Since its founding 36 years ago, BESLA has focused on philanthropic efforts that support minority legal education. BESLA scholarship recipients have become active industry professionals, who exemplify the excellence that BESLA seeks to achieve and what it means to give back. Every dollar allocated to our scholarship funds bears fruit with immeasurable potential for opportunities for our law students and the industry as a whole.
I. Besla General Scholarship Fund
The BESLA Scholarship Fund was established to provide a vehicle for “giving back” to the black community. Established in 1989, the BESLA Scholarship Fund annually has provided financial assistance to four African-American law students attending the four historically Black law schools in the United States: Howard University Law School, North Carolina Central Law School, Southern University Law School in Baton Rouqe and Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall Law School. Students who have an interest in entertainment or sports law, have a designated minimum grade point average, and have been recommended by their Dean, are potential candidates for a scholarship award. These candidates are then required to submit a writing sample to BESLA on a designated topic. It is from these writing samples that a candidate is chosen to receive a scholarship award.
II. Lebaron & Yvonne M. Taylor Scholarship Fund
The LeBaron & Yvonne M. Taylor Scholarship Fund was established by LeBaron Taylor in 1997 to honor his wife, the late Yvonne M. Taylor, who served as the organization’s Administrative Director. Subsequently, upon the death of LeBaron Taylor, his name was added to the Fund as a tribute to his many years of support of BESLA. The funds and criteria for awarding scholarships to students are administered in cooperation with the Taylor family.
III. The Jack And Sadye Gibson Scholarship Fund
In 1990, in recognition of the support Jack Gibson, “Jack the Rapper,” and his departed wife, Sadye Gibson, has given to BESLA over the years, BESLA established a memorial scholarship in Sadye Gibson’s name and honor. Jack Gibson launched the fund contributions with his own donation of $2,000 and in early 1991; BESLA received a donation of $20,000 from the New York Chapter of the Black Music Association. The principal from these donations, and future donations, are to be invested and preserved. In the spring of 1994, BESLA joined forces with the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) to provide scholarships to law students affiliated with local NBLSA Chapters.
IV. The Founding Directors of BESLA Scholarship Award
The Founding Directors of BESLA Scholarship Award, established in 1998, will be presented to a law student who demonstrates an interest in serving as an advocate for entertainment and/or sports law. Such interest may be demonstrated by attendance at BESLA Conferences or other similar entertainment and sports law conferences, credits in entertainment or sports law related courses or internships with entertainment and sports law entities. This award will enable BESLA to increase its commitment to promoting academic excellence in the study of sports and entertainment law.
V. Malena Rance Scholarship Fund
The Malena Rance Scholarship was founded with an endowment from BESLA’s past Chairman Darrell Miller. The scholarship is intended to provide financial assistance to African-American female law students who have demonstrated an interest in pursuing a career in entertainment law and who have maintained a 3.0 or better GPA in law school. Rance was the partner of Darrell Miller, and a successful entertainment lawyer who passed at an early age due to an illness.
VI. The Flash and Bennie Wiley Scholarship Fund
In 2015, in recognition of BESLA’s 35th Anniversary Fletcher “Flash” Wiley and his wife, Bennie Wiley endowed the Flash and Bennie Wiley Scholarship Fund. Though a donation of $25000, BESLA will be able to award a minimum $1000 scholarship each year to a deserving student attending a historically black law school.
VII. The BESLA Founders Fund
Established following BESLA’s 35th Annual Conference, the purpose of this fund is to provide scholarships for minority law students. The funds was started with initial donations from Robert Holmes, Flash Wiley and Kendall Minter. For those of you wishing to make cash donations to the Fund, simply send your check made payable to "Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association" to BESLA's Treasurer, P.O. Box 351120, Los Angeles, CA 90035. The fund also accepts stock transfers.
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