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Join our team as a 2016-2017 VISTA

Fund development picture


Fund Development and Volunteer Recruitment Specialist VISTA

As the Fund Development and Volunteer Recruitment VISTA you will develop creative strategies to make our award winning nonprofit more effective in the work we do. Under the supervision of the Executive Director, our VISTA will work to establish and execute fund development strategies and lead our volunteer recruitment efforts.

Our VISTA will be a part of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) AmeriCorps VISTA program. In addition to the usual VISTA benefits (Relocation allowance, education award upon Successful completion of service, stipend, childcare assistance if eligible, choice of education award or end of service stipend, health coverage, and a living allowance), our Vista will have the opportunity to receive professional development training, have access to a number of MCN conferences, and much more through  the MCN VISTA program.

Learn more about the service opportunity here: Fund Development and Volunteer Recruitment Specialist VISTA


To Apply Click here or visit the MCN VISTA Program Website

 Applications due by May 13, 2016

 Contact: Jesse Chang   651-757-3083




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Little Africa Arts Series #2 recap: African Women Entrepreneurs & Artist Networking Event


Take a single step into the Flamingo Restaurant and you almost forget you have entered a restaurant—especially one that’s tucked away behind a Subway. With walls doused by the paintings of Little Africa artist Sara Endelew and window sills flecked with earthy East African cultural artifacts, from the inside Flamingo looks more like some soulful art gallery than a restaurant. It’s no surprise then that the restaurant served as the perfect location for Little Africa’s  African Women  Entrepreneurs & Artist Networking event. 

Held on March 8th from 6 to 8pm, the African Women Entrepreneurs & Artist  Networking event was the second in a series of Little Africa arts events organized by African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS). The series is the brain child of AEDS Arts Organizer Lula Saleh who also emceed and facilitated the event’s activities

“We had several activities packed into two hours, such as storytelling circles, a larger group conversation about the arts, entrepreneurship and women, and then a panel discussion of four incredible women artists and/or business owners who are part of or affiliated with Little Africa” Saleh said.IMG_2516

Fashion designer Ngeri Nnachi, documentary photographer Netsanet Negussie, Sabrina Café owner Karima Omer, and Sunshine Beauty Salon owner Freowini Sium served as panelist during a discussion aimed at addressing and unpacking barriers African women entrepreneurs and artist encounter. The panelist shared their personal life journeys, and spoke about success and the strength and resilience of African women entrepreneurs and artists. The event also served as a networking opportunity where attendees were encouraged to get to know new people.

“I think what stood out most for me was that there were icebreaker questions on the tables to help us get to know the other people we were seated with. Also, we were sort-of assigned to a table. So we had to break out of our comfort zones and get to know people we otherwise may not have met.” Said T. J. Akisanya, a local App developer and founder of the Belle Natives LLC who attended the event.

“What inspired me most is that this is something we as a community are doing for ourselves. The organization that went into the event was apparent.” Said Akisanya.

The night featured Economist and University of Concordia Professor Dr. Bruce Corrie who spoke on his research highlighting the impact of African women business owners in Minnesota. Tim Griffin from Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation spoke about his organization’s partnership with Little Africa to implement a Façade Improvement project. An artistic highlight of the evening were a series of poems read by the acclaimed interdisciplinary artist Ifrah Mansour

IMG_2503With around 50 people from diverse backgrounds and professions in attendance, the Flamingo restaurant was jammed packed with an electrifying energy throughout the event. “I liked the storytelling, and the business women telling their experiences and encouraging others” Said Flamingo Owner Frewoini Haile. Haile went on to say how she enjoyed the exposure the event provided her business.

For AEDS Arts Organizer Lula Saleh, it was this sort of layered impact which made the event a success. “Some highlights for me were seeing the sincere appreciation for women artists, seeing some of the art that was created from the storytelling dialogue itself, talking to some aspiring African women entrepreneurs in the room, and hearing the robust conversations about the needs of the community, especially women, to be thriving artists and entrepreneurs. The biggest takeaway for me was the sense of community that was created, the safe space, and the dialogue that I don’t think could have happened if not setup intentionally through our direct community organizing and outreach to African women.” She said.

