Dell Gines can be found hosting a community roundtable in Broken Bow, Nebraska one day and speaking at a national summit in Kansas City, Missouri, the next. As the community development advisor for the Kansas City Fed's Omaha Branch, he leads efforts to improve the economic well-being and quality of life of low- to moderate-income populations.
While Dell works across the community development spectrum, his specific area of expertise is small business. “I am proud of the work our Bank has done in entrepreneurship-led development,” Dell said. “Over the past six years, the Kansas City Fed has become one of the national thought leaders for this model and has helped many communities envision a new way to grow their local economies.”
The model focuses on the notion that entrepreneurship is an effective way to establish sustainable wealth from employment and ownership, which results in thriving markets and a healthy society. Dell led the development of Grow Your Own, a series of guides, and eBooks designed to help community development practitioners, educators and funders apply entrepreneurship principles to create community economic growth. Dell spends most of his time speaking and working with financial institutions and community organizations to apply the model.
“My most exciting recent project around this strategy has been focus-group research on African American women entrepreneurs. These women are starting businesses faster than any other group in the nation,” he said. To complement this work, Dell partnered with colleagues at the New York Fed on the credit needs of women business owners.
Dell has worked in economic development for almost 14 years and has been a part of the Bank’s Community Development team for half of that time. His early career was in banking but he soon moved to the nonprofit sector to manage a small business incubator. After that, he worked for Habitat for Humanity and then ran a small non-profit health care organization.
“I have always had a strong passion for helping communities grow and have been doing community service since I was 17,” he said. He is personally concerned about the impact of mass incarceration on minority communities and spends some of his free time helping ex-convicts become positive members of their communities. He partners with Black Men United in administrating a soft-skills training program for youth adjudicated as adults in the Nebraska Youth Correctional Facility.
In addition, he’s working on his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska’s College of Public Administration. His research ties well with his work and focuses on how entrepreneurship can be used to create local economic development.
Dell lives with his wife and three of his five children in Omaha. His oldest two children are currently attending college.