"African Americans Represent a small portion of the Minnesota population, yet African American men and youth are incarcerated at a disproportionate rate, contributing to low high school and college graduation rates. With my fellowship, I will work to engage African-American men in conversations about how we are involved in our families as providers, role models, fathers, partners and more. As African-American men and boys to become part of the solution, we will see lower contact with the criminal justice system, higher graduation rates and fewer young men in our special education system."

- Dave ELLIS

Minneapolis, MN.

Mr. Dave Ellis, Founder and CEO of Dave Ellis Consulting

"The meaning of life is to find your gift.The purpose of life is to give it away."

-  Pablo Picasso

Dave Ellis is Founder of Dave Ellis Consulting, a group dedicated to providing quality strategic planning and community engagement services utilizing Art of Hosting Conversations That Matter.  Ellis has hosted discussions with groups ranging from 10 to 800 participants on topics from strategic planning for communities and nonprofits to community engagement with state and other agencies.  Ellis has a history of working closely with programs in the domestic violence and homelessness areas. Most recently he facilitated an Open Space Technology strategic planning process for the Heading Home Ramsey project.

Ellis was a Community Impact Partnership Manager at Greater Twin Cities United Way for over 5 years, developing a community driven, 9-county wide response to domestic violence and homelessness.  He represented United Way on the Governor’s Visible Child Workgroup with a focus on creating a plan to address homeless children prenatal through 3 years of age and their families, the Minnesota Department of Health’s Prenatal to 3 Task force and its Diabetes Initiative.  

Ellis was an employee with the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC), retiring after 20+ years of service. He began his career as a Correctional Officer and was promoted through the correctional ranks.  He has held various positions including corrections security case manager, Affirmative Action Officer, Executive Officer of Juvenile Release, Director of Diversity and Equity and Project Director.

Ellis left Corrections temporarily to become the Director of the Racial Disparity Initiative - a participatory-methodology research project at the Council on Crime and Justice, looking at disparities in Minnesota's criminal justice system.  While there, he also led the legislatively mandated Statewide Racial Profiling Study.  Ellis returned to the DOC as a Program Director to head up the federal Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative locally named Project SOAR.  This research based project worked with 225 of Minnesota's most serious and violent offenders between the ages of 16 - 34.  He worked closely with the Commissioner of Minnesota Housing and Finance to address the issue of housing for offenders re-entering the community.

Ellis facilitates community and agency strategic planning sessions utilizing processes based in the Art of Hosting Conversations That Matter. He has participated in and served as a consulting producer with tpt MN on 2documentaries.

Ellis earned a BA degree from McKendree College in Lebanon, IL.  He is currently pursuing his MPA degree at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  He was recently recognized as a recipient of a Bush Foundation Fellowship grant.