The next Little Africa community event will take place on April 5th from 4-9pm in the former American Bank building 1578 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN. Visit our Eventbrite to RSVP.


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Opening up the Doors: Why Creating a Welcoming Little Africa Community Takes Time


The Facade Framework plan for Little Africa’s Snelling Avenue


Written By Halimat Alawode

I’ve been living in the Hamline-Midway area for nearly 6 months now and it wasn’t until I started my new internship at African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) that I realized there was a place called Little Africa. That, in fact I lived a few blocks north of it. Little Africa, is physical location as well as a marketing initiative that was launched by AEDS in 2013. Little Africa is a collection of African owned businesses between Selling Avenue and Syndicate Street, such as Fasika, Sunshine Beauty Salon, Snelling Café, to name a few. In fact, if Little Africa had a physical center anchoring it, it would be Snelling Avenue just east of University. Yet, Little Africa is more than just a location or a brand; it’s a community. It wasn’t until February 9th d that I fully grasped this.

On February 9th I attend my first AEDS event at Snelling Cafe. The event was the first in a series of community workshops organized by both AEDS and the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation to implement a Façade improvement project for the Little Africa small businesses. The project is funded in part by a Knight Green Line Challenge grant, which Little Africa won last year.


Community members and business owners participate during the Facade Improvement Workshop.

As AEDS’ newly inaugurated intern, I was in charge of signing in guest and taking photos during the workshop. But I quickly realized that the task I needed to tackle first was diving into the mountain of ijera the Snelling Café owner, Afeworki Bein, laid out for us. The smell of freshly made food was hard to ignore. I was grateful for his generosity and pleased to learn he too would be participating in the community workshop. In fact the owners of several Little Africa businesses were in attendance. They gathered to learn more about the Façade Improvement project and how they could apply for funding from the City of Saint Paul’s Star Loan/matching grant program to participate in Little Africa’s project.

As the various Little Africa business owners walked into Snelling Café’s homely establishment, I couldn’t help but notice how they greeted and embraced each other like lifelong friends. Even I, the new intern, found myself getting caught up in hellos and greetings. As I attempted to gracefully eat my ijera and sign in Frewini Sium, owner of Sunshine Beauty Salon, I couldn’t help but mention that I heard good things about her salon. She beamed at me and pleasantly invited me to stop by myself and sit in her chair. I couldn’t help but smile. I felt so welcomed by everyone in the café.

Later that night my roommate and I were discussing our day over dinner. I mentioned Little Africa to her, and like me only a day earlier, she had no idea what/where Little Africa was. I explained to her the area and described the shops included in the mix. It didn’t take long for her to state, “Yeah that makes sense, that area does seem like a little Africa.”

Which is spot on. Though we both didn’t actively know the area to be Little Africa the namesake seemed so fitting. When we realized this we also both realized we haven’t spent much time in Little Africa. We drive past the area daily yet have rarely, if ever, stepped in one of the shops. Not the restaurants, not the African owned grocery stores, not the salons, or the many other businesses in the area.

What is it about Little Africa that makes it so daunting for newcomers, so beneath the radar? Why don’t we feel welcomed enough to enter these spaces? For me personally, I did visit a Little Africa restaurant once. Though the service was superb and the food excellent I never visited again. I felt like an outsider and that I didn’t belong. I asked AEDS Executive Director Gene Gelgelu and Arts Organizer Lula Saleh about this. I wanted to hear their take on this dilemma. Gene began by admitting that some immigrant owned businesses tend to cater to their own demographic, it’s what they know. Gene also stated that Little Africa is still in beginning stages of its branding and community outreach strategies, which has the potential to remedy these problems. It would make sense that increased community outreach would result in creating a more welcoming space; which is why Little Africa is putting in a lot of effort into improving this.


