Edwin M Lee Community Leadership Award Scholarship


Edwin M. Lee Community Leadership Award Scholarship

With donations made to the Edwin M. Lee Memorial Foundation Fund and directly to the Edwin M. Lee Community Leadership Award Scholarship through the Franklin Alumni Association & Foundation (FAA&A), the Lee Family is grateful and proud to be able to award annual scholarships since 2018, to deserving graduating seniors at Franklin High School in memory of Ed.

From his beginnings as a civil rights lawyer fighting for tenant housing rights to tackling issues related to education, sustainability, immigration, affordable housing, and LGBT rights as Mayor of the City of San Francisco, Ed dedicated his life to making a difference in his local community and ensuring everyone’s voice was heard and included. An alumnus of Franklin High School (FHS), Ed was keenly interested in the success of his alma mater and that FHS students had access and support to pursue both academic and extracurricular goals. Ed inspired each FHS student to, “live your lives boldly,” and “keep the doors open for others,” — traits that many of the applicants clearly embody based on their achievements and goals for the future.

All applicants for the Edwin M. Lee Community Leadership Award Scholarship are in need of financial support. Many are from single parent households and are depended upon to help support their families, either financially or through other means such as taking care of younger siblings so their parent(s) can work. In some cases, Covid has made it challenging for the parent(s) to maintain their employment as many jobs are in service industries that have been heavily impacted by Covid. Through all this, the applicants have shown courage and resilience and we applaud all of them.

Thank you for your continued donations to the Edwin M. Lee Memorial Foundation Fund that allows us to award several scholarships to FHS graduating seniors each spring. We invite you to read about the 2020 and 2021 recipients; we think you will find them to be impressive as we did. As future scholarships are awarded, we will share how the recipients are choosing to live their lives boldly through their school and extracurricular activities, community involvement, and academic excellence.


2021 continued to be a challenging year, and many of the graduating seniors at Franklin High School wrote about their resilience and strength through their various experiences, community involvement, and leadership activities, as we read in many of the impressive applications for the Edwin M. Lee Community Leadership Award Scholarship. The Scholarship Committee had the opportunity to review 13 applications and after several lengthy discussions, two recipients for the 2021 Edwin M. Lee Community Award Scholarship were selected - Gisele Masmela and Jenny Kwan, both who are attending the University of Washington.

Gisele’s leadership and passion for her community were demonstrated by the fact that she was the class president of her 9th, 10th, and 11th grade classes, and ASB President in her senior year. Additionally, her action to lead a moment of silence honoring the lives lost to racism and her involvement in a group demonstration against anti-Asian hate-crimes and discrimination continued to show her leadership skills as well as her support for her community. Accomplishing this and other extra-curricular activities while maintaining a strong academic performance was truly impressive to us, to say the least. Giselle was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to assist her while she attends the UW, Tacoma campus.

Jenny was equally impressive. She demonstrated a stellar academic record, significant extracurricular achievements, and a noteworthy passion for supporting her community and others in need. In particular, we are impressed by her leadership and love for her community, demonstrated by her insight and ability to find opportunities for others to help others, making a greater impact on communities in need. The Scholarship Committee was happy to award Jenny with a $1,000 scholarship to assist with her endeavors as she attends the UW, Seattle campus.


While most everything came to a screeching halt in 2020 due to Covid 19, it didn't stop the Lee Family from awarding scholarships to deserving graduating seniors in the Class of 2020 at Franklin High School. In fact, after reading how the seniors were persevering through this challenging time, we felt compelled to award a few more scholarships than in previous years. Below are the recipients of the Edwin M. Lee Community Leadership Award Scholarships in 2020:

Cam Che was the recipient of $1,000 to use while attending the University of Washington, Seattle campus. The president of the National Honor Society for multiple years and founder of the FHS Medical Club. Cam also had a strong interest in biochemistry. His goal of becoming a general surgeon was influenced by his mother’s medical condition. His dream of building a hospital that accepts anyone, regardless of financial status, would allow anyone to have access to hospital care.

Sophia Nguyen was also awarded $1,000 while attending the University of Washington, Seattle campus. Sophia’s passion for social justice and activism along with her interest in science, fueled her desire to improve the STEM program at FHS and develop new curriculum to be more inclusive and attract more members who might not previously been given the opportunity to be involved in the program.

Danny Nguyen is attending Seattle University and was the recipient of a $500 scholarship. His passion to help others stems from his family background and understanding the importance of supporting others. Overcoming his shyness, Danny’s goal is to become a nurse so he can help others in his community and beyond.

Amy Pham is attending the University of Washington, Seattle campus. Coming from a single-parent household, she understands what it is like to have to forego medical and/or dental procedures due to one’s financial circumstances. Her desire to help others through affordable healthcare coincides with her interest in the medical field. Amy was the recipient of a $500 scholarship.

