The Protégé Experience: Shirley Chisholm Education Foundation Launches First-of-its-Kind Mentorship Program

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On the 49th anniversary of Congresswoman Chisholm’s announcement of her historic candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, The Shirley Chisholm Foundation honors her legacy with a groundbreaking mentorship program for young women of color.

Shirley Chisholm Education Foundation

Shirley Chisholm Education Foundation

Today, the Shirley Chisholm Education Foundation is proud to announce the launch of its visionary mentorship program, The Protégé Experience, a comprehensive support system for young women of color ages 16 to 25, designed to provide them with the tools they need to overcome prejudices and barriers that perpetuate inequality around the world. The launch of this new program coincides with the redesign of the Shirley Chisholm Foundation’s online portal, accessible at, a name which pays tribute to the iconic Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, who made history 49 years ago this week as the first African-American woman to announce her candidacy for president of the United States of America.

The Protégé Experience will consist of three phases, entitled “Unbought and Unbossed,” “Catalyst for Change,” and “A Seat at the Table.” In the first phase, spanning three months, young women will take master classes with leading scholars and Ivy League professors on topics of mental health, leadership skills, and financial literacy. During “Catalyst for Change,” students will take those foundational skills and apply them towards solving a problem that impacts the women in their community. The final segment, “A Seat at the Table,” involves students selecting a mentor of their choosing who will support them as they begin their professional journeys. In allowing young women of color to choose their mentors, the Shirley Chisholm Education Foundation remakes a system that all too often sees young women of color slipping through the cracks.

“We carefully developed this program based on our own experiences as Black women and women of color in the professional sector,” says Simone Callender, founder and Executive Director of the Shirley Chisholm Foundation. “We don’t want to give these young girls a fish sandwich and be on our way. And we’re doing more than just teaching them to fish. We’re teaching them to find the pond.”

Simone Callender has the added connection of being the great-niece of Shirley Chisholm—and aims to honor her legacy through this program. Shirley Chisholm introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation, championed racial and gender equality throughout her career, and hired a congressional staff that was 100 percent female and more than 50 percent African-American, which was utterly unheard of at the time. “Her relentless, fearless spirit runs through the work we do here at the Foundation—but especially this program,” Callender adds.

The mission of the Shirley Chisholm Education Foundation is to create changemakers by providing self-development and virtual mentorship experiences for women, by women. The SCEF Virtual Mentoring Program envisions a community in which every young woman has access to nurturing relationships and support, allowing each of them to reach their full potential and make informed decisions as leaders of their communities.

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Ms. Simone Callender
Shirley Chisholm Education Foundation
+1 650-785-8333
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