Harold Brewer, major gifts officer for UMMC's Office of Development and Alumni Engagement, is pastor of Mountain Ridge Christian Fellowship in Brandon.
Harold Brewer, major gifts officer for UMMC's Office of Development and Alumni Engagement, is pastor of Mountain Ridge Christian Fellowship in Brandon.
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Front and Center: Harold Brewer

Published on Monday, June 17, 2024

By: Annie Oeth, aoeth@umc.edu

Photos By: Joe Ellis/ UMMC Communications

Harold Brewer shares inspiration every day – during the workweek as a major gifts officer of the University of Mississippi Medical Center Office of Development and Alumni Engagement and on Sundays as pastor of Mountain Ridge Christian Fellowship Church in Brandon.

“We are a growing ministry that loves to connect with community,” he said. “The people there are service-focused and that really makes my vocation there flow seamlessly.”

A 20-year veteran resource development professional and pastor, Brewer said the two vocations have plenty of similarities.

“Both go hand in hand, as they both allow me to meet new people, share good news and make appeals that ultimately help the individuals reach their goals,” he said. “I’ve served in leadership roles in both and have enjoyed imparting healthy habits to success in others.” 

One of his talents – bringing people together – is essential to serving the School of Nursing and the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, he said.

“I love connecting not only with my team but people across campus. I have the unique responsibility of sharing UMMC’s stories with those who are looking to achieve their philanthropic goals,” he said. “As a matter of how we were made as people, we have a natural desire to give. It’s in us, whether that’s time, money, or other resources.”

The good news he shares with the state’s philanthropists includes “how our School of Graduate Studies conducts research that can ultimately change lives and invests in the future of clinical research in the state by connecting with, hosting and mentoring local high school students through our SURE and Discovery U programs.”

The School of Nursing’s stories include “a new building with greater capacity to train more nurses for a state that desperately needs more nursing professionals,” he said. “I share stories of how our School of Nursing serves underrepresented communities with our school-based clinics and by assisting with disaster relief following the devastating tornado that swept through Rolling Fork last year.”

A Jackson native, Brewer grew up going to church.

“I was raised in a Christian home. My mother and grandmother routinely emphasized that our regular, and I do mean regular, church attendance was only a part of the equation,” he said. “It was the equipping part. The real work was the acts of service and compassion shown to those around us. That resonated with me even as a child. I loved being part of projects and acts of service that could benefit others.”

His gift of connecting with people from all walks of life was evident in adulthood.

“I love talking to people. I love serving people. I love sharing good news,” he said. “God gave me the desire to help shepherd people into better choices in life. I’m probably a little different than someone who might look from afar and pray for the best. I like to be engaged, up close, and part of the answer to the prayer. And when God let me know that I could be authentic Harold doing it, I accepted the call.” 

Brewer earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Belhaven University before going on to graduate from Liberty University and Theological Seminary with a Master’s Degree in theology and a Master’s Degree in teaching from Jackson State University. He’s pursuing a doctorate in ministry in strategic leadership from Lancaster Bible College. 

He and wife Philandra have six children and three grandchildren, and “we have a slew of godchildren, nieces, nephews and community kids who we call ours. I consider myself the most blessed man in the world to have married a soulmate who is just as passionate about ministry, community, and family, as I am.

“Five of our six children are grown and gone – by God’s grace, we have raised two social workers, a high school teacher/coach, a police officer, a college professor/clinical research director and a rising high school senior who is an all-A student. We see all of them often and travel together on a regular basis. I think family is one of the greatest gifts that God has blessed us with.”

Brewer came to UMMC in 2023 after serving as divisional resource development director for the Salvation Army.

“I oversaw resource development for the Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi division,” he said. “I loved the extensive traveling, connecting with people, sharing stories and helping donors. When grandbabies began arriving, everything changed. I wanted to spend more time with grandbabies, family and the church. UMMC’s Office of Development and the projects it supports made perfect sense and lets me do what I love to do but on a more local level.”

Dr. Sydney Murphy, dean of the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, said Brewer is making a difference in connecting alumni and philanthropists to the school.

“He has done a phenomenal job understanding our school's structure and alumni base,” she said. “His positive energy and ability to make a quick connection has, and I believe, will continue to support our connections with alumni and donor base.”

Dr. Tina Martin, dean of the School of Nursing, said Brewer has been “instrumental in establishing fundraising goals for our new building. He has an engaging personality and passion for building and cultivating a pipeline of prospective donors.”

Meredith Aldridge, executive director of the Office of Development and Alumni Engagement, said Brewer is always thinking of others.

“Anyone who has met Harold in person can see how he is a natural connector,” she said. “In his role as a major gifts officer, he helps connect donors with UMMC’s priorities and is an internal motivator and natural mentor to other team members. He emphasizes exactly how and why supporting UMMC will make a difference, and his mission-based messaging is appreciated by all.”