Elena Gaarder

Elena Gaarder

Program Officer - East Side of Saint Paul

Started at Nexus: 2013

At Nexus:

I’m a program officer for the East Side of St. Paul who joined the Nexus staff in April 2013. My work involves supporting community-based partners, elevating local and broad-based ownership models, culturally-based economic practices, and the role of anchor institutions in building community wealth. I also engage in cultivating national partnerships to advance cooperative economic development strategies.


I have 20+ years of experience in community and economic development, affordable housing, program and organizational development; comprehensive planning and systems change efforts. I was awarded a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship in 2015 to deepen my knowledge and practice of community wealth building and cooperative economics. I have an undergraduate degree in Urban Planning from St. Cloud State University and a graduate degree in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University.

Click here for Elena’s professional bio


"We all do better when we all do better" -- Senator Paul Wellstone