Since 1996, The Ron Brown Scholar Program, a 501(c)(3) public charity, has been dedicated to improving the lives of intellectually-gifted but economically-challenged young African Americans. Out of the approximately 5,000 applications received annually, 20 or more scholarships (in the amount of $40,000 each) are awarded to incredibly talented and service-minded young people, most of whom enroll in our nation’s most elite colleges and universities
The Ron Brown Scholar Program differs from other scholarship programs in that it is results-driven and has a keen focus on leadership, entrepreneurship and service. The Program chooses students to become part of an “extended family” consisting of Program staff, professionals, and prior Scholars, who provide guidance, mentorship, internships, and employment opportunities. The Program emphasizes a culture of philanthropy and “paying it forward” through public service and leadership. This approach creates a multiplier effect as new members utilize their grit and optimism to overcome personal deprivation, attain educational and professional success, and remain dedicated to impacting the lives of others.
The 416 past and present Ron Brown Scholars enjoy a 99% college graduation rate and an impressive array of post-college success in numerous fields of endeavor. Successes have included Ron Brown Scholars named finalists for the Rhodes scholarship, Truman Scholars, Fulbright Scholars and two Scholars elected First Marshal (President) of their graduating Harvard classes. Undergraduate leadership roles on university campuses are filled with Ron Brown Scholars, including the current student body president of MIT. More than 50% of our Scholars have pursued, or are pursuing, graduate degrees. Several have completed PhD programs and are currently teaching at Northwestern, Berkeley, University of Pittsburgh and UNC – Chapel Hill to name just a few. Scholars and alumni enter a variety of career fields from law, medicine, the arts, engineering, business, and non-profits to name a few.
Preparing young African Americans to take on leadership roles in our nation’s top companies and organizations is a hallmark of the Ron Brown Scholar Program. Through a personalized approach to academic support, mentorship, and internship placement, the Program does more than just “write a check,” as many scholarship programs do. At the Ron Brown Scholar Program, students receive the support and guidance they need to uncover their academic and professional potential, advance in their careers, and serve their communities. Our Ron Brown Scholar Alumni Association, which was established in 2001, is also vital as alumni mentors assist undergraduates in navigating paths to success.
Our Program helps educators and potential employers gain access to intellectually qualified, highly motivated, low-income minority students. Despite extraordinary gains among minority students in college participation, underrepresentation in leadership positions remains an obstacle recognized by policymakers and leaders of business and industry. Even for very high-achieving minority students, pathways to opportunities in business and industry are often unclear and difficult to negotiate. While many corporate leaders recognize the importance of a diverse workforce, they face difficulties in successfully recruiting high-achieving minority youth from traditional networks.
Below are some of the partners our Program currently collaborates with: