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


11% of BLACK
36% of WHITE

students reading on grade level
by 3rd grade.

Income icon


41% of BLACK
67% of WHITE

households earning a living wage.

Health icon


73% of BLACK
75% of WHITE

Quad Citizens who report having access to routine health care.


Get Involved

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

Donate Now

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.

Our Initiatives

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

Books & Barbers logo

During this three-month accelerator program, nine local Black nonprofit grassroots leaders participated in networking and professional development sessions. They also met with local experts to learn nonprofit operations principles, understand community dynamics and explore best practices for funding opportunities.

Thank you to our key funding partners: Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, Scott County Regional Authority, Momentum Fund and Hunt & Diane Harris.

Learn More

Ty LewisThe Ty Lewis Scholarship Program is a 10-month paid internship program that puts students on a fast track to success. The program provides financial support to attend St. Ambrose University, part-time employment during the school year, mentorship and a guaranteed career with Quad City Bank & Trust.

Thank you to Quad City Bank & Trust.

Read more about Ty Lewis' story.




Our Values

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.

2022 AALS Tri-Chairs


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

2022 AALS Steering Committee

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

2022 AALS Sub-Committees


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


Brandy Donaldson 
Rev. Dr. Melvin Grimes
Ryan Saddler


Email our African American Leadership Society Director Ty Lewis at or call 563.344.0317.