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A collective of leading companies and organizations spanning the region from Baltimore to Richmond are committed to helping scale support for Minority Business Enterprises and underrepresented communities.
WASHINGTON, March 29, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On Wednesday, the Greater Washington Partnership will hold a landmark event at Howard University featuring Vice President Kamala D. Harris, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Guzman. Hosted by Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick, the event will serve as the official announcement and celebration of $4.7 billion over five years in collective efforts to support underrepresented communities and Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) in the Capital Region. Vice President Harris, who has led in the White House on helping small businesses in underserved communities, will deliver remarks and share new ways that the Biden-Harris Administration is helping small businesses access capital.
The participating organizations in these efforts are all partners of the Greater Washington Partnership, a civic alliance of business and community leaders committed to making the Capital Region from Baltimore to Richmond a leading global center for commerce, innovation, and shared prosperity.
Specifically, the $4.7 billion in transformational efforts are directed in three ways:
1. Supplier Diversity: $2.6 billion toward procurement spending with diverse suppliers and Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), with a priority to spend with Black- and Latinx-owned businesses. This effort both meets critical business needs and addresses systemic inequities that have created barriers to growth for these groups;
2. Racial Equity: $1.5 billion in wealth-building opportunities in underrepresented communities, such as direct corporate investments in affordable housing and in community organizations that are leading place-based equity initiatives; and
3. Access to Capital: $619 million for financial investments in local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs). CDFIs and MDIs provide access to capital to underrepresented populations in the form of loans and strategic financing in order to create economic opportunity.
"The scope of this investment in this region is unparalleled and shows the deep commitment of our business community to create a more fair and inclusive economy," said Peter L. Scher, Vice Chairman at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Board Chair of the Greater Washington Partnership. "This is a moment when leaders from all sectors have to step up and take action. We are thrilled that so many organizations are making the kind of investments that will lead to tangible and lasting change. This is a testament to the power of collective action."
Overview of $4.7 Billion Effort
The $4.7 billion includes efforts from the following organizations: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Amazon, AstraZeneca, Bank of America, Boston Consulting Group, Capital One, Clark Construction, Comcast, Deloitte, Dominion Energy, Exelon, EY, Gensler, Georgetown University, Howard University, Inova Health Systems, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Kaiser Permanente, McKinsey & Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation, SAIC, Thompson Hospitality, Truist, Washington Commanders, and Wells Fargo.
The Partnership is committed to supporting the growth and scale of diverse businesses – particularly Black and Latinx-owned businesses – by bringing together the region’s largest employers to prioritize their procurement spending with diverse suppliers. Over five years, the $2.6 billion in supplier diversity efforts and commitments is expected to generate approximately $3.5 billion in revenue for small and medium-sized businesses, to create and sustain approximately 4,000+ jobs per year, and to drive a cumulative GDP impact of approximately $2 billion.
The Partnership will amplify existing supplier diversity efforts by sharing and exchanging data and best practices through its Supplier Diversity Leadership Roundtables. By focusing on supplier diversity, the Partnership hopes to see more success stories like Thompson Hospitality, a 30-year-old minority-owned food service company based in Reston, VA, and member of the Partnership’s Inclusive Growth Strategy Council. Through its 25-year partnership with Compass Group, Thompson Hospitality has grown from $34 million to $800 million in revenue and is now the largest minority-owned food and facilities management company in the country. Thompson Hospitality proudly serves many Historically Black Colleges and Universities and owns and operates unique restaurant brands across the U.S.
Partnership organizations are making investments to support wealth generation for underrepresented communities across the region. For example, since January 2021, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund has committed more than $795 million in low-rate loans and grants in its HQ2 region to create and preserve more than 4,400 affordable homes. In Arlington County, Virginia, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund has increased the long-term committed multi-family affordable housing stock by 22%, based on data provided by Arlington County.
Additionally, in October 2021, Exelon launched a $36 million Racial Equity Capital Fund to support minority-owned businesses in the communities it serves – nearly half of which is dedicated to this region. The fund, managed by RockCreek, will invest much needed debt and equity capital to help minority-owned businesses scale.
Access to Capital
CDFIs and MDIs are instrumental to supporting historically underinvested communities. They provide much needed capital to low-and-moderate income communities for community facilities, affordable housing, personal banking, and they provide loans to businesses who face systemic barriers to accessing capital. For example, Capital Impact Partners, a CDFI that has operated since 1982, has invested $277.5 million in loans and strategic financing for minority and women-owned small businesses in the Baltimore-to-Richmond area alone.
The Partnership invites companies and organizations from across sectors to join this historic effort and believes it will be a catalyst to drive transformational change across the Capital Region.
Delivering on the $4.7 billion effort will require both laser focus and sustained effort. As announced in April 2021, the Partnership is developing an Inclusive Growth Blueprint in collaboration with Deloitte. The Blueprint will provide a 10-year roadmap to close the equity gaps in the region and advance shared prosperity.
"The impact of this incredible commitment is only possible through the continued partnership, support, and expertise of our employers and community partners," said Francesca Ioffreda, the Partnership’s Vice President for Inclusive Growth & Talent Initiatives. "By building on what’s already working and supporting Black and Latinx-owned businesses in this region through supplier diversity efforts and strategic capital investments, we have a tremendous opportunity to build an economy that is more equitable, resilient, and prosperous for all."
Through the combined strengths and assets of the leaders behind these commitments and the community partners impacted by them, the region is well-positioned for success. The Partnership will leverage its social, intellectual, and financial resources to drive shared prosperity and economic opportunity across the region. This collective action represents a reaffirmed commitment to ensuring economic growth benefits all residents – regardless of zip code.
About the Greater Washington Partnership
The Greater Washington Partnership is a first-of-its-kind civic alliance of CEOs in the Capital Region, drawing from the leading public, private, and nonprofit organizations committed to making the region from Baltimore to Richmond one of the world's best places to live, work and build a business. Working in collaboration with leaders across our communities, the Partnership connects and leverages the region's extraordinary assets to catalyze inclusive, actionable solutions that strengthen the Capital Region as a leading global center for commerce, innovation, and shared prosperity.
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