The James and Nellie Butler Scholarship for Community Service

The Albemarle County Democratic Party is pleased to offer four $500 scholarships in the names of James R. and Nellie M. Butler to honor their contributions to the community, particularly their support of public education and their dedication to public service. The annual scholarships will be awarded to one Albemarle County public high school senior at each of the County high schools, who is planning to attend college and has demonstrated a determination to contribute to his or her community as the Butlers have done. Applicants are judged on the basis of their academic record, their commitment to public service, and financial need.

Since the creation of these scholarships by the Albemarle County Democratic Party to honor James and Nellie Butler, we have provided over $20,000 to county high school students to help defray some of the costs of college.

About the Butlers

James and Nellie Butler lived in Albemarle County for over 40 years, where they were recognized as leaders in public education and public affairs, voter registration, civic engagement, and in their own vibrant church community. 

In 1981, James R. Butler became the first African American in Albemarle County to be elected to the County Board of Supervisors, representing the county's Rivanna District, where he quickly established himself as a champion of fair and equitable teacher salaries. He was a strong and persistent advocate for quality education in Albemarle County schools, an active defender of voter rights, and a leader of recurring voter registration efforts.

Working tirelessly to ensure that the Supervisors would represent all members of the Albemarle community, Mr. Butler also played a vital role in the establishment of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center. He was the first African American Executive Director of an Extension Service office in Virginia, a position in which he served for 26 years. James was also a U.S. Army veteran, a deacon and trustee at the St. John Baptist Church (Cobham, VA), a board member of the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District, the Ivy Creek Foundation, and the Charlottesville NAACP. Recognizing James for his many contributions to Albemarle County in 2000, the county named the Baker-Butler Elementary School was for him and for John Baker, the first African-American Chair of the Albemarle County School Board. Born in Woodville, Virginia on November 15, 1914, James passed away on March 9, 2003.

Nellie M. Butler worked as a teacher in technical education, and she also served as a Girl Scout leader and a 4-H advisor for much of her adult life. She taught at Piedmont Technical Education Center in Culpeper for over 25 years, and, alongside her husband, James, worked tirelessly on behalf of numerous civic engagement and voter registration efforts. Born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 29, 1923, Nellie passed away on December 28, 2015.

Scholarship Application Form

To apply for this year's James and Nellie Butler Scholarship, fill out and submit the form below; request one letter of recommendation from a teacher, administrator, or school adviser/counselor; and instruct that person to submit the letter (along with a brief summary of cumulative GPA, SAT or ACT test scores, and notable coursework) to Albemarle Democratic Party Butler Scholarship Committee Chair, Margie Shepherd, at

Application deadline: Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

Name *
Briefly summarize your plans for your prospective college education, including schools of interest, possible fields of study, and why you have an interest in these schools and academic disciplines.
Briefly describe your previous and ongoing experience in community service, adding a note also about any plans or aspirations you have for future community service. Also include here your past and present leadership roles at your school.
Name of Teacher, Administrator, or Adviser Who Will Send Letter of Recommendation *
Name of Teacher, Administrator, or Adviser Who Will Send Letter of Recommendation
Please list and describe any notable achievements and any honors or awards you have received.