African Development Center receives $1 million grant from Otto Bremer Trust

The African Development Center of Minnesota has received a $1 million grant from the Otto Bremer Trust, owner of Bremer Bank.
The African Development Center of Minnesota has received a $1 million grant from the Otto Bremer Trust, owner of Bremer Bank.

The African Development Center received a million-dollar funding grant from the Otto Bremer Trust. The donation came after years long relationship with the organization that has spanned over a decade from the organization’s early days. Otto Bremer Trust is also the owner of Bremer Bank.

Founded in 2004 by the late Executive Director Hussein Samatar with assistance from the McKnight Foundation and the Pan-African Community Endowment. The purpose of the organization is to serve new immigrants and small businesses by providing financial literacy and professional funding. The organization aims to empower and provide the tools that are needed to positively integrate into the local economy.

The late Samatar was among the first wave of Somali refugees to be resettled into the United States in the early 1990s and he had a dream of helping individuals like himself navigate and integrate into their new homes. Samatar understood the need for financial education and resources to help individuals navigate financial systems that they are not familiar with. The goal of the African Development Center (ADC) remains as a place that provides funding to local businesses, and promotes personal financial literacy and homeownership.

The center which is headed by Nasibu Sareva, provides financial literacy classes and counseling to over 250 individuals a year. Homeownership classes see a yearly attendance of about 200 individuals. The classes are mainly taught in English and occasionally Somali depending on the need. The classes are provided for free or a small fee depending upon individual needs. Yearly the ADC finances between 30 to 45 different business around Minnesota with 3 to 5 year loans depending on the amount of funds that are given.

Some of the well known business that have received their start from the ADC are Messob, an Ethiopian restaurant on Hiawatha Avenue, Zi Zi boutique on Lake Street, childcare centers around the Twin Cities as well as  Dilla’s, an Ethiopian restaurant in the West Bank located near the centers Minneapolis Office. The grant from the Otto Bremer Trust “showed trust they have in the work that we are doing” it also “show[s] that they really believe in our mission” Communications and Development Manager Jackie Schell said.

The grant will contribute to the centers long term goal of raising ten million dollars to become a self sustaining organization that relies less on funding. The organization prides itself on being a bridge between the individuals they serve and the local communities that they’re part of. The ADC aims to help more businesses receive funding to meet the needs of the local economy which is part of the United States economy at large. As the organization moves forward with its goals and plans they want you to know, “ that our door is always open, we’re always here as a resource,” said Schell.

About Cynthia Simba, Mshale Reporter

Cynthia is a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism. She has interned at Mshale and Voice of America and previously worked at the Minnesota Daily. She recently returned from Seoul, South Korea where she was an English educator.

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