Saturday, September 13, 2014

Afrifest Foundation Board Meeting, September 13

This afternoon, I went to the Center for Families in Minneapolis to attend the Afrifest Foundation Board meeting. Four Board members participated in the meeting: Nathan White, Pablo Whaley, David Wilson, and Joseph Mbele.

We heard a report about Afrifest 2014 from Nathan White, Board Executive Secretary, noting that publicity for the event was perhaps better this year than in all previous years. The event itself went well, except that around 6pm it started to rain, prompting vendors to wrap up their activities. Even though many attendees left because of the rain, some remained for almost three hours more.

Nathan also noted that Kenyans, perhaps more than any other nationality, played a key role in the festival this year. The DJ was Kenyan, the Kenyans had a table displaying various artifacts and many festival attendees were Kenyans. They also made up the soccer team. The City of Brooklyn Park lent its support, and we noted that even the mayor came to the festival.

Nathan asserted that in terms of event planning and production, the Afrifest Foundation now has much experience and expertise. Other organizations are already seeking out the Foundation for advice on how to produce their own events. We are excited to be in a position to assume this new role.

The Afrifest Foundation has been in contact with Liberation Clothing and Gifts, a regular vendor at Afrifest, exploring the idea of the Foundation's participation in the Black History Expo, Liberation Clothing and Gift's signature annual event, which is scheduled for February 2015. The Afrifest Foundation is thinking about hosting a "Taste of Africa" event at the Expo.

Nathan shared the view that in the future, we should make sure to invite a major performing artistic group, recalling that at the first Festival we had the late Lucky Dube performing, and, naturally, he drew a large crowd. His show was reported in the Twin Cities Daily Planet and Mshale.

We noted that there are other organizations we can work with, including religious groups which share our vision and mission to bring about greater connections within the African and African Diaspora communities and between them and people of non-African descent, by fostering social, cultural and other programs.

We will also collaborate with groups which work in the field of global health. There is, for example, an event in December, on the ebola epidemic.

We will continue to keep in mind the other dimensions of the Foundation's mission, notably, cultural and educational programming. Although these are to some extent, a part of what we have been doing during the Festival, we want to be more active in creating or exploiting opportunities focused on programs such as cultural education.

We will focus, as well, on grant writing, to enhance our activities. Also, since we have 501(c)3 status, we look forward to being the fiscal agent for other organizations. Finally, people can now donate to the Afrifest Foundation directly, with a credit card, online.

No comments: