Feature Story


Saint Paul, MN (February 27, 2023) – After an exhaustive recruitment process, the Board of Directors is pleased to announce Minnesota attorney, Christopher Crutchfield, as incoming CEO of Ujamaa Place. Crutchfield, who has significant experience in the government sector, begins his term on April 10, 2023.

 Board Chair, Sam Clark, states, “with his background and experience, Chris is uniquely qualified to steer the ship at this critical time as our communities rebuild in the aftermath of a global pandemic. We want to make sure we are helping as many men as possible, and I am confident Chris is the individual to ensure we are doing just that.”

Operating since 2009, the Saint Paul-based nonprofit organization’s mission is to transform the lives of young, predominantly African American men experiencing inequity at the intersection of race and poverty. Via its trademarked Theory of Transformation program model, Ujamaa Place helps participants achieve brotherhood, stability, and personal success.

Crutchfield’s acceptance of the new role, comes on the heels of former CEO Otis Zanders, announcing his retirement in August of last year. Michael Belton has served as Interim CEO since October. When asked what the role means to him, Crutchfield responded, “I am humbled, honored, and excited for the opportunity to work with such an excellent organization to build on the past and grow into our future.”



Christopher Crutchfield is an attorney and is the Deputy Director of Community Relations for Ramsey County Community Corrections.  He is also an adjunct professor at Inver Hills Community College where he teaches litigation to paralegals.  Prior to that, Crutchfield was a Committee Administrator at the Minnesota House of Representatives, and partner at Capitol Heights Law Group where he successfully secured one of the largest gender equity settlements in Minnesota.  Since the mid-1980s, Crutchfield has been involved in outdoor education that focuses on teaching about anti-racism and race equity.  These programs include Underground Railroad re-enactments and other cultural outdoor programs for youth. He was formerly President of the Audubon Center of the Northwoods.  Crutchfield lives near Lake Phalen in Saint Paul and enjoys fishing.  He is married and has five children ranging in age from 10 to 30 years old. 

Ujamaa Place serves the most marginalized population in society, primarily African American men, ages 18-30. Ujamaa Place provides holistic transformation for men experiencing inequity at the intersection of race and poverty. Ujamaa Place helps them achieve brotherhood, stability, and personal success. For more information visit: ujamaaplace.org.

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