Chief Executive Officer
Elena joined MCCD in May 2020 as the Chief Executive Officer. A trusted leader in the nonprofit community, Elena Gaarder is known for her holistic approach and ability to build successful partnerships that advance community wealth building. She currently serves on the Family Housing Fund Board of Directors, Ramsey County’s Economic Develop Vision Plan Steering Committee and the City of Lakes Community Land Trust’s Project Development Committee. Prior to coming to MCCD, she was the Director of Community Wealth Building at Nexus Community Partners.
In 2015, Elena was awarded a Bush Leadership Fellowship, where she studied national and international cooperative economic models. She has also served as the Executive Director of several non-profit organizations and operated a successful consulting practice for 15 years.
She holds a BS in Community Development and Urban Planning from St. Cloud State University and an MS in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University.