2009 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
|Dr. Saeed Fahia
Confederation of the Somali Community in Minnesota
Dr. Saeed Fahia is the executive director of the Confederation of the Somali Community in Minnesota (CSCM). The CSCM was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1994 by a group of diverse Somali leaders who recognized the need to meet the significant resettlement and self- sufficiency needs of Somali refugees. Over the past 16 years, CSCM has evolved into the predominant multiservice Somali organization in the state of Minnesota, focused on providing services and advocating for the estimated 50,000 Somali immigrants and refugees who now reside in the Twin City metropolitan area. Since 1994, CSCM has been based in the Brian Coyle Community Center, situated in Minneapolis' Cedar‑Riverside Neighborhood, across the street from 1,800 mostly subsidized Riverside Plaza and Minneapolis public housing apartment units.
CSCM offers programs from three Cedar-Riverside neighborhood sites, including the Coyle Center (Headquarters), Riverside Plaza (African Women’s Center), and the People’s Center (youth program site). CSCM’s mission is to enhance the lives of Somalis in Minnesota. The organization has four primary goals: ensuring access to appropriate basic need and self-sufficiency services; uniting all Somali groups residing in Minnesota; preserving Somali traditions and culture; and educating the community-at-large about Somalis.
CSCM provides services to any Somali community member, regardless of age, gender, class, ethnic group, or political affiliation. CSCM forms a critical bridge between the Somali community and state and local agencies such as the police, the health care system, schools, and the general public. The organization is featured regularly on the local Somali cable television program, and the executive director of CSCM is frequently interviewed by the mainstream media for the Somali community’s perspective on a wide range of community issues. CSCM was the first Somali organization to develop sustainable programming for Somali girls; this has been a catalyst for programming related to health issues. The organization frequently gathers input and approval from elders in the community in order to implement programs and address community concerns.
In addition to all his community work, Dr. Fahia has been an advocate and friend of the FBI. He attended the Minneapolis Division’s first Citizens’ Academy in 2005, and since that time he has been a supporter of the Bureau. Since 2005 he has been an active Citizens’ Academy alumnus and attends all of that organization’s events.