Support & Guidance for DC Scholars since 1991

Our History

Fred Abramson

“Lawyers have a unique responsibility as part of this profession to give something back. We are the leaders. We are very privileged. I think we need to give some of that back by way of help; monetary and actual help and assistance to people who are less fortunate. "

- Frederick B. Abramson

The Abramson Scholarship Foundation was founded in honor of Frederick B. Abramson, a distinguished member of the Washington legal community with a deep commitment to giving back to his community. Fred grew up in Harlem and graduated from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School. He had a rich and varied legal career, which included serving as President of the District of Columbia Bar.

In many of the academic and professional settings in which Fred found himself, he was a trailblazer; there were few or no African-American male role models. After Fred’s untimely death in 1991, friends and colleagues sought to honor his memory through the creation of a scholarship program, formerly known as the Frederick B. Abramson Memorial Foundation. The goal was to weave together many themes of Fred’s life — respect for higher education, promotion of mentoring to help young people achieve their goals, and encouragement to engage in community service.

In its original conception, the Foundation provided financial and mentoring support to graduates of D.C. public high schools during their first year of college. It also funded one-year Fellowships, which provided financial stipends to supplement the salaries of recent law school graduates who worked in legal fields that provided service to our community. Following the economic downturn in 2008-2009, the Foundation revamped its mission to focus its resources on providing financial support and mentoring to college students throughout their college years.

Abramson Scholarship Foundation Presidents

“In his quiet, unobtrusive and caring way, Fred was a mentor to generations of young black lawyers. He never forgot that doors were often closed to him when he first arrived here, and he vowed to help others. He was an advisor and mentor to so many minority lawyers who have had the opportunity to make their mark largely because of Fred’s encouragement, advice and tangible assistance. There are countless stories of Fred Abramson’s having sent someone’s resume to a friend or making a phone call to recommend a young black lawyer for a job. And Fred then kept in touch with these lawyers to see how they were getting along.”

The Honorable Paul L. Friedman

Abramson Scholarship Fund Event
Abramson Scholarship Fund Event

“He never forgot the crucial role education played in his success, and he had a special concern for people seeking to pursue their dreams of higher education. He understood that when well-educated young people return to their community, they improve it — not just through their own success but by their participation in civic life.

Fred had a warmth and a sweetness that endeared him to everyone — with a smile and a contagious laugh to match. He was never too busy to take a phone call and discuss your problem. He genuinely liked helping people and never made you feel he was too busy to help."

The Honorable Gladys Kessler