By AFRO Staff
On March 30, members of the Greater Washington Partnership publicly announced a $4.7 billion commitment to businesses owned by minorities and women from Richmond to Washington D.C.
U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Guzman and U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Romanda, delivered remarks at Howard University in Washington D.C., with Vice president Kamala Harris on hand to praise the effort that was announced on the grounds of her alma mater.
The event was hosted by Howard University President, Dr. Wayne Frederick, and featured the Greater Washington Partnership (GWP), an alliance of local CEOs, civic organizations, businesses and community leaders.
“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 Board Chair of the Greater Washington Partnership, Peter L. Scher. “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.
Scher, who is also Vice Chairman at JPMorgan Chase and Company, added that “this is a testament to the power of collective action.”
GWP focuses on making “the Capital Region from Baltimore to Richmond a leading global center for commerce, innovation, and shared prosperity,” and will use the funds to improve underserved and underrepresented communities over the next five years.
According to information released by GWP, the $4.7 billion pledged by corporate giants will go towards three key initiatives: supplier diversity, racial equity and access to capital.
Roughly $2.6 billion will go towards filling procurement needs specifically with diverse suppliers and Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), with a focus on dollars being spent with businesses owned by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.
The focus on procuring resources from Black and Brown businesses is expected to create more than 4,000 jobs each year. The $2.6 billion investment is also expected to yield approximately $3.5 billion in revenue for the businesses used.
According to GWP, another $1.5 billion will be dedicated to “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.”
The Partnership’s Vice President for Inclusive Growth & Talent Initiatives, Francesca Ioffreda, said “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.”
A $619 million set aside has been created for financial investments into local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs). GWP states CDFIs are crucial because “CDFIs and MDIs provide access to capital to underrepresented populations in the form of loans and strategic financing in order to create economic opportunity.”
Companies involved in the effort include: 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, JBG SMITH, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Kaiser Permanente, McKinsey & Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation, SAIC, Thompson Hospitality, Truist, Washington Commanders, and Wells Fargo.
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