Applications for the African American Leadership Forum’s Collective Impact Program

AALF is Seeking Black Community Engagement Project Proposals to Help Solve Complex Challenges in Minnesota’s Black Community. Organizations & Individuals Are Welcome to Apply.


MINNEAPOLIS, January 6, 2021 — the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), an organization of over 1,500 leaders, is excited to announce that its Collective Impact BCD Request for Proposals applications are now open. AALF is inviting individuals and organizations to submit innovative community engagement project proposals to solve some of the most pressing challenges in Minnesota’s Black community around Education, Health & Wellness, Family & Culture, and Economic Development by addressing our Black-Centered Design (BCD) problem statements.

AALF will provide workplan development support and other tools needed for implementation. Participants will receive help with project management execution, be connected to the AALF network and expert community volunteers, in addition to receiving customized marketing and communications support. Selected projects will be shared with funders and elected officials.

Things to keep in mind when submitting a project proposal: (1) Your Project is Valuable: Regardless of what your project development background is, if you feel your idea will positively impact the Black community, we encourage you to submit it. (2) Be Prepared: When submitting your idea, please ensure that you have the tools and resources to continue the work after your project ends. (3) Address AALF’s BCD Problem Statements: All proposals submitted must address positive change in the Black community around our Black-Centered Design (BCD) problem statements (listed below).

Application Link:

Deadline: February 2, 2021 by 5 p.m. CST

BCD Problem Statements:

AALF Developed and Shared a Black-Centered Design Survey to Get Insights from the Black Community About the Challenges We’re Facing. These Problem Statements Were Created Based on Survey Responses

Economic Development Problem Statement: The Black community is experiencing a series of disproportionate economic events. The pandemic and underlying economic recession have forced over 55% of the state’s Black community to file for unemployment insurance since February 2020. Despite the catastrophic impacts of the pandemic, over the next 24 months, the Black community is planning to make an economic and lifestyle shift toward entrepreneurship; evidenced by 55% of survey respondents who said they will start their own business or nonprofit. In addition, over 40% plan to invest in real estate and other business endeavors. However, despite the desire to launch new businesses, there remains a limited number of resources to support the diversity of businesses and sectors in which Black entrepreneurs work.

Education Problem Statement: Children in the Black community who attend public schools are learning less and experiencing more trauma than their parents or previous generations. Despite advances in technology, students continue to be split into two distinct groups of high-achievers (20% of respondents said their children are excelling) and low/no performance students (45% of respondents said their children are doing far worse or equally bad). Grades and scores on homework assignments were the number one metric (4:1 ratio), shared by respondents, for parents to measure their child’s well-being in school.

Family & Culture Problem Statement: Based on responses to the survey, the Black community relies on informal in-person social gatherings to pass down cultural traditions, information, and opportunities, and to support entrepreneurship. Moreover, these gatherings are also needed to engage in kinship activities and to build deeper long-lasting relationships.

In a socially-distant pandemic environment, digital communication for some families has stressed the family’s bond sustaining strength and impaired their ability to nurture each other. In addition, because many families are challenged with community violence (the number one issue chosen by respondents) being unable to collectively bond, grieve, and strengthen during the pandemic has impacted families as well. Due to the pandemic, family-development, growth, and internal support functions are waxing and waning while stress, anxiety, and hardship are on the rise.

Health & Wellness Problem Statement: In Minnesota, nearly 1 out of 2 Black workers has filed for unemployment insurance during the pandemic. According to survey respondents, the biggest impediment for the Black community to live a healthy lifestyle are factors, variables, and decisions that are under their direct control, such as: healthy eating, daily exercise, personal time management, and managing the pressure of external factors in decision making.

Despite the ability to influence some of these factors, many in our community are making discretionary decisions that are not in the best interest of family and personal health. The Black community’s decisions continue to be made under stress-ridden, traumatic, coercive, and/or predatory food, financial, medical, and employment environments, thus negatively impacting the decisions made in our community. Health and wellness is viewed as a lifestyle choice for those who are not resource-constrained and rely on discretionary income to acquire access to healthy food and lifestyle choices. 

The African American Leadership Forum mobilizes and activates dynamic groups of committed and passionate African Americans to influence the social, economic, and political landscape that impacts our daily lives. To learn more visit