The first Facade Improvement Workshop was held
at Snelling Cafe

They’ve already begun this by working with Midway Murals,  a separate non-profit who added public art to the exteriors of three Little Africa businesses. AEDS is currently hosting a series of Facade Improvement workshops and an art series to build community engagement within Little Africa and to improve the exteriors of Little Africa businesses.

With money received from the Façade Improvement project, Little Africa business owners can change the exterior of their businesses to promote a more welcoming atmosphere. From improved signage, to more public art like the Snelling avenue murals, or to practical things like improved exterior lighting, these changes could help make Little Africa businesses more welcoming to residents.

A lot of the outreach efforts are centered on culture and art, from the Murals to the Festivals. I asked Lula if she thinks this is a good direction. She stated that it is one of many initiatives that need to be made and that, “It brings different people together in a safe space where they can share their stories.” Gene also concluded by telling me Little Africa wants people to come and enjoy themselves but it’ll take some time to change the dynamics. Which is true, things will not change overnight but they will change. Little Africa wants to be open to us. The next Facade Improvement workshop will take place on April 5th from 4-9pm. The workshop is open to the community. For more information please email:


Halimat Alawode is pursing a B.A. in Women and International Development and Political Science at Saint Catherine University. Halimat is a Marketing and Public Relations Intern for African Economic Development Solutions.

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First Little Africa arts series fuels dialogue; showcases variety of African artists and performers


Little Africa launched its first in a series of arts events Wednesday January 20th at Snelling Café. The Where are my roots? Open Mic and dialogue attracted a crowd of around 50-60 people. The purpose of the event—- and the Little Africa arts series, is to utilize creative placemaking tools to raise awareness of the cultural and artistic footprint of African communities within the Twin Cities, specifically those in Little Africa.

Organized and curated by African Economic Development Solutions’ (AEDS) Arts Organizer and poet/singer-songwriter/artist Lula Saleh, the Where are my roots? Open mic explored themes of identity and place. Serving as the event’s emcee, Saleh introduced the event with words describing her nostalgia for home and breaking stereotypes with her multifaceted identities as a multiethnic African Minnesotan and black woman. Saleh was also the first performer of the open mic, reading from an essay she wrote which unpacked the complexities surround place and identity. After her performance Saleh opened up the floor with questions from the audience; after each open mic performance attendees had the opportunity to engage with the performing open mic artists.

“The purpose of these events is to enhance the economic vitality of African and black-owned businesses in the Little Africa business district.” said Saleh about the series. “Especially with being small businesses, you can’t succeed without a cultural footprint. So that’s the purpose of these bimonthly arts events; its to bring more attention to this community of African immigrant businesses and entrepreneurs, to support and celebrate them, while having much-needed conversations through the arts about culture, identity and race in the black and African Midway-St. Paul community.” she said.

During Wednesday’s event, established artists like Abdi Phenomenal and Ifrah Mansour participated during the open mic along side emerging artists who recited poems and speeches. State Representative Rena Moran was also in attendance, and spoke briefly about the importance of “telling our stories” and encouraged folks to increase their involvement with political processes outside of voting day. Tracey Kinney from the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation also spoke during the event to discuss Little Africa’s and Riverfronts collaboration to improve the exterior facades of Little Africa businesses. Kinney also took the time to gather feedback from the audience on what could be done to improve the neighborhood’s vitality and visibility.

“I think the night went really well!” Said Saleh about the open mic, “ It was our first official kickoff for the Little Africa arts and dialogue series, and it took place at Snelling Cafe, an Eritrean-owned coffee shop and restaurant in the heart of Little Africa. In terms of having a full house, a full lineup, a diversity of voices, of cultural and ethnic identities present and even in artistic mediums that were presented, it was amazing. It was a family-friendly event so we had diversity in age range; our audience members were from children to people who I would identify as elders in our communities.”

