The African American Leadership Forum (AALF) is the brain child of Gary Cunningham, CEO of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association. In 2007, as then Vice President of Programs for the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF), Cunningham convened a group of African American men around his dining room table to talk about creating an Urban Agenda for the Twin Cities African American community. Simultaneously, he convened a group of African American women to engage in the same conversation. In 2008, Cunningham brought the two groups together - 45 African American men and women - at the Northwest Area Foundation, to establish the African American Leadership Forum. 

This year’s theme BUIDING STRONG INNOVATIVE COMMUNITIES TOGETHER builds on AALF’s consistent history of progress, change and growth through strategic partnerships in the public and private sectors. The belief is based on equity and economic opportunities for all members of society supporting AALF’s growth initiatives in job creation, economic empowerment, reducing poverty and creating affordable housing.