In 1987, Oral Lee Brown, a Bay Area realtor, adopted the entire first grade class from Brookfield Elementary School in East Oakland, CA. Her vision was to support those students by whatever means necessary for them to gain a quality education that ultimately would enable them to attend college. She set about this commitment by allocating $10,000.00 personal financial support each year. In addition, Mrs. Brown rallied for community and corporate support. The Oral Lee Brown Foundation (OLBF) was established as the fiscal agent for this effort. OLBF is a qualified non-profit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

Both the students and Mrs. Brown kept their commitment as 19 of the original 23 students graduated high school in 1999 and were accepted into universities across the nation.

As word spread of this phenomenal opportunity, other students from economically disadvantaged families around the Bay Area sought assistance from the Oral Lee Brown Foundation. Today, what began as a one-woman project, has grown into a beacon of hope in a blighted educational landscape. The Foundation continues to accept students into its Saturday School program, compelling them into college and career paths of their choice.


Disadvantaged students residing in the East Bay who are currently enrolled in the 2nd and 7th grades with demonstrated financial need may apply. Candidates are expected to have a 3.0 grade point average or greater. Selected students must attend Saturday School at the Foundation each Saturday that it is in session. Parents must volunteer a minimum of 6 hours per quarter at the Foundation. Students and parents must participate in all Foundation activities. It is desirable that candidates have been actively involved in school activities or community organizations. Candidates must be US citizens.


The OLBF scholarship application packet is comprised of a biographical questionnaire, one personal essay, one letter of recommendation and the most recent official school transcript. All applications and materials should be assembled into one package and sent or taken to:
The Oral Lee Brown Foundation
2426 99th Avenue
Oakland, CA 94605

Biographical Questionnaire:

Candidates should complete the attached biographical questionnaire (also available on our website at www.oralleebrownfoundation.org).

Personal Essay:

All candidates are required to submit one original essay neatly written in black ink or typed on one or more standard 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper. The candidate’s name and the date must appear on the top of each sheet. The essay must be 100 to 200 words in length. For elementary or middle school students, a recommender who has a relationship with the applicant may write the essay on the applicant’s behalf. This includes teachers, parents, guardians, mentors, pastors, etc. The essay should describe why the recommender feels a college education is important, the value of a college degree, their role in helping keep the student focused and why the student should be granted the opportunity to be an OLBF scholar. High school students should write an essay describing why they feel a college education is important, the value of a college degree and why they should be granted the opportunity to be an OLBF scholar.

School Transcript:

An official school transcript from your school should accompany each application. If your school will not provide an official transcript to you, ask the school administrator to mail it directly to the OLBF address listed above.

Proof of Citizenship:

Birth Certificate, etc.

Additional Information:

Copy of parent’s current Tax Returns or other proof of income (w-2, IRS Transcript, etc.).


A Selection Committee composed of OLBF board members and staff representatives will review each application independently to ensure that all criteria for eligibility has been met.

An application will not be reviewed until all required information has been received.

During the evaluation process the committee will consider academic performance, personal essay, biographical information and overall potential for scholastic success to complete high school and readiness for college enrollment. Candidates will be notified by mail within 4 to 6 weeks from the application receipt date. Each candidate will receive a notification letter regardless of the decision of the Selection Committee.

Click here to download the application form.