Alliance for Excellence has a long standing record of bringing together the black church with community colleges and civic organizations to increase the educational opportunities for African American students.

"Partnerships are critical to the success of the Alliance and African American students. It takes a village."


Alliance for Excellence seeks to increase African American enrollment at area colleges.

Academic Success

Alliance for Excellence seeks to increase African American college retention and graduation rates

Career Opportunities

Alliance for Excellence promotes post graduate employment and career opportunities.

Celebrating 30+ Years

The Alliance for Excellence celebrates 30+ Years


Recruitment, Retention, and Completion by Design

 Alliance for Excellence is a partnership developed by black churches with community colleges for the purpose of increasing opportunities for minorities in higher education. This alliance for educational access and excellence was born in the Gilmer neighborhood of Roanoke, Virginia in 1986. When the minority affairs program at Virginia-Western Community College became a victim of budget cuts, members of several black churches, including Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and St. Paul United Methodist Church, initiated discussions with the college. The principle interest was how black churches and the local community college might work together in order to encourage broader participation in higher education, through local educational opportunities and the possibility of encouraging future studies at four-year institutions.

The key element of this effort was the collaboration of the black church with local public community colleges.  Black churches in south-central Virginia have an historic commitment to higher education and civil rights. Community colleges are the most accessible and affordable options for post-secondary education. Black churches have provided traditional leadership and influence throughout the minority community. Community colleges provide a variety of educational programs leading to specific vocational certificates, and associate degrees, along with transfer opportunities to four-year colleges. The community college training partnership with business and industry provide the best real avenue for employment beyond the classroom.

The Alliance has been extremely successful in meeting its goals through collaborative partnerships. Today, the Alliance for Excellence is building new relationships and alliances to meet the needs of the African Americans in four key service locations. These areas include Danville, Lynchburg, Martinsville, and Roanoke.


Danville, Lynchburg, and Martinsville have dynamic programs on the campuses of Danville Community College, Central Virginia Community College and Patrick Henry Community College, respectively. Roanoke's Alliance for Excellence is piloting a project that focuses on the Fairland Community, a primarily African American community, with the ambitious goal of ensuring that every household has at least one individual holding either a academic or workforce credential.



AFE Receives $10,000 Grant

Patrick Henry Community College

In celebration of student success, the Alliance for Excellence held its 21st Annual Academic Awards Program on Friday, June 2, 2017 at Patrick Henry Community College.  Over thirty-five students were awarded for outstanding academic performance and community service.

Ophelia Griggs was the keynote speaker and provided an inspiring, personal account of her pursuit to achieving her doctoral degree and how education is a life-long journey.  Throughout her delivery she spoke of how her mother, aunt, and grandfather’s words of encouragement served as motivators during obstacles and hard times over the course of her studies.

During the event Steve Darr, the Executive Director of the Community College Ministries and Director of Alliance for Excellence gifted $10,000 to the Patrick Henry Community College program.  Jean Wilson, Coordinator of Alliance for Excellence shared, “We will be able to put that money to good use.”  The advisory board is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for its students and impact that the gift will have on the organization.

The Alliance encourages students to dream big while providing the support and connections to make their dreams a reality.

Central Virginia Community College

Rev. Steve Darr, Director

209 Otey Street | Blacksburg, VA 24060


Danville Community College

Patrick Henry Community College

Roanoke Valley