O. J. Brigance (born September 29, 1969 in Houston, Texas) was a championship football player. He is one of the few players who have won both a CFL and NFL championship. And he is the only one to accomplish this feat in the same city, Baltimore (Stallions and Ravens).
Brigance played his college football at Rice University where he was a two-time All-Southwest Conference (SWC) linebacker, and still holds the school’s title for career leader in tackles. In addition, he earned his first All SWC honor despite playing most of the year with a broken hand. OJ began his pro career in the CFL with the B.C. Lions in 1991. He played 3 years and 54 games with the Lions, his best season being 1993 when he recorded 20 sacks and was an all-star. He played his next two seasons with the Baltimore Stallions, where he was an All Pro in 1995, recording 7 sacks, and helping win the Grey Cup championship.
The NFL called in 1996, and Brigance began a seven-year career. He played 4 seasons and 60 games with the Miami Dolphins, joining the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. He played 16 games for the Ravens, winning a Super Bowl ring. He played 2001 and 2002 with the St. Louis Rams (21 games), and finished with one game with the New England Patriots in 2002. Throughout his NFL career he was, mostly, a special teams player.
Throughout his life, Brigance has focused on helping others. In Miami, as with other teams, Brigance was involved in a number of different community organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Daily Food Bank. These selfless acts and passion to support the community in which he lives has not gone unnoticed. Brigance was honored with the NFLPA’s Unsung Hero award in 1999 as well as receiving the Ed Block Courage Award in 2007. Most recently, OJ was presented with the Rice University 2012 Distinguished Alumni award.
After retiring from the NFL, Brigance returned to the Baltimore Ravens in 2004 as the Director of Player Development. Since 2010, Brigance has been the Senior Advisor to Player Development, a role he continues to fill today.
Brigance was diagnosed in 2007 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a motor neuron disease, and is determined to win his fight against it. In 2008, OJ and his wife, Chanda, created the Brigance Brigade Foundation. The mission of the Brigance Brigade Foundation is to equip, encourage, and empower people living with ALS (PALS) to live life through the provision of much needed equipment, resource guidance and support services as well as funding various ALS research initiatives.
OJ believes he has been blessed to enjoy some extraordinary triumphs and extreme challenges in his life. If you ask him what has been instrumental in determining how he is able to remain humble in triumphs and encouraged during adversities, he would tell you in three words: Faith, Focus and Fortitude.
Chanda Brigance is O.J.’s wife and his partner in the Brigance Brigade Foundation efforts. A native of Houston, Texas, Chanda Brigance graduated from Texas Southern University. For several years Chanda managed special events including organizing initiatives and programs for Baltimore Ravens players, wives, coaches and front office staff. A certified Professional Event Planner, Chanda founded her own events management and design company – Crowning Creations, LLC. Chanda was also a team leader with her church’s Hospitality Ministry.
Most recently, Chanda created the Brigance Brigade Foundation with her husband O.J. and has been focused on helping patients with ALS and their families, while also raising awareness about the disease across the country.
Amanda Mummert joined the Brigance Brigade Foundation in December 2015 as its Foundation Director. Amanda holds a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from Notre Dame of Maryland University and has been a licensed practical nurse for more than ten years. The only daughter of a registered nurse and a devoted advocate to worker rights, Amanda always set out with “help people” in mind – probably due in no small part to her parents’ example and guidance. One of Amanda’s favorite quotes that has become a guiding principle of her life is the following from Coleman Cox: “Now that it’s all over, what did you really do yesterday that’s worth mentioning?” The determination to help people and to make each day count are what drive Amanda as she joins the Brigade Brigade Foundation, ready and so excited to equip, encourage, and empower people with ALS.
Prior to work with the Foundation, Amanda managed Health Homes, at Humanim – a nonprofit that’s mission is to identify those in greatest need and provide uncompromising human services. The program’s purpose is to ensure that all clients of Humanim’s Behavioral Health programs live healthy and long lives in the community. Amanda fully operationalized the Health Homes program and was responsible for the management of its goals, staff, and budget. Prior to working at Humanim and during graduate school, Amanda was Assistant to the President at the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, assisting with many components of the organization, including acting as board liaison and supporting the each department of the organization, including operations and volunteer management. As previously mentioned, Amanda is a licensed practical nurse and has worked for nursing homes and nursing agencies in Pennsylvania and Maryland since 2005.
