About

Welcome to the Kevin John McAleese Memorial Scholarship Foundation for the advancement and support of those seeking to use their lives to give back to their communities through service, leadership, humility, compassion, enthusiasm, and unrelenting faith. 

Colonel Kevin J. McAleese (US Army, ret.), who passed away on February 15, 2013 at the age of 55 after a two year battle with brain cancer, positively impacted the lives of thousands, not only in Philadelphia, but around the world.

Born in New York and raised in Hicksville, Long Island, Kevin graduated from Sienna College, and moved to Philadelphia in 1980. As a civilian, he worked as an executive recruiter for a national search firm for many years before starting his own firm in 2005. In his last years, as he battled brain cancer, Kevin served the Navy’s Wounded Warrior Project, helping injured service men and women re-enter the workforce.

Kevin was a successful businessman with a storied thirty-year career in the Army reserves. He retired in 2009 at the rank of Colonel after serving meaningful tours of duty in Iraq and Bosnia working with local governments to improve the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of displaced citizens. However, his greatest passion in life was helping young people grow into accomplished, caring citizens. The longtime Executive Director of the Miss Philadelphia Scholarship Organization, Kevin tirelessly championed support for the college education of the Philadelphia area’s best and brightest.

Nothing would have pleased Kevin more than to know that, even in death, he would still provide a better life for others.  Please help to create a tangible legacy that will continue to provide college scholarships, in Kevin’s name, to deserving young women in the Philadelphia area.

Though many mistakenly think of the Miss America Pageant as a “beauty pageant,” those who look deeper find that the Miss America Organization and its state and local affiliates attract high achievers who truly make a difference in the world.  Through higher education and a strong focus on community involvement, The Miss America Organization not only helps these women to achieve and surpass their own dreams, but gives them a step-up to help the greater community at large. The Miss America Organization is also the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance for women.

The Miss Philadelphia Organization is one of its most celebrated local Pageants.

When Kevin brought back the Miss Philadelphia Pageant in 1996 after seven years of dormancy, he created a local Pageant that has consistently awarded more scholarship money than any in Pennsylvania and more than most State pageants. Awarding over $180,000 since 1996, The Miss Philadelphia Organization has provided college scholarships for not only Pageant winners and top finishers but other contestants each year. Each of its participants have served the Philadelphia community through countless hours of volunteer work for a variety of worthy causes including: Welfare to Work, Big Brothers / Big Sisters, AIDS Alive, The Greater Philadelphia Food Bank and The Susan G. Komen Foundation. All of its winners have gone on to notable personal and professional success.

Kevin’s Miss Philadelphia’s – In Their Own Words

“I used to be determined to raise awareness of pediatric brain injury and illness, until I met Kevin. He showed me how blind I was to an incredible group of people who needed this passion fighting for them. He talked to me about his personal battles with brain injury and illness and talked of all the men and women he knew who sustained traumatic brain injury at war. My platform evolved and I spent much of my year as Miss Philly visiting and supporting veterans. Nowadays, I am in graduate school pursuing a Doctorate of Physical Therapy so that I can work with this population of patients that I didn't know existed before Kevin opened my eyes. Every day I think about how much I learned from him. I know I wouldn't be who I am without Kevin inspiring me to think bigger, give more, and love greater.”
Lauren Bilski, Miss Philadelphia 2012

“Kevin was like having your own personal cheerleader right by your side. Cheering you on through life to endless possibilities. Even though he may not be here today, his spirit is still not just by my side cheering me on but by all of his Miss Philadelphia's.”
Maria Sciorillo, Miss Philadelphia 2011

“It’s a program that has created doctors, lawyers and business women, not just in the winners, but in the contestants from over the years.”
Ryann Richardson, Miss Philadelphia 2009

"I was honored to serve as Kevin's Miss Philadelphia in 2006.  When I became Miss Philadelphia, I was a 2nd year law student at Villanova University School of Law.  It was through Kevin's guidance, encouragement and love that I found a mission in the larger community serving children, particularly children with special educational needs.  When I graduated from law school, my $10,000 Miss Philadelphia Scholarship financed my monthly student loan payments as I took the bar exam and supported me early in my career when I could not afford to pay them back on my own yet.   Today, I'm an attorney and a performer in Philadelphia and I am proud to serve as the Co-Executive Director of the Miss Philadelphia Scholarship Organization.   

