Fostering a Legacy of Excellence: WV Black Excellence Sets Goal to Award More Scholarships to Future Black Leaders

Its mission is grounded in inspiring and promoting the next generation of leaders through exposure to models of excellence from West Virginia.

In a resounding celebration of Black Excellence, WV Black Excellence (WVBE) is poised to, with the help of continued community giving, disburse four scholarships to deserving Black student leaders from West Virginia. With unwavering dedication, WVBE is committed to providing outstanding high school seniors with the financial support they need to pursue higher education or alternative career pathways. As the Aug. 1 scholarship disbursement date approaches, WVBE is asking for your support to grow from 1K to 2K awards to each student.

Tracey Palmer, the visionary founder of WV Black Excellence, started the organization after reflecting on her experience of leaving West Virginia and started thinking about the many who left West Virginia, vowing never to return due to the painful associations with their upbringing and hometowns.

Tracey Palmer, Visionary Founder of West Virginia Black Excellence

“I started WV Black Excellence to remind us that in our pursuit for there, we must not forget about the here that still needs us. Here needs us to stop watching things happen and be of impact by sharing our time, talent, and treasure. Here needs us to be a philanthropic arm where we were once benefactors.” – Tracey Palmer, Founder of WV Black Excellence

Almost two decades ago, Palmer found herself in “escape from here” mode, with a little boy on her hip and a world to leave behind. At the time, West Virginia represented dreams deferred, lost opportunities, and a youth that seemed to slip away. However, as the years passed, Palmer realized the void she left in her community and felt the call to return and give back and build on her memories of hope and carefree living, where villages and communities came together to both discipline and celebrate.

WV Black Excellence’s mission is grounded in inspiring and promoting the next generation of leaders through exposure to models of excellence from West Virginia. Recognizing that success stories from people who share similar backgrounds and experiences can be a powerful source of motivation, WVBE showcases individuals who look like the youth they seek to empower. These narratives of triumph resonate deeply, igniting hope and encouragement among the aspiring leaders of tomorrow.

Central to WVBE’s vision is the cultivation of community collaboration by creating and promoting positive opportunities and narratives of excellence. The organization believes in bridging the gap between successful individuals and the youth, fostering mentorship and support networks that will fuel the ambitions of future leaders. The advisory board, consisting of prominent individuals such as Frank Walker II, Mikki Owens, Dr. Chris Jackson, Erika Boxley, Latausha Taylor, Ricci Kellum (former WVBE Scholarship Recipient) and Jennifer Davis, plays a crucial role in guiding WVBE towards its mission of empowering the next generation of Black leaders.

To further recognize and celebrate Black Excellence, WVBE also presents the annual Black Excellence Trailblazer Award. (Note: BBG Publisher Crystal Good was honored in 2023!) This prestigious honor is bestowed upon individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievements in their respective fields, serving as beacons of inspiration and empowerment for others. The esteemed awardees have shown remarkable dedication and commitment to their communities and beyond. They exemplify the essence of Black Excellence, and their exceptional stories inspire generations to come.

With an annual scholarship program that has already provided financial assistance to over twenty future leaders, WV Black Excellence stands as a testament to the power of investing in the potential of West Virginia’s youth. WVBE impact is felt not only in dollars but in the dreams it nurtures and the futures it shapes, reminding all that Black Excellence is a part of Black “By God” West Virginia and always has been. 

Please donate and support WVBE.

Scholarship Awardees to date include: 

2021 WVBE Scholarship Recipients 

Ania Ross

Ariana Foster

Ashlyn Bell

Deacon Hodges

Jars Oden

Jayden Johnson

Ricci Kellum

Samuel Sanders

Zakiyah Bailey

Zyiahbailey Bailey 

2022 WVBE Scholarship Recipients 

Maniya Hunt

Jayda Witcher

LaZharya Jackson 

Elijah Poore

Tatyana Tolliver

2023 WVBE Scholarship Recipients 

Lyric Green

Melanese Benjamin

Jade Wilkerson 

WVBE Kelvin “KJ” Taylor Community Scholarship Recipients 

2021 Jaimelle Claytor

2022 Tanya Taylor

2023  Leisha Lee

WV Black Excellence Trailblazer Awardees:


Aaron Dobson

Aaliyah Dunham

Betty C. Spencer

Carl Lee

Dr. R. Charles Byers

Shawnton Forte


Preston Hall

Bob Thompson 

Roslyn Ellis

Rev. Matthew Watts

William H. Harding

Hollis Lewis 

Joey Oden

Lakeisha Barron Brown


Dr. Tina M. Beatty

Terry L. Cyrus

Belinda Fuller

Dr. T. Ramon Stuart

Leeshia Lee

Superhero DJ Jon Quick

Crystal Good

Frank Walker II

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