We, the members of the Des Moines African American Leadership Forum (DMAALF) are a group of dedicated individuals advocating for change in the African American Community of Greater Des Moines and facilitating long-range planning processes to create a more thriving and positive community for all of us. Originally established by the Directors Council in 2010 with seed money and assistance from the Northwest Area Foundation, the AALF welcomes both long-time and emerging community members to join the movement. We are part of the overall African American Leadership Forum (AALF)—a network of people extending across the Pacific Northwest and beyond, committed to the revitalization and sustainability of vibrant African American communities, equitable regions and a strong nation.
Our vision—to thrive—means that our community is welcoming and one of the very best places where individuals and groups communicate freely with one another, children achieve in schools, and residents are employed and earning sustainable wages. In fact, the people who look like us do great work and have an informed voice. Our collective power generates the momentum and action needed for our community to reach its full potential.
Our Drivers of Change
To achieve our vision, we harness our collective power to ensure that African Americans are in key positions, at all tables where decisions that impact our community are made. We develop and support effective, authentic and committed African American leadership. Each joins in to create a unified voice, to serve as change agents and to help educate and empower our community. We collaborate with other communities and organizations with similar goals to often achieve more together than apart. We use our resources strategically and leverage them to advance our charge and drive the vision.
Our Transformative Agenda
We recognize that the challenges we face as a community impact everyone. The health and vitality of African American individuals, families, institutions, and the community, as a whole, are intricately linked to each other. We support goals that benefit everyone, yet we craft solutions based on the strengths, needs, and challenges of the Des Moines African American community.
Through shared leadership, we drive change and achieve positive transformation by ways of:
(1) upholding our core values (inclusivity, multi-generational, sustainability, and respect for the history of our community) that provide a foundation for the forum as we help influence positive change in our community
(2) identifying and communicating the key functions of the forum—capacity building and infrastructure, research and development
(3) working across all sectors, approaches, and levels, so that our agenda is effective and long-lasting
(4) proceeding with goal oriented measures, monitoring our progress, and sharing the results