Kevin taught me what it meant to be glorious without ever seeking personal glory. He was a constant reminder that we are all humble servants of one higher power and that our time on earth should be used to serve and love other people.  I miss him terribly and pray for his guidance and help on a daily basis. I can't count how many times even within the last week I have wished I could talk to him or ask his advice.  Kevin's legacy lives on through humble service in our city and in small acts of kindness that help better the life of another.  He is always on my mind and, in moments of struggle, I picture him standing over my shoulder telling me it's going to be ok.  I will always love Kevin and I will never, ever forget him.
Mary Kaye Anthony, Miss Philadelphia 2006

“Kevin McAleese changed my life. From the moment I walked into the Miss Philadelphia program I was part of something greater than myself. Through Kevin's tireless commitment, I earned the scholarship money I needed to become the first in my family to not only graduate college but earn a master's degree. What's more, I realized that service to others is what defines each Miss Philadelphia and why this program is so much more than just a pageant. It is an unparalleled platform for personal growth, community outreach and the lifelong bonds of legacy dating back to the very first Miss America Pageant in 1921.”
Alicia Roberts, Miss Philadelphia 2003

“Kevin believed in education more than anyone I have ever known, and had the most positive attitude and can-do spirit of anyone I have ever known. To say he inspired me to be a better person would be an understatement. His words stick with me to this day –‘always take the high road!’  I am forever humbled to have been a part of Kevin’s life, and forever grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the Miss Philadelphia program. This is an amazing program, and he was an amazing person. Kevin always pushed me to do more and to do better. He is the reason I became the first in my family to graduate college. Truthfully, he is the reason I even considered college.   He had a way of believing in you when you didn’t believe in yourself.   Through the toughest battle of all, even in the end, Kevin always showed grace, courage, and certainly always thought of others first.”
Bethany Watson, Miss Philadelphia 2002

“Impossible to put into words the impact Kevin had on my life, but just a couple of thoughts: Kevin helped me to get my first job interview right out of college.  He told the interviewer that I was Miss Philadelphia and they brought me in for an interview, they later told me, just for a laugh.  After speaking with me for fifteen minutes, they offered me the job right on the spot and that changed the course of my career.  Kevin's constant support, connections, and positivity made that possible for me. When Kevin was deployed, Agnes White and I ran the Miss Philadelphia Pageant.  At 24 years old, that opportunity was daunting, but following in Kevin's footsteps challenged me to be bold, fearless and never, ever give up.  When compared with what he faced at war, planning the pageant was easy; just hearing about his experiences gave me perspective.  What is vital to the mission must be preserved and promoted at all costs; always take the high road and never waste time and energy on gossip and negativity.”
Kate Cohen, Miss Philadelphia 2000

“What can I say that has not been said? When I think of Kevin, I think of the song "if I can help somebody....” If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody how they're traveling wrong then my living shall not be in vain. If I can do my duty, as a good man ought, if I can bring back beauty to a world up wrought, if I can spread love's message, as the Master taught, then my living shall not be in vain."
Kiplee Bell, Miss Philadelphia 1998

To learn more about these former Miss Philadelphias and the Organization, go to http://missphilly.org/www.MissPhilly.org/Legacy.html. Please help us ensure that Kevin’s spirit of generosity lives on for years to come by making a donation today. All funds will go to the Kevin J. McAleese Scholarship Fund continuing this great and kind man’s legacy of helping young women obtain their college degree and achieve their dreams.

This fund will serve as part of his legacy going forward as a continual reminder to celebrate his life by blessing another.

"Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, Joy. O Divine Master; grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."



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