Announcing our East African Youth Economic Development Grantees!

Published on February 3, 2020 | Written by
Youth participating in East African Youth at Work program

Minnesota is home to a large and growing East African population with many concentrated communities spread throughout the state in cities such as Rochester, St. Cloud, Moorhead, Willmar, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. Their communities have greatly contributed to the cultural and economic landscape in Minnesota. However, East African communities in Minnesota face cultural, religious, language, and racial barriers that make it difficult for them to achieve economic self-sufficiency. As part of our commitment to invest and build capacity in East African organizations and youth, Youthprise has partnered with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to reduce disparities and address challenges facing East African youth.

The purpose of this funding is to support East African youth and community-focused organizations to provide economic development activities and services designed to develop long-term economic self-sufficiency for East African youth in communities with concentrated East African populations.

Youthprise has selected organizations based on their experience serving the East African community as well as experience with programs that promote economic self-sufficiency through:

  • Career exploration and career planning
  • Work readiness training
  • Job training
  • Job placement
  • Mentoring
  • Internships and apprenticeships
  • Education and industry-recognized credentialing
  • Business development and entrepreneurship exploration


Learn more about our 2020 Grantees!


African Community Services, Minneapolis, $30,000

African Community Services (ACS) was formed in 1995 by a volunteer network of Somali refugees to help refugee families secure basic needs and resources for self‐sufficiency and acclimate to a new way of life. Today, African Community Services serves individuals and families who are immigrants from East and West Africa as well as other cultures.


African Economic Development Solutions, St. Paul, $40,000

African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) builds wealth within African immigrant communities through economic development activities. AEDS work throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area to create wealth, lift immigrant communities out of poverty, and contribute to and benefit from the region’s vibrant economy.


African Immigrants Community Services, Minneapolis, $20,000

AICS was incorporated into a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2007 by its current executive director, Mustafa Hassan, and other Somali refugees to meet the needs of East African refugees in the Twin Cities area. Since its inception the organization has continued to grow and develop strong working relationships with other community-based agencies, faith-based communities and government entities. AICS provides job readiness and job placement services to East African refugees and their families. Job placement services include helping clients improve their employment situation by finding opportunities for training, and positions which pay more and have better benefits.


Afro American Development Association, Moorhead, $120,000

AADA was established in 2014 when a small group of students attending Moorhead State University & Technical College and North Dakota State University, all from diverse cultural backgrounds, came together as New Americans living in the upper Midwest on the edge of the northern prairies. Their mission is to alleviate poverty by supporting vulnerable New Americans and other diverse communities by building the capacities of families and communities through training, sustainable development, economic empowerment, conflict resolution & peace building.


B.R.A.V.E Foundation Inc, St. Paul, $30,000

B.R.A.V.E is an organization for women by women dedicated in the upliftment and encouragement of young women within the Somali diaspora community. B.R.A.V.E's mission is to assist young women of all ages in the underserved communities in areas of education, health, employment and women’s empowerment. B.R.A.V.E has five main goals: 1) to create cultural awareness and encourage self-identity and self-actualization through the learning’s of heritage and traditions as well as self-growth.  2) Encouraging women’s empowerment and independence through career building and mentorship. 3) Establishing support and counseling as it concerns drug awareness and dependency. 4) Promoting a women’s health initiative in which healthy ways of living are encouraged in the area of physical, reproductive and sexual health. 5) Reducing the stigma around mental health through education of mechanisms of coping and dealing with mental health issues.


Community Integration Center, Wilmar, $25,000

Community integration center (CIC) is a non-profit organization which has its headquarters in Willmar, Minnesota. CIC champions for the communities to overcome health, cultural, economic and social barriers, through education, integration and engagement. The clear strategy of the organization is to bridge all economic and social barriers the communities face and bring prosperity through education, youth empowerment, and integration. CIC's purpose is to work with the locals, immigrants and government agencies to reach out in the best possible way to make a full integration.


Fortune Relief And Youth Empowerment Organization (FRAYEO), Minneapolis, $20,000

The mission of the Fortune Relief and Youth Empowerment Organization (FRAYEO) is to provide support services to youth and adults focused on cultural adjustment and increase socioeconomic well-being of the East African communities in Minnesota by providing a continuum of care through a cultural specific programs and positively transform the social and economic structures that sabotaged poverty.


