More than $1 million raised for Willie L. Brown Jr. Fellowship Program

Fellowship provides underrepresented students with hands-on experience in the public sector

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 16, 2015 -- San Francisco State University and the Willie L. Brown Jr. Institute have raised more than $1 million to support the Willie L. Brown Jr. Fellowship Program. The program allows students who have faced significant barriers pursuing an education to receive hands-on experience working in government agencies and develop their passion for public service.

Funds raised will allow SF State to significantly increase the number of students accepted as fellows each semester. The fellowship is named after former San Francisco mayor and SF State alum Willie L. Brown Jr.

"I am so grateful to the donors who have stepped up to support this wonderful program, as well as to Mayor Brown for serving as an inspiration to our students and future local leaders," said SF State President Les Wong. "The Willie L. Brown Jr. Fellowship Program not only benefits our students through hands-on learning experiences, it also benefits the city of San Francisco by providing its public agencies with a diverse, qualified and well-educated workforce."

"SF State's mission is to graduate students to serve our city, and the University's unwavering commitment to social justice and civic engagement aligns perfectly with my vision of recruiting and including students of diverse racial, cultural and economic backgrounds," said Mayor Brown. "These students, like so many of SF State's graduates, will become the city's next teachers, social workers, nurses, planners, policy analysts and public officials."

Fellows receive an honorarium, enroll in a professional development/community service learning seminar and participate in a semester-long internship with the city of San Francisco, providing underrepresented students interested in public service with both a valuable hands-on learning experience and professional contacts. Several alumni of the program have been hired by the government agencies with which they interned, while others have earned graduate degrees or entered the work force immediately after graduation. Fellows pursue careers in a wide range of fields, including urban planning, public administration, law and health education.

A committee of SF State and Willie L. Brown Jr. Institute representatives selects fellows for each semester, with consideration given to students who have faced challenges while pursuing a college education and have demonstrated a passion for public service. Since the program's inception in 2008, 42 students have been awarded fellowships.

Money for the fellowship was raised during an event in San Francisco hosted by Platinum Advisors founder and CEO Darius Anderson, attorney Steven Kay, SF State alumni George and Judy Marcus, and California Chief of Protocol Charlotte Mailliard Shultz. Following remarks from President Wong describing the program, guests donated more than $400,000, and those donations were then matched by the Marcuses.

To learn more about the Willie L. Brown Jr. Fellowship Program, visit


San Francisco State University makes things happen. Founded in 1899, it is the only master's-level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. Its nationally acclaimed programs span a broad range of disciplines. Nearly 30,000 students enroll at the University each year, and its more than 236,000 graduates have contributed to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond. Through them -- and more than 1,600 world-class faculty members -- SF State proudly embraces its legacy of academic excellence, community engagement and commitment to social justice. For more information, visit