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 identifying and supporting organizations involved in community wealth building, which is a systems based approach that focuses on local and broad based ownership, local asset development and creating multiple pathways for building individual and community wealth.


I started on this journey in 1996 as a community organizer and have since been involved in work around equity and social justice in a number of capacities, including acting as the executive director of several neighborhood organizations, serving on the board of directors for the City of Lakes Community Land Trust and providing consulting services to small family foundations and community development groups. I was recently awarded a 2015 Bush Leadership Fellowship to deepen my knowledge and practice around community wealth building. When I am not at Nexus, you can find me working on an endless list of home improvement projects, spending time with family or buried in the racks at a local thrift store.


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