Ron Brown Scholar Program

Who We Are

The Ron Brown Scholar Fund is a 501(c)3 public charity, managed by an independent Board of Trustees.  The Ron Brown Scholar Program has no affiliation with the Ronald H. Brown Foundation, which was founded by the Brown family. The Ron Brown Scholar Program was named for the late Secretary of Commerce and inspired by his dedication to public service.  The Ron Brown Scholar Program  was established in 1996 by the CAP Charitable Foundation to provide academic scholarships, service opportunities and leadership experiences for young African Americans of outstanding promise.

The Ron Brown Scholar Program provides Scholars with the financial resources to attend some of the finest colleges and universities in the country. Upon acceptance, Scholars are each awarded $40,000 ($10,000 per year for 4 years) that may be used at the college or university of their choice. Acceptance into the Program means Scholars are also provided with the nurturing and mentorship to succeed and flourish in college and beyond.  The Ron Brown Scholar Program has a proven track record of academic success with a 100 percent graduation rate. Graduating Scholars go on to outstanding careers in the arts, sciences and public service, and many more pursue professional degrees in law, medicine and business.

Our Mission

The mission of the Ron Brown Scholar Program is to accelerate the progress of African Americans into the mainstream of leadership in business, education, government and a wide spectrum of professions, while instilling a strong dedication to leadership and public service. Another major tenet of the Program is to create a strong family bond among Scholars and Program staff who provide a network of support and friendship their entire lives. To this end, the Ron Brown Scholar Alumni Association was created in 2001 with the goal of sustaining this connection and fostering continued excellence, leadership and service.

Our History

Originally founded and privately funded by the CAP Charitable Foundation with additional support from partner organizations and individual donors, the Ron Brown Scholar Program began awarding college scholarships to outstanding African American students to honor the legacy of service of the late Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown. As the first African American to serve in the cabinet as Secretary of Commerce and the first to serve as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Ron Brown was a figure of global prominence, respected for his intelligence, political savvy and leadership. In April of 1996, he died in a tragic plane crash during a trade mission to Eastern Europe. Since 1996, the Ron Brown Scholar Program has evolved to provide Scholars with more than just academic opportunities, fostering both the strong commitment of service and dedication to future leadership that Ron Brown helped embody. 

On April 9th 2009, the Ron Brown Scholar Fund received an advance ruling by the IRS which allows it to operate as a public 501(c)3 charity.