April Ford Griffen
April Ford-Griffin has forged a distinguished professional career that has been focused on improving the lives of children, families and senior citizens while addressing the negative conditions of blighted, disinvested neighborhoods and disparities.
Ford-Griffin was initially elected to serve as a member of the Board of Alderman in 1997, representing the Fifth Ward of the City of St. Louis. She was subsequently re-elected to office four times as her accomplishments in office lead to a renaissance in her beloved community. She served in several critical capacities during her tenure at the Board of Alderman as; Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, Chairman of Neighborhood Development Committee, Vice Chair of Transportation Committee, Chairman of the African-American Aldermanic Caucus, Co-Founder of the African-American Aldermanic Caucus Foundation.
Ford-Griffin also is a former Commissioner of the St. Louis Lambert Airport and a former member of the Governor’s Lead Prevention Board. Currently serves as the Appeals Review Officer for the City of St. Louis MBE/WBE Certification Program.
The former Alderwoman is involved in political advocacy in that she served as an at-large delegate representing the State of Missouri at the 2000 Democratic Presidential Convention. Also selected as a State delegate to serve at the 2008 National Democratic Presidential Convention in the historic nomination of President Barack Obama.
During Ford-Griffin’s tenure in office as a full-time Alderman, the Fifth Ward experienced a historic resurgence with over $1 Billion Dollars worth of new residential, commercial, institutional and infrastructure development. Her leadership lead to the construction and/or renovation of over 1,500 units of quality, mixed-income housing. She was also instrumental in assisting the St. Louis Housing Authority and minority developer KAI Design-Build in securing a $20,000,000.00 HOPE VI grant which was used to transform the dilapidated Cochran Gardens public housing development into Cambridge Heights; a viable, attractive, mixed income community. She also facilitated the arrival of numerous new businesses in the 5th Ward including Ambassador Steel, Days Inn Hotel, Crown Mart, United Bags, and the Martin Luther King Plaza Phase III. Ford-Griffin was also lauded for her commitment to the inclusion of minority and women owned enterprises (MBE/WBE) in the revitalization of the 5th Ward. Because of her commitment to inclusion MBE/WBE developers have spearheaded over $40,000,000.00 worth of new development activities in her Ward. She has also ensured that MBE/WBE construction contractors, subcontractor and professional services firms had an opportunity to participate meaningfully in the on going redevelopment of the area.
Ford-Griffin has developed a keen sense of awareness of the effectiveness of non-profit organizations operating in the City of St. Louis. She has provided legislative and/or financial support to organizations such as the St. Louis Gateway Classic Foundation, Pruitt Igoe, Inc., Better Family Life, Places for People, Doorways, Youth and Family Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Cahill House Tenant Affairs Board, Haven of Grace, 100 Black Men, Grace Hill, Habitat for Humanity-St. Louis, North Grand Neighborhood Services, Innovative Concepts Academy, Monsanto Family YMCA, Employment Connection, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, Gateway 180 Homelessness Reversed, Community Renewal and Development, CHIPS, Vashon/Jeff-Vander-Lou Initiative and COVAM in their efforts to serve the residents of the 5th Ward. She has also received numerous awards for her outstanding leadership from such organizations as; Outstanding Women in Leadership, The Human Development Corporation, Metro Sentinel Journal, St. Louis Community Empowerment Foundation and Community Health in Partnership Services, The Links, The Ethics Project’s, Heat Up St. Louis, East-West Gateway, Civil Rights Enforcement Agency and more.
Ford-Griffin departed the Board of Aldermen in 2011, to become the director of the City’s Civil Rights Enforcement Agency (CREA). Ford-Griffin’s firm stance on the importance of inclusion, diversity and fairness lead her to increase CREA’s outreach services to an extraordinary level. During Ford-Griffin’s tenure at CREA, significant community outreach was conducted and associated educational and resource information was disseminated to all sectors of the St. Louis community including: all minority groups, LGBT focused organizations and organizations focused on providing supportive services to the growing immigrant population of St. Louis. Ford-Griffin also worked diligently to increase the awareness of Fair Housing Month in St. Louis, by reaching out to local housing officials, developers and other stakeholder’s in an effort to forge unity and understanding in the housing and construction realms.
In 2013, Ford-Griffin then accepted a new position as executive director of the Affordable Housing Commission. The focus of the agency is to promote City living and neighborhood stabilization through the preservation of affordable, accessible housing and support services that enhance the quality of life for those in need. Since its inception, the Affordable Housing Commission has supported such noteworthy developments and agencies as: Hope Square and Carondelet Builds/Habitat for Humanity St. Louis, Interfaith Residence/Doorways, Gateway 180 Homelessness Reversed, Peter and Paul Community Services, St. Patrick Center, City of St. Louis Department of Human Services, Employment Connection and the Catholic Charities Housing Resource Center. To date the Commission has invested over $99 million into social services and the creation of 3,687 affordable housing units in the City of St. Louis.
Alderwoman Ford-Griffin comes from a family with a distinguished history of elected public service and civil rights activism. Her parents State Representative Louis H. Ford and Ida Ford served for over thirty years in public office and her brother Anthony is a former State Representative. Ford-Griffin a dedicated mother of three children is also a member of A Sure Foundation Christian Church.