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About Us

AALF convenes organizations united in achieving a common vision. This group focuses on setting and achieving goals with measurable outcomes in each of our areas of concentration.

Our Commitment

As we work and pray together, now and in the years to come, we remain committed to our vision of fostering a thriving African American community in Greater Des Moines, as well as, across the AALF emerging central region. We are dedicated to leading and achieving a healthier, more inclusive, and successful community. Through strategic collaboration and advocacy, we promise to drive our transformative agenda as if the Des Moines African American Leadership Forum was an 18-wheeler on the road to victory and advancement in our community. While it may take many days, long hours, and a variety of pathways to get to our destination, we know that we will deliver on our goal.


Criminal Justice

Our Criminal Justice Work Group continues to seek systemic change in the Iowa criminal justice system’s apparent racial bias in the following ways: (1) Advancing our collaboration with Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning (CJJP) to assure that all decision-makers at all levels of the criminal justice system are culturally competent and appropriately trained, (2) Increasing public knowledge of African American disparity in Iowa’s criminal justice system, and (3) Using our collective power of the DMAALF to advocate for the generation of sufficient resources to launch and promote a successful, multi-faceted campaign.


Economic Development

Together, our Economic Development Work Group advocates for all African Americans in Greater Des Moines to be economically stable; for all of our businesses to be successful in accessing technical assistance, capital, etc.; and for all African Americans to be supportive of local African American business development through networking and advocating for a larger presence and cohesiveness. In addition, this Work Group continues to emphasize the following: (1) supporting efforts that lead to living wages, (2) collaborating with existing and new organizations that teach financial literacy and (3) using our collective power to increase the number of diverse entrepreneurs serving on local/statewide boards.



Through the formation of a strong, unified voice and a collection of strategies to improve the quality of out-of-school activities, our Education Work Group remains committed to their #1 goal–African American students succeed–ready for college, work, and life. On an annual basis and in collaboration with data collection organizations, members monitor, analyze, and draw conclusions about the status of African American educational achievement based on: United Way Accountability Measures, Polk County Chartbook, State and local statistics.



Our Health Work Group is committed to enhancing education and training for the early detection, prevention and intervention associated with reducing obesity in both adults and children and reducing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes for both groups. As a team, we advocate for more culturally specific mental health services, and support the work of various committees and task forces targeting improved mental health outcomes for African Americans. We also collaborate with other organizations to support and promote community-wide health activities and analyze data critical to creating and sustaining a healthier community.



The Families Work Group, now and in the future, works in cooperation with various agencies to assure that families in need have access to food, shelter, affordable housing, and reliable information that prevent homelessness. We link families in Greater Des Moines to social services and youth activities that support and strengthen family development. This work group is the leader in providing families with access to critical information and community-wide, long-range planning efforts. Through utilization of multi-media strategies and social media, we initiate resident advocacy through increased involvement with decision-makers that impact the future and stability of families.

Leadership Development and Mentoring

This Group represents a formalized structure for embracing our leadership—especially: (1) acting as a clearinghouse of information and resources relevant to leadership growth; (2) identifying legacy leaders; then linking these known achievers with emerging leaders and embryonic establishments; (3) increasing collaboration by sponsoring networking and other special events, coupled with shared training activities, and(4) advocating for seats at the table to offer diverse perspectives and credible voices for long-range initiatives like: the Tomorrow Plan, Capital Crossroads, Evelyn Davis Center for Working Families, Sixth Avenue Corridor, Healthy Polk 2020 Destinations, and Iowa–Healthiest State.

Contact Us


African American Leadership Forum—Des Moines

The Director's Council

PO BOX 264

Des Moines 50311


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