The Little Africa Arts series is comprised of seven community arts and dialogue events taking place every other month during 2016. The series will be held within different Little Africa businesses and restaurants in St. Paul’s Hamline-Midway neighborhood. The next Little Africa Arts series will take place on March 8th. The series is made possible in part due to funding provided by Twin Cities’ Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

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Little Africa and On The Green Line gather community’s insights

green line re-cap pic


Monday January 11th Little Africa and the On the Green Line Marketing Collaborative hosted a community listening and outreach session at Sabrina’s Café in St. Paul. The purpose of the session was to collect information on how residents, business owners, and other key community stakeholders use the On The Green Line Marketing resources.

Since the launch of the Green Line, the collaborative has organized a number of initiatives to provide marketing resources (directories, websites, bus-stop ads, etc) for local businesses and residents. The collaborative teamed up with the Midway Chamber of Commerce to explore ways to improve those efforts by organizing a series of community outreach sessions. The outreach sessions are taking place during the month of January at different St. Paul and Minneapolis locations along or near the Green Line.

In addition to residents and community members, Little Africa’s outreach session drew folks from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Metro Transit, and State Senator Foung Hawj.

Sabrina’s Café owner Karima Omer, who recently re-opened her quaint coffee shop after being closed for nearly a month for re-modeling, provided participants with food and traditional Ethiopian coffee throughout the meeting. During the outreach sessions participants discussed current neighborhood and district brand presences, identified other community partners and collaborative efforts, and brainstormed potential marketing strategies that could benefit the community.

Things like re-launching a coupon book with deals from local businesses and creating an app to help people better locate small businesses and community happenings along the green line were some of many suggestions made.

“Making it easier to find things to do is a great idea.” Said Fatima Omar, who works as College Navigator for the International Institute of Minnesota, a St.Paul based non-profit.

“I really enjoyed the discussion. I’m glad I found out about this!” Omar said she saw the event posted on Facebook and was curious to learn more.

The information gathered during the outreach sessions will be complied by the On the Green Line Collaborative.To participate in this initiative, take the below survey or attend an upcoming On the Green Line outreach session:


  • Downtown Minneapolis
    Tues, Jan 19, 12pm-1pm
    The Open Book
    1011 S Washington Ave
    Minneapolis, MN 55415


  • Historic Rondo
    Weds Jan 20, 12pm-1pm
    Kings Crossing
    500 Dale St N
    St Paul, MN 55103


  • Stadium Village
    Weds Jan 20, 2:30pm-3:30pm
    Bar Luchador
    825 SE Washington Ave
    Minneapolis, MN 55414


  • Lowertown
    Thurs Jan 21, 12pm-1pm
    Black Dog Cafe
    308 E. Prince StSt Paul, MN 55101


  • Frogtown & Little Mekong
    Tues Jan 26, 6:30pm-8pm
    St. Paul City School – 643 Virginia St
    St Paul, MN 55103
    (part of Frogtown Neighbohood Mtg)


Do you use the Green Line for work or play? We’re also conducting a survey of rider habits and district marketing preferences. Take the survey and you’ll be eligible to win one of ten gift certificates to a Green Line restaurant!

The survey will close Friday January 29th, 2016 at 5:00pm.

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African Economic Development Solutions, Finalist for 2016 Knight Cities Challenge



In her now famous TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story” acclaimed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said “…when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.”

African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) plans to do just that.

Tuesday, January 12 the Knight Foundation announced that AEDS’ proposed project “More Than a Single Continent: an intellectual tour of Little Africa through food, music, and discussion.” is a finalist for the Knight Cities Challenge. Of the 158 finalists chosen out of 4,500 applications from 26 different cities across the nation, AEDS is one of 10 finalist based in St. Paul.

The second year of a three-year run, the Knight Cities Challenge will select winners from among the finalist which comprise of nonprofits, government organizations, design experts and urban planning groups. The Knight Foundation will distribute 5 million dollars to the winning projects that best answer ways to make their cities successful. Winners will be announced by the foundation in the Spring of 2016.

