African American Leadership Society

African American family

To grow our region, we must close the expanding racial opportunity gap.

Closing the gap means reducing and ultimately eliminating the disparities and opportunity differentials for human potential and economic contributions by people of color.

United Way’s African American Leadership Society (AALS) seeks to foster the next generation of local Black leaders and give every African American child in every Quad Cities neighborhood an equal opportunity to succeed.

Ready to join and be a part of the solution? Read more about AALS programs and membership benefits.


Education logo


57% of BLACK
27% of WHITE

students do not
read on grade level
by 3rd grade.


Income icon


59% of BLACK
33% of WHITE

do not make
living wages.


Health icon


21% of BLACK
23% of WHITE

residents have difficulty
accessing and receiving
health care.




Donate Now

Contribute to AALS and help foster the next generation of African Americans in the Quad Cities.

Help advance community awareness of the disparities in our region’s African American community by participating in public speaking opportunities and advocating on behalf of AALS.

Attend our AALS events and participate in hands-on volunteer activities, including mentoring kids, reading with kids and more. Look for more information coming soon.

AALS sponsors a variety of community events throughout the year. Learn more about what’s happening and how you can get involved here.


United Way’s AALS will partner with elementary schools in Scott and Rock Island County to address disparities in education; more specifically reading proficiency and mathematics for African American students.

Girls’ Mentorship Program – Girls on Fire
Preadolescent girls face a variety of problems that drastically differ from their male counterparts. Social media and pop culture are placing more pressure on girls, earlier in their lives, to look and act like adults, creating new levels of anxiety and self-consciousness that, in turn, interfere with the students’ education. The Girl’s Mentorship Program aims to provide a safe space for young girls to convene and discuss the ongoing struggles of being an adolescent in a society saturated by distorted, unrealistic social media standards.

Books & Barbers
When you look good, you feel good.

Sponsored by Quad City Bank & Trust, this program is inspired by old school, barbershop mentorship.

Powered by male barbers and role models in the community, Books & Barbers aims to provide a safe space for young men.

Each month students will receive a no-cost haircut, literacy and hygiene kit and one-on-one time with dedicated volunteers.

TO PARTNER WITH AALS or sponsor one of these programs, contact Kayla Babers via email or call 563.344.0322.

Books & Barbers logo

Black & Giving Back 
AALS honors its commitment to developing African Americans of all ages to secure management and leadership roles. Leadership positions in business, government, academia and the community will create opportunities for growth, independence and having a voice in our outcomes.

Hosted by AALS, this inaugural gathering will award brilliant African American students and honor community members that embody the AALS mission and vision. 

AALS recognizes the unique strengths and challenges that exist within the Black-led nonprofit community. Too often Black-led organizations miss out on opportunities, funding and professional networking and development due to lack of visibility and access, making it difficult to scale their organizations at the rates of their white counterparts. Building Bridges will help close these gaps by equipping local Black organizations with resources, networking and professional development that traditionally are not readily accessible to African American populations. 
> Learn more.




AALS helps African Americans create pathways to success by reducing systemic inequities to help explore and establish new opportunities.

Mobilizing people and resources to improve African American lives in our community.

African American Leadership Society members join others in helping build a more vibrant and inclusive Quad Cities. We address needs in the African American community and become part of the solution with an emphasis on education, income, health; with leadership development and diversity, equity and inclusion as enduring core community priorities.



Rev. Dwight Ford photo

Rev. Dr. Dwight Ford
Project Now


Randy Moore photo

Randy Moore
Iowa American Water


Ryan Saddler photo

Ryan Saddler
St. Ambrose University


Ashley Allen 
Brandy Donaldson
Daniel Joiner 
Erie Johnson
Jabari Woods

Dr. LaDrina Wilson
Michael Cole 
Dr. Monica Smith 
Moses Robinson
Dr. Pandora Lawrence

Randy Moore 
Rev. Dr. Dwight Ford
Ryan Saddler 
Sherwin Robinson 
Rev. Dr. Melvin Grimes



Ashley Allen 
Erie Johnson 
Dr. Pandora Lawrence 
Dr. LaDrina Wilson 


Brandy Donaldson 
Rev. Dr. Melvin Grimes
Ryan Saddler


Join AALS link

Email AALS Manager Kayla Babers or call 563.344.0322.