Wednesday, September 30, African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) was announced as one of twelve winners of the Knight Green Line Challenge, a contest designed to revitalize neighborhoods surrounding St. Paul’s Light Rail. Administered by the St. Paul Foundation, this is the second year of the challenge, which launched in 2014.
With goals to expand economic opportunity, dismantle divides, and to foster civic engagement within the community, the Knight Green Line Challenge was open for any individual, business, or nonprofit to apply. The grant was more competitive this year, the Knight Green Line Challenge received over 300 applicants and awarded 12 winners a share in $574,000 of grant funds. Last year, 16 winners of the challenge shared only $530,000.
AEDS was awarded $60,000 for its Little Africa Cultural Corridor project. The project is designed to better market and support local African owned businesses and entrepreneurs. The idea is to bolster Little Africa’s position as one of the Twin Cities vibrant and distinctive cultural districts. AEDS will partner with the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation to complete the Little Africa project.
“I am very thrilled to see and witness that they (AEDS) were one of the award winners” Said Dr. Abraham Dalu, the Operations Manager of A&A Reliable Home Health Care.
An avid supporter of the Little Africa Cultural Corridor project and a recipient of the marketing and business development services AEDS provides, Dr. Dalu was one of many attendees of a banquet hosted by the Knight Green Line Challenge Wednesday evening to honor the 12 winning applicants at the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul.
“With Little Africa, the concept is to bring people together so that they can share a common future.” Said Dr. Dalu.
During the ceremony members of the Knight Green Line Challenge presented each of the 12 winners with custom coffee mugs inscribed with the titles of their innovative projects. The winners each had an opportunity to share their innovated project ideas with the audience and gave impassioned speeches about the goals of their projects.
“We’re humbled to receive the award” Said Gene Gelgelu, Executive Director of AEDS.
Representatives of each winning project brought staff and loved ones to celebrate the night. Over all the ceremony was fun-loving and joyous. Towards the end of the ceremony, attendees mingled and conversed with one another. The atmosphere of the night was electric with promise and a shared ambition to bring life back into the diverse neighborhoods along the St. Paul Green Line.
Special Thanks to LISC, The Minneapolis Foundation, the Nexus Community Partners, The Knight Green Line Challenge, and many others for their continuous support of AEDS and our Little Africa project.