Former Fresno Mayor Lee Brand starts scholarship program

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Former Fresno Mayor Lee Brand may no longer be in the public eye but he wanted to continue his work to help change lives.

Brand's new scholarship program was aimed at students not with 4.0-grade point averages - but with "C" averages.

Brand returned to his alma mater Roosevelt High to announce his new scholarship.

The $400,000 fund was meant for his campaign but Brand decided not to run for re-election, so students will now benefit.

Brand joked, "54 years ago, I graduated from Roosevelt High. More precisely, I barely graduated from Roosevelt High School."

Eight organizations were selected for the scholarships.

Roosevelt received the biggest chunk at $100,000. Brand also attended Fresno City College, so the State Community College District will get $55,000.

Brand said, "My goal was to reach the under-achievers like me. To get down to the 2.0, 2.5 GPA. Hopefully, these incentives can get kids to go on to college or go into really important vocational apprenticeship programs."

Brand struggled academically as a teen, even spending some time at Juvenile Hall for breaking and entering.

The college fund was designed to help disadvantaged students.

Fresno Center CEO Pao Yang said, "The community is super excited, blessed and we're honored to be able to be the recipient of this donation to give to our high school seniors. Each year for the next ten years, the goal is to give out five $1,000 scholarships."

Three groups will receive $50,000. The Fresno Center, the Youth Leadership Institute - Boys & Men of Color and the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Foundation President James Archie said, "When you have the help of institutions have the experiences that can teach you how to get where you want to be and do what you want to do, it helps our community at the end if they come back and they give back."

On Ramps Covenant Church, EOC Valley Apprenticeship Connections and the Fresno State Social Science Department will also have scholarship money available.
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