Islamic Civic Society of America, Minneapolis, $40,000

Islamic Civic Society of America (ICSA) works to bring about positive change for Minnesota by building the capacity of East African immigrant families and faith centers to understand and influence key public issues affecting current and future success. Demonstrating the compatibility between Islamic and civic principles in a democratic society, members of ICSA are dedicated to governing for the common good while addressing the specific needs of the Muslim community.


Ka Joog, Minneapolis, $120,000

Established in 2007 by a group of Somali young adults, Ka Joog focuses its efforts on encouraging Somali youth to “ka joog” or “stay away” from negative influences such as drugs, violence, radicalization, and other behaviors that can be detrimental to their development and future. Instead, Ka Joog directs youth towards higher education, civic involvement, and a volunteer commitment to the community. Ka Joog helps Somali youth understand their options and make the right choices, through programs offering mentoring, tutoring, and job readiness training. Ka Joog also provides positive outlets through the arts, and encourages youth to share their talents with others.


New American Development Center, Minneapolis, $60,000

New American Academy’s (NAA) mission is to improve the health, educational attainment, Economic Empowerment, human welfare, and opportunities for youth, adults and families of East African immigrant community within The Twin Cities. The NAA Center works with entrepreneurs and community organizations to concentrate the power of micro-enterprise development around dynamic “hubs” of community revitalization, linking the energy of people to the vitality of places. This “network of hubs” allows NAA to generate and sustain large-scale impact while communities retain ownership of the process and the results.


New Vision Foundation, Minneapolis, $120,000

New Vision Foundation’s mission is to create pathways to success by motivating disadvantaged youth in Minnesota and the developing world through digital literacy; engaging responsible companies in IT philanthropy; and inspiring progress toward global sustainable development. Unlike any other program, New Vision Foundation integrates outreach, skill development and workforce readiness with cross-cultural competency – magnifying a structural strength in their disadvantaged target market in order to mitigate the acute shortage of diverse talent, especially in the high-tech sector, facing Minnesota businesses.


Northfield Healthy Community Initiative, Northfield, $25,000

HCI's mission is to cultivate a collaborative community that supports, values, and empowers youth. To achieve this, HCI does not operate or manage its own programs. Instead, HCI works with community partners to identify needs/opportunities, foster collaboration, and support community-driven efforts that benefit local youth and families. By offering its assistance, HCI strives to build the capacity of the community to more effectively serve its young people. Formed in 1992, HCI has enjoyed a 27-year history as an intermediary backbone organization, supporting youth development and youth empowerment efforts in Northfield and Rice County, Minnesota.  Since its formation, HCI has been committed to addressing issues of equity and to supporting work that builds opportunities for youth of color.


Somali Community Resettlement Services, Faribault, $120,000

To promote and advance the social well-being and welfare of immigrants and refugees by providing much needed community and resettlement services, with the ultimate goal of building a vibrant community, whose members can successfully settle and effectively integrate into the wider American community.


Somali American Social Service Association, Rochester, $35,00

Somalia Rebuild Organization (SRO) was established for the purpose of rebuilding the youth of Olmsted County through education, physical activities and programs that promote success. SRO’s mission is to establish the initiatives of sustainable development programs such as  Public-health,  public education, advocacy, empowering women, and small business support. SRO’s initiatives include addressing the most sensitive issues within local Somali community in Minnesota toward youth drug use, violence and lack of proper education.


South Sudanese Foundation, Moorhead, $30,000

Community members founded the South Sudanese Foundation two years ago as a way to build relationships and share services and resources within the community and other communities in the area. The mission of the South Sudanese Foundation is to be a life-changing community where everyone can encounter reminders of God’s love and move forward together in their home of Moorhead.


Street Soccer Twin Cities, Minneapolis, $20,000

Street Soccer Twin Cities 501(c)(3) is a youth development organization that primarily serves Somali and East African youth. SSTC's mission is to use soccer as a tool to affect positive life change in the lives of young people; to accomplish this SSTC provides free access organized soccer activities and youth leadership groups. Street Soccer Twin Cities' goals include creating a better, healthier, and more united community providing year-round free access to organized physical activities, with youth developmental focused programming designed to empower youth voice.

Congratulations to all selected grantees and thank you to all applying organizations!

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