Michael Brown (City Year)
Michael Brown, born December 28, 1960, is co-founder and current Chief Executive Officer of City Year Inc. City Year is an education-focused organization founded in 1988 dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. City Year partners with public schools in 26 urban, high-poverty communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates in the U.K. and Johannesburg, South Africa.
A member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is made possible by support from the Corporation for National and Community Service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals.
Education and early career
Brown is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, where he served as editor of the Harvard Law Review. Prior to founding City Year, he served as a legislative assistant to then Congressman Leon Panetta and as a clerk for then Federal Judge Stephen Breyer.
City Year is an education-focused organization founded in 1988 dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. City Year partners with public schools in 26 urban, high-poverty communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates in the U.K. and Johannesburg, South Africa. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members provide high-impact student, classroom and school-wide support, to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. A member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is made possible by support from the Corporation for National and Community Service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals.
In 2009, Brown announced "In School & On Track: A National Challenge," City Year's national initiative designed to bring City Year corps members to 50% of all of the students falling off track in City Year’s 21 U.S. locations. This required the expansion of corps members to 6,000 and engaging school districts, the private sector and the federal government through AmeriCorps as partners.
In 2012 City Year announced their Long Term Impact (LTI) goal, with a $10 million pledge from Trustee Jonathan Lavine , to dramatically increase the number of students on track to graduation, ultimately reaching the majority of likely dropouts in each of their communities and expanding to the communities and schools that produce two-thirds of the nation’s urban dropouts. Based on national research from Johns Hopkins University and City Year’s analysis of existing markets, we have found that roughly 15-20% of schools are producing the majority of the dropouts within our partner districts. This degree of concentration enables City Year AmeriCorps members to have an outsized impact on the graduation pipeline in each of their cities, while deploying to a relatively small number of schools. The goal of the strategy is to double the number of students reaching the tenth grade on track to graduate in the schools where City Year serves, ensuring that at least 80% of the students in these schools are on track to graduate. City Year corps members function as a "human capital resource" in underperforming elementary, middle and high schools, working with off-track students to provide targeted academic interventions aimed at curbing the number of high school dropouts.
Since its founding, over 20,000 AmeriCorps members have completed over 50 million hours of service with City Year.
National Service Leadership
Inspired by a visit with City Year during his 1992 presidential run, President Bill Clinton enlisted the help of Michael Brown, Alan Khazei and others to establish AmeriCorps through the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. Since then, more than 900,000 AmeriCorps members have contributed upwards of 1.2 billion hours of public service. City Year, along with thousands of other non-profit organizations, is a member of the AmeriCorps network.
In June 2003, AmeriCorps funding was cut by 80 percent. Brown and other service leaders organized the "Save AmeriCorps" act, a campaign culminating in a 100-hour hearing in the Capitol. At this hearing, more than 700 AmeriCorps supporters testified. The campaign led to half of the AmeriCorps funding being restored in 2003 and to all of the previous funding plus a $100 million increase appropriated for 2004. As a result of the increased funding, the AmeriCorps program was able to engage 25,000 more corps members in service.
Awards and Recognitions
Brown was named one of America's Best Leaders by the U.S. News & World Report and an Executive of the Year by NonProfit Times for his leadership role in ServiceNation and the passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.
For his work developing City Year, Brown has been awarded the Reebok Human Rights Award, the National Caring Award, the Samuel S. Beard Jefferson Award of the American Institute for Public Service, the Boston Bar Association's Public Service Award, the Harvard Law School Association Award, and four honorary degrees, including a Doctorate of Public Service from Northeastern University.
Michael Brown lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his family.