Ron Brown Scholar Program Names 2024 Scholarship Recipients 

Top Applicants Join Ranks of Prestigious African-American Scholar Program 

The Ron Brown Scholar Program – the nation’s leading scholarship program for African-American youth announced its 2024 class of Scholars. The winners, selected from more than 4,000 applicants, will receive mentoring, career counseling and $40,000 toward their college expenses. Ron Brown Scholars become innovators in fields as diverse as law, the arts, science and public service.

Founded in 1996 by Anthony Pilaro and now celebrating more than 25 years, the Ron Brown Scholar Program (RBSP) was named in memory of the first African-American Secretary of Commerce. The Program aims to advance higher education and improve the lives of service-minded and intellectually gifted African Americans, and to accelerate their progress into impactful leadership roles and opportunities. RBSP provides students with the resources and mentoring to thrive at the finest colleges and universities in the country. Each of the new Scholars and an additional 300 semifinalists will join the Ron Brown – Ruth and Norman Rales Leaders Network, an initiative which focuses on career development, mentorship and matches talent with opportunity.

“This year’s Ron Brown Scholars were selected from one of the most accomplished—and competitive— applicant pools we’ve ever seen,” said Michael Mallory, who has served as President & CEO of the Ron Brown Scholar Program since its founding in 1996. “We are so proud to welcome 49 new Scholars to the RBS class of 2024. These hard-working young people come from all over the country, each bringing with them the unique perspective informed by their background and life experiences. Our newest Scholars, like their predecessors, combine extraordinary academic achievement with a demonstrated commitment to using their gifts to benefit their communities and society as a whole.

We remain extremely grateful to our founder, Mr. Anthony Pilaro, whose vision of a better, fairer America continues to inspire us. We wouldn’t be here without him, or without the contributions the many donors and friends whose generosity allows us to continue this important work. We are especially obliged to the Norman R. and Ruth Rales Foundation, whose historic gift of $5M has allowed us to serve more students than ever before.”

Ron Brown Scholars are selected on the basis of demonstrated academic excellence, leadership potential, social commitment and financial need. Some key highlights of the Program include: 

  • To date, 683 Ron Brown Scholars named
  • More than 150,000 applications received since 1997
  • More than 65% of Ron Brown Scholars attend Ivy League universities
  • 99% graduation rate
  • 100% involved in extensive community service projects

About the Ron Brown Scholar Program 

Established in 1996 to honor the late Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown’s legacy of service, the Ron Brown Scholar Program (RBSP) aims to advance higher education and improve the lives of service-minded and intellectually gifted African Americans, and to accelerate their progress into impactful leadership roles and opportunities. This is done through Program initiatives focused on college access and persistence, leadership training and workforce development. The Program supports more than 2,000 students annually through it’s three initiatives: The Signature Scholarship, The Guided Pathway Support Program (GPS) and the Ron Brown – Ruth and Norman Rales Leaders Network. 

The Program awards $40,000 to academically motivated African American students from low income backgrounds through its scholarship program. To date 683 students have been named Ron Brown Scholars. Our Scholars have faced homelessness, food insecurity and a lack of family support. RBSP steps in to provide social and emotional support, as well as an economic safety net. Knowing that the Program and its Alumni offer Scholars a second family, this gives Scholars the confidence to stretch themselves and to take risks. Keeping Scholars connected through our Alumni chapters and mentorship programs which are provided by our older Scholars, helps to fulfill our goal of keeping Scholars connected and doing “good” over a lifetime. 

Since inception, RBSP has awarded more than $25 million in scholarships and personal support to Ron Brown Scholars. Over the past five years, the average household income for these students is $41,000. Ron Brown Scholars boast a 99% graduation rate, with suing graduate or professional degrees. Collectively more than 65% have given back $1.2 million to the Program. 

About The Norman R. & Ruth Rales Foundation 

The Norman R. and Ruth Rales Foundation is dedicated to supporting children and families facing hardship by creating opportunities for them to realize their life’s potential. The Foundation strives to advance the legacy of Norman and Ruth Rales, two individuals from modest means who built an extraordinary life together based upon the values of integrity, compassion, hard work and giving back to others. Norman Rales, raised in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in Harlem during the Great Depression, where he learned lessons about the value of community, striving, and resiliency, was honored as the 2010 recipient of the Ron Brown Scholar Program American Journey Award.