Austin Scee was matched with Mike Gandy in 1997 by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlanta. The relationship was very fulfilling for both Austin and Mike. In 1999, Austin moved from Atlanta to Boston for business school. Mike visited Austin on campus, and had a chance to see what was possible in his life. Mike went on to graduate high school with honors, attended Colgate University, then worked on Wall Street before ultimately following in Austin’s footsteps, earning his MBA at at Harvard Business School in 2016, fifteen years after Austin.
After business school, Mike moved back to Atlanta to work for the Boston Consulting Group, and the two were finally living in the same city again for the first time since 1999. The pair determined to dedicate a portion of their professional lives going forward to fostering mentorship.
Trey and Kim Lambert own PowerUP Martial Arts, a martial arts studio in Atlanta. They have two sons, Kolton and Kegan, both of whom attended Garden Hills Elementary school in Buckhead when they were younger. Trey has been studying martial arts since he was a young boy, and when his sons were in elementary school, Trey offered karate classes after school. Together, Trey and Kim opened the gym in 2011, initially as an extension of the Garden Hills after school program. They built a beautiful facility, and like many founder owned gyms, they have a lot of excess capacity. Kim is a registered Vascular Technologist (Ultrasound), and supported the family financially when Trey left his career at Delta to focus fulltime on the gym.
Austin met Kim and Trey when his young son participated in one of Trey’s karate in January 2017. Austin told Kim how impressed he was with the way Trey managed the kids, and learned that not all the students at Power Up were able to pay. Austin learned that Kim and Trey had the facilities, the desire, and the capacity to help more kids, they just didn’t have the resources to provide free tuition.
Austin asked if they would consider teaming up to start a not-for-profit dedicated to subsidizing kids whose parents and guardians couldn’t afford tuition. And so, Power Up Scholarship Fund, Inc. was born.