Report shows commitment to diversity
On March 31, the Bank released the 2019 Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Report. The annual report highlights the Bank’s long-standing commitment to diversity in its people, procurement and partnerships and summarizes the many ways the Bank has made diversity and inclusion efforts a priority.
The Bank’s supplier diversity strategy encourages the procurement of goods and services from minority- and women-owned business enterprises, or MWBEs. The Kansas City Fed identified diverse suppliers for 78% of the Bank’s sourcing events in 2019. Of these events, 59% received bids from diverse suppliers and ultimately 20% of all the Bank’s contracts were awarded to diverse suppliers. This resulted in a $7.3 million spend with diverse suppliers, a $1.4 million increase over 2018.
Partnerships; the secret to robust MWBE purchasing
Knowing that interconnectedness makes everyone stronger, the Bank cultivates working relationships with diverse community organizations that benefit from the partnership and, in turn, can provide support for the Bank’s supplier diversity strategy. Partnering with organizations across the Tenth District allows us to identify and maintain a diverse group of potential suppliers, increasing our effort to obtain competitive, high-quality goods and services.
COVID-19 poised to reverse gains made since Great Recession
In the wake of COVID-19, small businesses owned by minorities and women have been heavily affected. Because the types of businesses affected by COVID-19 are different than those hit by the Great Recession, the pandemic recovery period may look different. While MWBEs were more likely to close during the Great Recession, “they helped stabilize the economy during the recovery period,” according to the Brookings Institution. Nationally, MWBEs added 1.8 million jobs from 2007 to 2012, while firms owned by white males lost 800,000 jobs, and firms equally owned by white men and women lost another 1.6 million jobs. The Great Recession hit construction and manufacturing hard, while the recovery was fueled by growth in industries that have higher MWBE ownership: health care, accommodation and food service industries. COVID-19, though, is putting these industries at immediate risk.
Now is the time to ramp up support for small MWBEs
It is important for everyone to understand that this crisis affects us all. Small businesses are critical to U.S. economic growth, providing services in many fields. Without small businesses, the economy won't grow, thus they are needed to assist in the recovery from this pandemic. I encourage you to utilize services from a diverse vendor to show your support for the business. The SBA small business database can be helpful in finding diverse suppliers in your area.