Milwaukee receives grant to increase diversity of vendors

City Accelerator program awards $100,000 and assistance

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The City of Milwaukee has received a $100,000 grant aimed at increasing the diversity of its vendors and contractors.

The Citi Foundation and Living Cities announced they are expanding their City Accelerator program to include five more cities, including Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Milwaukee.

Each will receive a $100,000 grant, along with coaching, technical assistance and implementation resources over the next year, to change their approach to procurement spending. The cities will pursue at least one new strategy to increase the diversity of municipal vendors and contractors and direct more spend to local minority-owned businesses.

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“Our downtown is the heart of the city, and it’s going strong. I want our downtown to pump that energy and vitality into every one of our neighborhoods,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “We have long emphasized connecting our work on the city with jobs and businesses in the city. Working with the City Accelerator on our procurement strategies will help connect us to more city businesses, and support business growth throughout Milwaukee.”

To date, City Accelerator has worked with 12 municipalities in an effort to test new ways to drive sustainable growth while increasing opportunity for lower-income residents.

“These cities are taking a hard look at how they purchase goods and services for their communities,” said Ed Skyler, executive vice president for global public affairs at Citi and chairman of the Citi Foundation. “They recognize that there is an opportunity to strengthen their procurement practices – and cities overall – by connecting directly with the diverse businesses and ideas within their communities. We are excited to see the ideas and approaches that come from this year’s City Accelerator.”

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