Change folder's owner while you're root
You need to become root. If this is a Debian-based system, then
sudo chown -R your-name:your-name full-path-to-folder
sudo chown -R tsmith:tsmith /some-path/some-folder
If this is an RPM-based system, like Fedora, CentOS, or RHEL (and there are more), then su to root, and issue the chown command above but without the sudo prefix.