The 3rd Annual BELIEVE GALA 2021

Dr. Kiplee Bell-Morris, CEO of the KJM Memorial Foundation with Swoop at The 3rd Annual BELIEVE GALA 2021 at the Philadelphia Marriott Old City. The KJM Memorial Foundation is named after Colonel Kevin John McAleese who was diagnosed with the terminal brain tumor, Glioblastoma. Taken way too soon, the Foundation was created to honor his legacy and provide support to families with a loved one fighting brain cancer. The Foundation also provides scholarship funds to women in the State of Pennsylvania seeking higher education.

According to a Philadelphia Inquirer article:

Kevin John McAleese had been active in the Miss America Pageant as a volunteer. In the early 1990s, Mr. McAleese was called to escort some Miss America contestants in the Philadelphia area.

It was through his work with Miss America that he became interested in reviving the Miss Philadelphia pageant, which had gone dormant in the mid-1980s, colleagues said.

He brought the contest back in 1996 and served as executive director, enlisting the help of sponsors, volunteers, and others, colleagues said….”His vision is essentially what kept the pageant alive,” said Kiplee Bell, who was Miss Philadelphia in 1998 and is now a physician. “And Kevin was committed to providing scholarship dollars and access to education for women who might not necessarily have that opportunity.”

The Believe Gala was held on Sept 25th, 2021  at the Marriott in Old City Philadelphia.  Tickets are $150 which includes open bar, cocktail reception, three course meal and dessert reception.  It was a masked, socially distanced black-tie event benefiting Glioblastoma patients + families as well as scholarships for women. 

Guests enjoyed lite bites and cocktails on the patio outside the ballroom as well as the cocktail area, where they also checked out fabulous auction items.   

There was a Keynote Speech from Dr. Bookvar from Netflix’s series Lenox Hill, performances from local Philadelphia talent, celebration of this year’s KJM honorees, and a silent auction.

Amanda VanAllen joined the PHL17 team in April of 2021 and wife Kira Rivera
Fun fact, Amanda used to work at the same station as her co-anchor Nick Foley.
Bobbie Biddle, Deborah Butcher, Brintcha Caspa and Tim Fenner

In an effort to carry on this important work that Kevin can no longer do personally, the Kevin John McAleese Foundation conducts an annual scholarship essay contest to award financial assistance towards college tuition or associated expenses. Past KJM Scholarship recipients are applying their awards to degrees in the fields of law, medicine, journalism, business and entertainment. Stay tune for information on next year’s gala and hope you can join us. Have a great day and enjoy the return of fall.