The Ron Brown Scholarships are designed to identify high school seniors of African-American ancestry who possess the drive and desire to make a positive contribution to society. Applicants for this program should possess exceptional leadership potential, excel academically and participate in community service activities. This program is only available to high school students and incoming college students. Current college students are not eligible to apply for this black scholarship program.
A minimum of ten students are designated annually as Ron Brown Scholars. Each scholar will receive $10,000 each year for four years, amounting to a total of $40,000. Recipients of the Ron Brown Scholarship Program may elect to use these renewable black scholarships to attend a four-year university or college of their choice, provided it is located in the United States. Funds from this scholarship may be used to cover the cost of tuition, room and board, fees, books, health insurance, computers and other college-related expenses. Unlike many scholarships, the Ron Brown scholarships are not limited to any specific career objective or field. Scholars may choose to pursue any discipline. Since the beginning of this program, more than 250 students have been named as Ron Brown Scholars.
The program first began more than ten years ago when the chairman of the CAP Charitable Foundation, Anthony M. Pilaro, established it. Today, it remains the only black scholarship program of its type. Staff members of the program become mentors to scholars. Due to the generous nature of this scholarship program, competition is typically intense. Over the course of the last decade, since the program’s inception, the number of applications received has exceeded 10,000 per year. Numerous rounds of screenings are held to determine finalists, who are invited to come to Washington, D.C. for a series of interviews with the final selection committee. This trip is all-expenses paid and is sponsored by the CAP Charitable Foundation.
One element that sets the Ron Brown Scholar program apart from other types of minority scholarship programs is the program’s dedication to leadership as well as the level of interconnectedness the program works to foster between all of the scholars. Scholars of this program are offered number of opportunities that may include internships and alumni mentorship with institutions that have included Merrill Lynch and the National Institutes of Health.
The program also offers a number of other unique opportunities to assist in the goal of instilling a sense of belonging and pride among scholars. One such opportunity is the triennial leadership conference, which is hosted by the CAP Charitable Foundation for all scholars. Settings for the conference in past years have included Charlottesville, Virginia, the Berkshires and Aspen, Colorado. Each conference has a different focus, which over the last ten years has included global change, leadership and career direction and the arts, entertainment and the media.
The first Ron Brown Scholar Alumni Association was formed in 2001 by the first group of scholars to graduate from college. Today, RBSAA and the Ron Brown Scholar Program remain integrally related.
Initial screening for Ron Brown Scholar Program awards begins in February of each year. There are two application deadlines for this African-American scholarship program which prospective candidates should be aware of. November 1st is the first date that applications will be considered. January 9th is the final postmarked date which applications for the Ron Brown Scholarships will be considered.