top of page

Get to Know Us

The Network for the Development of Children of African Descent (NdCAD) is a family education center based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since 1997, we have served children, families, and communities throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area, offering a variety of literacy and cultural enrichment programs and services for children, youth, and adults.


Our Mission

We exist to strengthen the cultural connections within communities of African descent
that promote, sustain and enhance the healthy development of our children.​​

Our goal is to positively impact the cultural, spiritual, and academic development of children
by working holistically with young people, parents, educators, and the community. We do our work by strengthening 4 Critical Cultural Connections – Identity, Family, Community and Systems.

Our Vision

  • We envision a place where the African spirit is nurtured and renewed

  • We envision a place where African people come together to learn of and from ourselves

  • We envision a place where we come to learn from our elders and children

  • We envision a place where we affirm our global family

  • We envision a place where we take care of family business

Our Approach

  • Cultural Critical Literacy

  • Holistic and Two-Generation

  • Self-Determination and Efficacy

Strategic Objectives

  • Prepare children for success in school and life

  • Help parents help their children achieve academic and social success

  • Help teachers and educators better serve African descent learners

  • Build and strengthen community networks that support our children


Learning What Works!

A Historical Narrative

Our history began in the mid-90s when community members came together to discuss prevailing needs and issues affecting African/African American children and families. These community conversations resulted in the need to create an organization that would focus on Learning What Works!


NdCAD’s inception emerged from an early childhood systems change project called Cultural Beginnings, which sought to engage communities of color, across Minnesota, in a process of creating a vision for a more culturally-responsive early education and childcare system.


The work of Cultural Beginnings, within communities of African descent, identified the need for an organization that would focus on learning about community assets and strengths, that already exist. The overall goal was to affect broader systems change.


The community determined that by first working to strengthen and build capacity at the community level, our community would be better positioned to impact change that supports the healthy development of our children. NdCAD is a direct outcome and result of the organizing efforts, that were sponsored by the Cultural Beginnings Project.

With systems change in mind, NdCAD’s approach to programming is unique. Our programs are designed and used as learning models that allow us to demonstrate ‘what works’ for reaching and teaching our children, while simultaneously engaging parents and community members.


We share what we learn by providing professional development training workshops to institutions, service providers and policy makers with the goal of informing and influencing systems change.

bottom of page