AEDS’ proposed project “More Than a Single Continent” seeks to showcase the diversity of local African communities by hosting a series of events and discussions centered on food and music as the entry point to facilitate meaningful community dialogue, to educate, and to provide multidimensional visibility for the many African immigrant communities that call St. Paul home.

The ultimate goal of this project will be to mainstream a more inclusive and complex narrative of what it means to be African, but also to broaden what it means to be a resident of St. Paul. Through these discussions and events AEDS hopes to bridge the gaps that disengage folks, to establish a space where diverse peoples, especially communities of color, see themselves as a vital part of St. Paul’s long-term fabric.

This is the second time AEDS has been a finalist for a Knight Foundation award. In 2015 AEDS was a finalist for the Knight Green Line Challenge award which AEDS eventually won for a separate Little Africa project. Little Africa, a virtual and place based branding effort launched by AEDS in 2013, is rooted in St. Paul’s historic Hamline Midway area.

Since its launch, Little Africa has partnered with numerous community organizations to collaborate on dynamic community centered projects and events. One of the most visually recognizable of those collaborations can be viewed along Snelling Avenue where several murals decorate small businesses, thanks to a collaboration with Midway Murals.

Through Little Africa, AEDS hopes to implement creative placemaking strategies to foster meaningful community engagement, to inspire and create a space where St. Paul’s diverse populations of African heritage communities can thrive.

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Little Africa tour celebrates Saint Paul’s diverse African communities; showcases local artists and African owned businesses.

You don’t have to cross the Atlantic to visit Eretria, Ethiopia, Nigeria, or Somalia. Take a walk along Snelling Avenue between University and Lafond and you’ll find a bit of Africa blooming in the heart of the Hamline-Midway neighborhood. On Friday November 13th, a number of St. Paul and Minneapolis based community leaders and artists did just that during the “Celebrate Little Africa: Arts and Culture Tour.”

The tour was one of several that took place along the Green Line as a part of Twin Cities LISC’s larger event “C4ward: Arts and Culture along the Green Line”, a creative symposium. The symposium and the tours were organized by LISC and by the seven Cultural Corridor partners. The purpose of the event was to encourage attendees to think about the ways in which arts and culture highlight local diversity and to also think about the ways they can bridge communities together while boosting neighborhood economies.

The symposium began in the morning at the Wilder Foundation with keynote speaker Carol Bebelle. Executive Director of the Ashe Cultural Arts Center, Bebelle spoke at length about her work strengthening the economic, social, and artistic revitalization of her New Orleans neighborhood before and after hurricane Katrina.

After the keynote speech, symposium attendees were divided into small groups to participate in guided tours in one of the many neighborhoods of the Cultural Corridor partners (African Economic Development Solutions, Asian Economic Development Association, Frogtown Neighborhood Association, Aurora Saint Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, Creative Enterprise Zone, Prospect Park 2020, West Bank Business Association).

During the Little Africa tour attendees traveled along Snelling Avenue, where they visited African Plaza, Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant, Dahabshiil Mini Market, Addis Mini Market, Sabrina’s Café, Sunshine Beauty Salon, and Snelling Café. At each location, the group had an opportunity to meet with the business owners and learn the unique stories of the locations. They also discovered some of the back-stories embedded within the stunning murals donned by a few of the businesses. The tile and mosaic mural decorating the exterior of the Africa Plaza for example, attendees learned was a visual tribute to the Oromo people and culture, a major ethnic group within Ethiopia.058

Most of the owners served the attendees food—injera, sambusa, baklava, gyro, a variety of Ethiopian style lentils and veggie dishes—to name a few. A major highlight of the gastronomic elements of the tour was the coffee Sabrina’s café owner Karima Omer served the group during her traditional East African coffee ceremony.

In addition to the coffee and food, poet and African Economic Development Solutions Arts Organizer Lula Saleh read original poems that touched upon the many themes that arose during the tour. A poem written in celebration of African women, Saleh revealed during the tour, was inspired in part by Freweini Sium, owner of the entire Sunshine Building and the Sunshine Beauty Salon. Sium, like many of the business owners within Little Africa represents a lesser known reality within communities of African heritage across the Diaspora—women business owners have a strong presence.

The tour ended at Snelling Café with a pop-up art gallery featuring the works of artists of visual artists Geno Okok, Sara Endalew, and Binyam Raba, the documentary street photography of Netsanet Negussie, and the eccentric and bold handbags of fashion designer Ngeri Nnachi. Tour attendees mingled with the artists before participating in a heartfelt discussion surrounding identity, home, arts and the community, and the future of Little Africa.

Overall both the Little Africa tour and the C4ward symposium were a success. Attendees, Little Africa business owners and artists, had several opportunities to experience the uniqueness of Little Africa through story-telling, food and art. As the afternoon waned, Snelling Café filled with laughter, conversation and a strong sense of community.

Lil Africa pics2

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African Economic Development Solutions Wins Prestigious Award


Saturday October 10th African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) was announced as the winner of the African Non-Profit Organization of the Year award at the prestigious African Awards. Presented by Mshale Newspaper, the annual African Awards were held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Initiated nearly five years ago by Mshale Newspaper founder and President Tom Gitaa, the African Awards celebrate the remarkable achievements and successes  of African immigrant communities throughout the United States.

To be considered for the awards, community members submit nominations of notable individuals and organizations in the African Immigrant to Mshale. The submissions are then sorted by a select committee of judges before finalist are announced on Mshale’s website. AEDS was announced as a finalist in September. After the finalist are announced, Mshale opens up a public text-to-vote campaign for the community to vote for their favorite finalist. The 2015-2016 winners were announced during the African Awards.

A red carpet event, the African Awards attracted a large crowd and was emceed by KMOJA radio DJ Charles Dennis. With opening remarks from DJ Dennis and a fashion show from designer Hilda Mauya’s line, Dahil Republic of Couture.

The event’s program included Kenyan tech guru and humanitarian David Kobia, who served as the keynote speaker. During his speech, Kobia spoke at length about the power and potential of the African diaspora. Kobia also spoke about the work of his internationally acclaimed and innovative non-profit tech company Ushahidi, which created a platform to crowdsource information for communities in need.

With a number of individual and collective awards, the African Award winners included activist Wintana Melekin, emerging politician Ilhan Omar, Paschal Nwokocha Law Offices LLC, and several other winners.

For AEDS the African Awards come right on the heels of another major success. Last month, it was announced that AEDS was one of 12 winners of the 2016 Knight Green line Challenge for its Little Africa Cultural Corridor project. The award provides funding to further the development of Little Africa as a vital cultural district in the Twin Cities.Winning the African Non-Profit award validates the years of hard work and sacrifice AEDS staff and supporters have devoted to improving the community.

Special thanks to our board, the AEDS office staff, our numerous community partners, and thanks to our dynamic community members whose votes and continuous support made  our award possible.

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AEDS awarded $60,000 for Little Africa Cultural Corridor

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.IMG_1760 (2)

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.

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AEDS Explores Fresh Economic Opportunities During African Immigrant Farming Tour


Group picture of tour goers at the Hmong American Farmers Association

The weather may have been rainy, but that didn’t deter a small group of AEDS supporters from seeking out fresh opportunities. Thursday, September 17th AEDS led a small team of local business owners and community leaders on a farming tour. The group met on the sites of the Minnesota Food Association farm in St. Croix and on the Hmong American Farmers Association farm in Saint Paul, Minnesota.


The purpose of the tour was to explore the opportunities available for potential farmers within the diverse African immigrant communities AEDS serves. Representatives from the farms led group discussions surrounding the economic and health benefits of local farming. The farming tour was sponsored in part by AgStar Financial Services and AgriBank.

The tour aligns with AEDS’ mission to generate wealth within marginalized communities and communities of African heritage in Minnesota. AEDS believes that by exploring alternative means of creating access to key resources and by nurturing dynamic community partnerships, together we can bolster financial success within marginalized and African immigrant communities.

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