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Cleveland Browns Foundation supports students in furthering education through Marion Motley Scholarship

Cleveland Browns Foundation annually surprises two recipients each with a $10,000 scholarship

Marion Motley

The Cleveland Browns Foundation is dedicated to improving education through their efforts of the Stay in the Game! Attendance Network, as well as supporting students furthering their education through the Marion Motley Scholarship.

Through the Marion Motley Scholarship in partnership with College Now Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Browns Foundation annually surprises two recipients each with a $10,000 scholarship to further the education of promising young students, many of whom are first-generation college attendees. The scholarship was established during the 2005-06 school year and has provided more than $360,000 to 36 students from the Cleveland area since its inception.

"The Marion Motley Scholarship has been instrumental in empowering local high school students to pursue their dreams of higher education since its inception in 2006," Bob Durham, Chief Scholarship Services Officer for College Now, said. "With 36 recipients to date, this scholarship not only helps these students achieve their academic goals but also cultivates future leaders who will make meaningful contributions to their communities. The Marion Motley Scholarship exemplifies College Now Greater Cleveland's commitment to creating pathways to success for all students, regardless of their backgrounds, and we are proud to continue our partnership with the Cleveland Browns Foundation in this important endeavor."

The Cleveland Browns Marion Motley Scholarship – a four-year, renewable scholarship in the amount of $2,500 per year – honors former Browns fullback and linebacker Marion Motley, who overcame many obstacles to break ground as one of the first African American players in the NFL and played with the Browns from 1946-53. The Canton, Ohio native became the second African American inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968. He was also a charter member of the Cleveland Browns Legends program in 2001 and was enshrined in the Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor's inaugural class of 2010.

For each cycle of the scholarship, Northeast Ohio high school seniors that plan to major in areas such as accounting, business, communications, event management, exercise science, finance, graphic design, human resources, information technology, journalism, kinesiology, marketing/advertising, public relations or sports management are invited to apply. A panel that is comprised of Browns Executives, Foundation Board members and Browns Alumni decides the recipients. 

"By honoring Marion Motley's legacy, this scholarship stands as an integral part of our mission to offer educational support and spotlight the unwavering commitment and perseverance of its recipients," Renee Harvey, Vice President of the Cleveland Browns Foundation, said. "We take great pride in our collaboration with College Now Greater Cleveland, knowing that each recipient's journey, from enrollment to post-college triumphs, fuels our dedication to their success."

One of those high school students who received the scholarship was Joshua Hill, who graduated high school from the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine at John Hay in 2015. Hill said he's known since third grade that he wanted to attend college, and originally had aspirations to be a pediatric neurosurgeon. He wanted to find a way to marry his interest of football and medicine at the time.

"When I won (the scholarship), it was really a great confidence boost for me," Hill said. "The Marion Motley scholarship was actually the first scholarship I was awarded, and it ignited a hunger in me to go out and apply for more scholarships."

When Hill was in the process of applying for the scholarship, he wasn't completely familiar with Motley's story. Yet, as he applied, he was inspired by Motley's impact.

"Marion Motley was a pioneer," Hill said. "I played football all four years in high school. So, learning about his story and learning how he really paved the way for many athletes of color to be able to do well in the National Football League, and then also his philanthropic efforts out off the field, were just incredible. And I think what really inspires me most about his story is how many advocates, coaches, teammates, really stood up for him.

"The way that he was able to influence and impact a winning franchise just because of his personal devotion to the game was always something that was just super incredible for me," Hill continued. "He made it possible for young men like me to have aspirations to play at the next level or, what I now realize is, just existing and thriving at the next level professionally."

Hill went on to attend the University of Toledo to further his education. He discovered his path and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Hill now works as the Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland.

The 2024 recipients of the Marion Motley Scholarship will be announced in May, and Hill shared some advice for the next recipients.

"I will say to understand that this is a gift and to make sure that you shepherd it accordingly," Hill said. "I wish somebody had given me that advice and helped me to understand how important financial aid is, especially as it relates to receiving your degree and how it's not something that's going to be around forever, so making sure that you take advantage of the opportunities as they're presented. […] Continue to be curious. Continue to be inquisitive. Continue to challenge those people so that you can make sure that you're learning all you need to learn to be successful."

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