Kelley Mitchell, Diné (Navajo), American Indian College Fund Program Officer for College Access and Success, has been selected to participate in a year-long Neighborhood Builders Leadership program offered by the Bank of America. This opportunity comes as part of the Neighborhood Builders Social Equity Award presented to College Fund President and CEO, Cheryl Crazy Bull, in October. Crazy Bull was also given the chance to direct a $200,000 grant to the College Fund.
The leadership program provides strategic growth and development training to set long-term success. As a participant in one of the nation’s largest and longest-standing philanthropic nonprofit leadership development programs, Mitchell will join a network of emerging leader peers and alumni from across the nation. Participants will attend three leadership development sessions in 2024 and have access to Bank of America’s suite of leadership webinars. Crazy Bull chose Mitchell for this opportunity because she is a tribal education leader whose work is important to Native students and communities the College Fund serves.
Mitchell has worked in education since 2010, serving Native American students at both the college and high school level. She is an expert in tribal education, holistic student support, and college access and success programming.
In her current role, she leads the College Fund’s work in college access and scholar retention and completion. Her team is responsible for serving over 1200 scholars annually with culturally relevant programming to support American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students attending over 100 institutions of higher education across the U.S., including all 35 tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). Additionally, she oversees college access work in high schools on or near tribal reservations with over 60 schools and partners annually. Mitchell leads this work with a deep understanding of the AI/AN experience since she comes from a family of TCU graduates, including herself.
Mitchell received her bachelor’s degree in museum studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts, a TCU in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she also served as an admissions recruiter following her graduation. She is passionate about tribally centered education, having served as a college engagement counselor for the Native American Community Academy (NACA), a K-12 charter school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and as a founding board member for the American Indian Academy of Denver in Colorado. Kelley continues to support AI/AN student college access and encourages students to make their mark with confidence in themselves and their cultural identity as Native people.
In 2022, Mitchell was named the Inventive Innovator at the College Fund, which celebrates an employee who solves problems with unique and creative solutions. In 2023, Kelley received the Clever Communicator award, an achievement given to those who best present information in a precise, effective, and original manner.
Upon being invited to participate in the leadership development program, Mitchell said, “It’s an understatement when I say I’m honored to have this opportunity to represent the College Fund, my family, and communities. I look forward to growing as a Native leader working towards building sustainable pathways for AIAN students to college and success.”
About the American Indian College Fund — The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 34 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $17.4 million in scholarships and other direct student support to American Indian students in 2022-23. Since its founding in 1989 the College Fund has provided more than $319 million in scholarships, programs, community, and tribal college support. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.