The George Biddle Kelley Education Foundation was formed with a mission to engage in activities that provide information, resources, advocacy, programs and services to assist in the development of strong families in at-risk communities. The Foundation works in conjunction with other national and local organizations to promote events and programs that benefit these communities such as providing scholarships, conducting college bus tours, and hosting workshops to increase the youth’s awareness about responsibility, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
Through sponsorship solicitation and fundraising activities, the Foundation will be able to offer these scholarships and programs to the many worthy high school students in the community. GBKEF is named in honor of Troy, NY native and resident George Biddle Kelley. Born in 1884 to a fugitive slave from Virginia, Kelley would excel in studies in his youth before he matriculated to Cornell University to study civil engineering. There he would become one of the seven founding members of Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest Greek letter fraternity organized originally for black men. He would return to Troy after college to become not only the first African-American engineer registered in New York State, but one of Troy’s leading civic and social leaders in the 1940’s and one of the major proponents of race relations. The aims of the Alpha Phi Alpha, “Manly Deeds, Scholarship, and Love for All Mankind,” along with Kelley’s intense community involvement, are emulated by the membership of the foundation.