House as a Costa Rican NGO;
• Supported three international prisoners serving out their sentence in Costa Rica living with the barriers that prompted the creation of Brandon’s House;
• Met with Ms. Christine Fagan, Division Chief Office of Overseas Citizens Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State and received her support for our project;
• Met with Román Macaya, Costa Rican Ambassador to the United States, and received his support for our project;
• Engaged weekly with the Ministry of Peace and Justice, specifically Director Luis Bernardo Hernandez as we advocated for international prisoner rights;
• Built an active GoFundMe web based fund raising account;
• Held three fund raising events including two Casino Nights and a Health and Wellness Community Event;
• Built a network of Christian Ministers who have committed to providing social networks, temporary housing and advocacy and referrals;
• Met with Ms. Florian Zamora, English instructor at La Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología (The Latin American University of Science and Technology) (ULACIT)*, who has secured the commitment of 10 students to immediately provide advocacy, pre-release discharge planning, community resource development, prisoner visitation and Street Outreach for current released and unemployed international prisoners. Through our relationship with Florian Zamora, we have a tentative meeting with the Dean of La Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología School of Law for advocacy on policy change related to Immigrant Employment rights for international prisoners confined to Costa Rica.
• Through this relationship we met Rocío Fórester, a Law Student at La Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología who has joined the Brandon’s House team. She will help us explore the Legal Environment into which international prisoners are released. She will help us write papers addressing identified barriers impinging on their rights.
• Began a strategy to meet with the Costa Rican/US Chamber of Commerce to build relationship as way to activate the corporate community toward social entrepreneurship and social investing.
• Met with Marco Benavides, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Humanitarian Development Institute of America (HDIA), to explore partnering with HDIA as a means to getting Brandon’s House registered as an NGO.
• Identified a local RFP sponsored by The Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), a nonprofit organization headquartered in San José, to launch of its new Community Catalyst Small Grants Program, which will provide grants of up to $10,000 on a rolling basis. We are planning to co-write with HDIA.
• Identified potential relationship with Art for Justice as another avenue for policy support and grants.

It has been a meaningful adventure so far. We are interested in your comments/suggestions/ recommendation of steps we have missed or might take.

Without your support we would not have gotten to where we are.

Warmest Regards,

Brandon’s House Founders
+ Read More
Good evening all!

Looking forward to seeing all those who will be braving the elements this evening! For those unable to make this evenings event, we wanted to share the opportunity to partake in the plunder! Online raffle participation will be opened to all those wishing to participate. Instructions and descriptions of raffle items can be found here:

Thank you all for your generous donations making this evenings event possible! Looking forward to seeing you all this evening, and best of luck to all online rafflers!
+ Read More
Good evening one and all!

February is upon us! One month into this great year of 2018, and so much has already occurred. The Rowlands/Brennan families have been in frequent contact with the Embassy and developing social partnerships with many living in Costa Rica eager to support Brandon’s House – philosophically and tactically! We are engaging with individuals at all levels of government and have recently began engaging with a Costa Rican College of Law and Social Welfare to support our vision.

In celebration of all the lives touched and partnerships developed, we would like to invite you all to come and join us February 22, 2018 at The Pearl Street Pub in Albany, NY for the 2nd annual Brandon’s House Casino Night. In appreciation for all of the love, support and generosity those receiving this email have shown, we are extending a 20% ticket saving using the following coupon code: help2018

Your ongoing support is truly invaluable and we are very excited to see you all there at soon and share in the success of our collective partnership!

Much Love,

The Rowlands/Brennan families
+ Read More
Good morning all!

I am super stoked to announce that preparations are underway for our second annual Brandon's House Casino Night Fundraiser. This years event will be held on February 22, 2018 at The Pearl Street Pub in Albany, NY. Please see the below Eventbrite invitation for early ticketing.

Additionally, I have attached the below solicitation request. For those willing and able, we would be honored to accept any of your generous raffle contributions. All skills, arts, products, services and otherwise are warmly welcomed! All donations are of course tax deductible.

We look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces!

Love always,

Brandon's Family
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update
Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.

$17,192 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 160 people in 28 months
Created November 2, 2016
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
Matt Moyse
4 days ago

Happy Belated my Friend - much love.

10 months ago
12 months ago
Matt Moyse
12 months ago

Wish we could be there tonight - much love from the Moyse Family

Matt Moyse
12 months ago

Happy Birthday Bran

Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.