Amanda recently served a term on the board of PACT, a division of Kennedy Krieger Institute and as a volunteer with Christalis, a nonprofit that is responsible for the operations of an orphanage in Uganda. In addition to working at the Brigance Brigade Foundation, and part-time on weekends as a LPN, Amanda currently sits on the board of the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation and volunteers with her community association and PA Vent Camp, a week-long summer camp for children who use ventilators.
In her spare time, Amanda enjoys traveling with her husband, Josh, spending time with family and friends, jogging, yoga, biking, cooking, meal planning, and salsa dancing.
Sharon E. Yateman
As an educator, social worker, and non-profit executive, Sharon has dedicated her career to working with individuals, institutions, and community organizations to enhance health and well-being for children, adults and families whom she feels honored to have served and continues to support.
In her early professional career, Sharon’s focus in gerontology included research and writing for the White House conference on Aging, providing clinical medical social work services in chronic care as member of an esteemed interdisciplinary team at Baltimore City Hospitals (now Johns Hopkins), providing social work consultation and in-service education for private long term care facilities, initiating a Social Work component for MD’s Professional Standards Review Organization, and creating and directing the extended care Social Work Department for the Sisters of Bon Secours.
As Director of Chapter Services for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MD Chapter, Sharon led dynamic major gifts and grants campaigns to fund and grow educational programs and direct (independent living) services for clients and families. In collaboration with research and clinical advisors, Sharon created a unique model of M.S. Society Social Work staffing within M. S. Clinics at Johns Hopkins Hospital and University of Maryland Medical Centers.
Serving as Vice President, American Diabetes Association (MD), Sharon partnered with local health experts and pharmaceutical and corporate sponsors to grow and deliver patient, professional, and public education on behalf of people living with diabetes. She was also instrumental in the growth and expansion of the award winning ADA summer camp, and the Chapter’s capital campaign.
Sharon’s commitment to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (MD) spanned fifteen years as Executive Director, driving annual growth from $300,000 to $5,000,000. Through recruitment of volunteer leadership, infrastructure re-design, team building, and creative corporate and foundation partnerships, her MD Chapter consistently ranked in the National “Top 10” in all categories: revenue, patient and family services, and educational programs. Sharon served on numerous National Leadership Teams to advance strategic visioning, field operations, financial management, programs & services, and advocacy.
Just prior to joining the Brigance Brigade Foundation, Sharon served as Executive Director, Community Health Charities and supported public awareness and mission activities of over 50 voluntary health organizations throughout MD. Her work in developing resource alliances with health and education institutions, corporations, and foundations, helped to grow workplace giving campaigns, conduct educational leadership conferences, and create a new Grants Program to sustain community services for clients in need of support by CHC member organizations.
Sharon is honored to currently serve as Leadership Advisor to the Brigance Brigade Foundation, working closely with Amanda Mummert, O. J. and Chanda Brigance and the entire Board for continued growth and success of the Foundation. As has been the case throughout her leadership and service endeavors, Sharon remains passionate about the mission for which she is working, and grateful for the unwavering support of her husband, Lance, and daughter, Jennifer, who together help to make her work a “family affair”. Sharon has undergraduate degrees in Education and Social Work, a Masters in Social Work & Community Planning, has authored several research projects and articles, and serves on educational and community Boards.
Board of Directors
O.J. Brigance, Chairman
Co-Founder, Brigance Brigade Foundation
Chanda Brigance, Vice Chairman
Co-Founder, Brigance Brigade Foundation
Tammy Edwards, Secretary
Advertising, Marketing & Customer Service Representative at Tim’s Automotive Services
Matt Whelan, Treasurer
Chief Financial Officer, Maryland Food Bank
Manager, Community Affairs, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
Director of Programming/Public Affairs, WBAL – TV 11
Director of Communications, Maryland Catholic Conference
Promotions Director, 98 Rock & WBAL Radio
Gary S. Williams
President, Williams Asset Management
Partner, Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, LLC
President & CEO, Panthera Technologies
Vice President, Risk Management Services, MedStar Health
Senator Francis Kelly, Emeritus Member
Former Maryland State Senator & current Chairman of Kelly & Associates Insurance Group, Inc.
Francis X. Kelly III, Emeritus Member
Chief Executive Officer, Kelly & Associates Insurance Group, Inc.