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South Bend Receives $50K Inclusive Procurement Grant

Published Friday, June 21, 2019

The Citi Foundation and Living Cities yesterday announced the expansion of the City Accelerator initiative on Inclusive Procurement, a retake on its fourth cohort, to 10 additional U.S. cities, including South Bend. The 10 cities will work together over the next year to pursue a range of projects to find innovative, effective, locally-tailored strategies to leverage public purchasing power to develop firms owned by people of color. Local initiatives range from implementing aggressive outreach strategies, developing procurement portals and creating an ecosystem of support services for firms owned by people of color to increase their opportunities to gain city contracts.

The following nine cities were also named recipients: Boston, Cleveland, Ohio, El Paso, Texas, Houston, Kansas City, Mo., Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, Pa.

Using the recommendations from the first City of South Bend MWBE Disparity Study for Purchasing and Contracting, the City’s project will focus on leveraging over $1.8 billion combined contracting and procurement spending of the top 10 employers in South Bend. This will help to create, stabilize, and scale up MBE/MWBE’s that offer the goods, services, professional services and contracting used locally every day to address the longstanding racial wealth divide through entrepreneurship.

“We are thrilled to be the only city of our size to be selected as part of the City Accelerator Inclusive Procurement cohort,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “Inclusive procurement is a key component of inclusive economic growth. This grant will join ongoing efforts like the West Side Small Business Resource Center and the City’s current MWBE Disparity Study. These actions come from the realization that it takes intentional practices to get inclusive outcomes.”

“The Office of Diversity and inclusion is committed to building a strong, comprehensive and inclusive economic ecosystem, which starts with the support and development of small, local, minority, and women owned businesses that feed into City procurement and contract opportunities,” said Diversity and Inclusion Officer Christina Brooks.

In addition to a $50,000 grant, each city will receive a combination of coaching, technical assistance and implementation resources in the coming year. Cities may consider local policy reform, supplier diversity engagement, improved contract compliance practices, utilization of tax incentives and economic development tools.

Technical assistance for the effort will be provided by Griffin & Strong, a law and public policy consulting firm specializing in disparity research and supplier diversity for government entities and private corporations.

To track the progress and work of these City Accelerator cities in the coming year, visit Governing Magazine, Citi’s blog and follow #CityAccelerator on Twitter.