Kanoa Wong has a strong interest in film, mostly due to his health condition causing him to spend many days at home watching movies and television. His experience producing a weekly segment and then directing a show at FHS, fueled his interest in film even more. He overcame his health challenges and raised his grades well enough to attend Seattle University. Kanoa was awarded a $500 scholarship.


Edwin M. Lee Memorial Foundation Grant Recipients


OCA - Seattle Chapter - $1,500

OCA-Seattle is a civil-rights organization serving the Greater Seattle Chinese and Asian Pacific American community as well as other communities in the Pacific Northwest. OCA-Seattle is recognized in the local community for its advocacy of civil and voting rights as well as its sponsorship of community activities and events.

OCA-Seattle has been an active leader and community presence in efforts to combat hate crimes against Asian Pacific Americans. The grant supports these efforts and other related operational activities.


The Edwin M. Lee Community Leadership Award was established by the Lee Family in 2018 to assist students facing financial hardships in obtaining higher education and to pursue careers in the spirit of community and public service, social justice, and sustainability.

The grant provides scholarships to graduating seniors at Franklin High School in 2021.


The Seattle Music Partners is a non-profit organization that expands access to music-making opportunities for young learners who have been historically underserved in the Central District. Their mission is to cultivate a diverse and vibrant music-making community by providing youth with a free option to begin their musical journey with weekly one-on-one instruction. They have grown to serve hundreds and have expanded across four elementary schools and community sites.

This grant is made in memory of Deems Tsutakawa, a nationally recognized jazz artist, who was an avid supporter of the SMP. Deems was also a close friend of Edwin’s since their high school days.



The Edwin M. Lee Community Leadership Award was established by the Lee Family in 2018 to assist students facing financial hardships in obtaining higher education and to pursue careers in the spirit of community and public service, social justice, and sustainability.

The grant provides scholarships to graduating seniors at Franklin High School in 2020.


Previous Events



On November 23, 2019, the Lee Family hosted the Seattle Premiere of the documentary film “Mayor Ed Lee” – a film produced by two-time Emmy award winning broadcaster Rick Quan in partnership with the Chinese Historical Society of America in San Francisco. The event took place at Franklin High School with close to 400 attendees.

The film showcases the life and character of Mayor Lee and his upbringing. A seemingly ordinary man, he was the son of working-class immigrants, lived in Seattle’s public housing, became a champion of civil rights and equal opportunity as an attorney in San Francisco, and rose to become San Francisco’s first Chinese American mayor.

Stories and reflections from Mayor Lee’s family, childhood friends, former Mayor Willie Brown, current SF Mayor London Breed, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Washington Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, and others, were included in the film.

The Seattle event was made possible thanks to the generous support of the following sponsors:

Franklin High School
Deems Tsutakawa Band
Jones Soda Company
UW American Ethnic Studies
Seattle OCA Advocates/PICA (OCA – Asian Pacific Advocates of Greater Seattle/Preconquest Indigenous Cultures and its Aftermath)
CACA (Chinese American Citizens Alliance)
APICAT (API Coalition Advocating Together for Health)
Seattle First Hill Lions Club
New Seasons Market
Kin On
Homestyle Dim Sum

The film can be viewed at: https://vimeo.com/306902100


Ed Lee was an avid golfer and strong friend and supporter of public golf courses and programs the public could readily access. His passion for golf was met with his passion for community service by organizing, sponsoring and participating in charitable golf tournaments throughout his adult life.

To further his legacy on charitable golf tournaments, family and friends organized the first SF Mayor Edwin M. Lee Memorial Golf Tournament in June, 2019 in the Seattle area. The event also paid tribute to Dr. John Lee (no relation to Ed Lee), also an avid golfer and founder of the Bogey Bear Jr. Golf Foundation of Seattle, a charitable organization providing basic and positive life skill opportunities for inner-city youth through the game of golf. The Bogey Bear Foundation was the designated beneficiary of the net proceeds from that tournament.

Thanks to the tremendous outpouring of support from the organizers, community, players, sponsors and others, the event was a huge success selling out weeks in advance, raising substantial funds, and benefitting hundreds of youths served through Bogey Bear. Over 180 players, volunteers, and golf course staff joined together on a bright sunny morning to participate in this family-oriented event held at the Auburn Golf Course, followed by a nice BBQ lunch and fun-filled awards and raffle prize banquet (see pictures).

Many of the participants expressed their appreciation and gratefulness for the opportunity to gather with family and friends to recognize a local native son who despite humble beginnings, rose to become one of the most admired leaders of our time; and also remember the founder of the BB Jr. Foundation that continues to nourish the positive development of today’s youth.

Efforts to host another golf tournament to benefit other charitable organizations were stymied by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The family of Mayor Ed Lee are monitoring the pandemic and are hopeful that conditions will improve soon. We have begun planning activities to present The Mayor Edwin M. Lee Memorial Golf Tournament 2022. While many details have yet to be worked out, we’re delighted with the strong interest and support expressed from many of you and potential sponsors.


Click here for more photos