In just four years, ADC has grown from an annual operating budget in 2005 of $10,000 to $850,000 in 2008. ADC’s offices can no longer comfortably accommodate its staff of eight community development professionals and four consultants, and its training programs must be offered at various scattered sites due to the large demand and ADC’s current space constraints. ADC has learned that the community has great interest in its services, and that ADC can consistently succeed in mobilizing necessary resources. ADC enjoys strong and critical support from Minnesota philanthropy, including The Minneapolis Foundation, as well as McKnight, Bush, Blandin, Bremer, and St. Paul Travelers Foundations. At the same time, ADC has begun to build more diverse sources of revenue, including governmental grants and fees for services.
With a proven track record of demonstrated success, and an ever-increasing demand for its services to immigrant entrepreneurs and their families, ADC is now poised to build a permanent home. In the words of Bamson Fadipe, ADC’s board chair, “I’d like ADC to create a statewide brand not as a nonprofit per se, but as an adult education center, a niche financial institution.” Central to the fulfillment of this vision is a service center building anchored in the heart of the state’s African population and capable of supporting a statewide operation for years to come.
ADC seeks to develop a service center for a growing, highly entrepreneurial economic developer serving African immigrants and refugees in Minnesota. The building should be a professional yet comfortable venue to welcome ADC’s client market into the transaction with the mainstream economic system — with production values suitable to symbolize upward mobility. ADC envisions owning a small but visible commercial building in an urban commercial corridor of Minneapolis such as Cedar Riverside, Seward, Midtown, or University Ave. Convenient freeway access is important to support ADC’s statewide client base. Ideally, the building would also house a small number of tenants that fill vital neighborhood functions and are representative of ADC’s partners and clients: a bank, financial services or professional firm (investment, accounting, real estate, law), a cafe, possibly a small retail store. The building program would include:
• Office space/reception
• Community/event space
• Meeting/conference facilities
• Classroom-workshop space;
• Play room for childcare during client programming
• Tenant space: up to 50 percent of building total square feet
• Estimated Cost: $5 – 6 million
The building and location should support ADC’s mandate as a statewide community developer and its capacity as an innovator. It will not only produce income for the organization as a landlord, but also establish “main street” presence in Minneapolis that upholds ADC’s brand as a high-achieving and accessible community resource tied to the growing population of African immigrants and refugees.