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The Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation (ALEF), a non-profit organization funded by foundations and companies, supports and  enables young men and women from Appalachia to pursue higher education through scholarships and leadership curriculum. The program includes an emphasis toward the preparation required to be the leaders of the next decade.  The concept of operations for ALEF is to partner with established academic institutions across Appalachia to provide the technical skills necessary as the basis for credible leadership.

The mission of ALEF is inclusive and fundamental:


To recruit and educate young men and women who are academically qualified, exhibit a strong work ethic and demonstrate leadership qualities but would otherwise find college unattainable.


To develop the Fellows into skilled citizens and future leaders for Appalachia and beyond.


To develop leadership fellowships and leadership honors programs that provide the opportunity for higher education institutions to focus on character and leadership.

The foundation will offer full-service opportunities to disadvantaged youth of West Virginia. The core values of the foundation are the same values that have been this nation’s foundation for centuries:


To strive for character, leadership and technical excellence


To developer a sense of integrity in all matters


To put service before self and instill that value across all Fellows

ALEF offers recipients an opportunity to join a fellowship, which includes a scholarship and leadership/character development curriculum. The fellowship requires applicants who find college financially challenging to demonstrate a need. Applicants are also required to have scholarly credentials and achievements through leadership, service and positive work ethic throughout their public school years.

The concept of operations will provide a focus beyond the technical skills achieved at our universities and colleges; leadership and character development will be practiced via leadership curricula, seminars and guest lecturers who are credible leaders.  Appalachia is populated with young men and women who have the potential to assume that mantle — to be the next round of national and state leaders.  The challenge, yours and mine together, is to find those young men and women and ensure that they have the opportunity, regardless of their social or economic position, to be full-contact participants in this nation’s role as the leader of the free world.


Robert Foglesong (retired), four-star general, native West Virginian and founder of the esteemed Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation (ALEF), is an accomplished leader and seasoned professional whose career in leadership has spanned nearly 33 years.  His 33 - plus years in the United States Air Force included extended work in leadership and character development, education, training, and management in the United States and Europe.  His superb people skills and success in team-building promise a strong, successful leader for the ALEF organization.  In regard to his early foundation General Foglesong stated, Character first is the top core value in the organization I have served for the past 33 years, a fundamental value my parents taught me when I was a young boy in rural Appalachia and caring teachers and mentors reinforced every day at school and in my community.”


ALEF provides academic and financial support to talented young men and women who display academic and leadership abilities.  ALEF fellows are selected from Appalachian high schools as promising achievers in the classroom and the community. ALEF partners with universities and provides academic counseling, retention services and scholarships to talented fellows chosen based on demonstrated need. More detailed information about the selection process can be found by clicking on the apply tab located above.