The Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD), an association of community development organizations committed to expanding the wealth and resources of the Twin Cities through housing and economic development initiatives, has announced the selection of Elena Gaarder as its new Chief Executive Officer. Gaarder will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of long-time CEO Jim Roth.
Gaarder comes to MCCD from her role as Director of Community Wealth Building at Nexus Community Partners in St Paul, where she currently leads the organization’s Worker Ownership Initiative. She was brought on in 2013 to re-design their grant making approach for the East Side of St. Paul. “We are delighted to announce the selection of Elena Gaarder as CEO,” said Kathy Wetzel-Mastel, chair of the MCCD Board of Directors. “Her background includes leadership positions in community economic development, wealth building and public policy development, which is a unique fit for our organization. Our members and city/county partners will benefit from her strategic abilities as we look to equitably increase impact for our communities.”
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. A 2015 Bush Fellow, Gaarder served as the Executive Director of a number of neighborhood-based organizations prior to her work at Nexus. 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. Gaarder began her career as Community Organizer in south Minneapolis, where she says her roots in affordable housing and economic development were planted.
“I am thrilled to join and lead MCCD through this next chapter of its history. The work ahead builds on its rich tradition of responding to opportunities and challenges across our communities. I hope to position MCCD to take on a greater role in building community wealth and advancing racial equity across the region,” said Gaarder.
Ms. Gaarder will assume leadership of the organization by May 1, 2020.