Mission & History

The Mission of the African Development Center is to grow businesses, build wealth, and increase reinvestment in the African communities of Minnesota.

Our Work
Through workshops and consultations on financial literacy, business development, and home ownership, ADC provides culturally competent services to Minnesota’s African community.

ADC is a leader in micro-lending to small businesses, outperforming even the largest banking institutions in the state of Minnesota. For three years now, ADC has been recognized as the number One small business lender of the City of Minneapolis. With the help of 8 dedicated full-time employees, Executive and Finance Committee and Board of Trustees, ADC provides services in 6 languages to communities throughout Minnesota.

ADC is dedicated to the economic empowerment and success of African immigrants. Minnesota is home to over one-hundred thousand African immigrants, many of whom face language, cultural, and religious barriers. ADC actively works to reduce these barriers and create a path for African immigrants to achieve financial success.

History
Minnesota, like the nation, is struggling to deal with the economic pressures and opportunities of immigration. ADC’s role in this big picture is to create answers on the opportunity side. Our work has corroborated studies showing that increasing the rates of self-employment and home ownership among “new Minnesotans” contributes to the revitalization of neglected neighborhoods and links mainstream businesses with the state’s estimated $6 billion ethnic economy.

According to a recent report by The Minneapolis Foundation, 13 percent of Minnesota’s foreign born residents in the 2000 Census were from Africa – a higher percentage than in any other US state. Most Africans have come to Minnesota over the past generation as refugees fleeing civil strife in Somalia, Liberia and the Sudan. Other relatively large African populations recently arrived include Nigerians, Ethiopians, and Eritreans. This influx will likely continue. Minnesota offers immigrants an established African population, a strong economy, a good quality of life, educational opportunities, and unskilled jobs that don’t require fluency or literacy in English.

In an era of budget cuts at every level of government, mainstream community development corporations lack the funds to expand their services to meet the complex needs of African immigrants. They also lack the motivation to seek out non-traditional clients: Minnesota’s down-payment assistance funds already cannot keep up with existing demand.

ADC was created to fill these gaps, and we have achieved spectacular early success. Both in providing services and building capacity, our hard-working staff and diverse board have transformed ADC from a one-person, half-time operation five years ago to a highly-networked corporation serving Minnesota with innovative financial products and services.