MIT joins the Massachusetts Black Economic Council | MIT News

This fall, MIT joined the Massachusetts Black Economic Council (BECMA), a statewide Boston-based organization dedicated to advancing the economic well-being of Black businesses, organizations, and individuals in the Commonwealth of Nations.

The Office of the Vice President of Finance (VPF) and the Office of Government and Community Relations (OGCR) jointly continued their membership in BECMA as part of an effort to increase MIT’s purchasing and contracting with companies. belonging to minorities, as President Reif points out Letter of July 1, 2020 to the community on tackling systemic racism.

“We want to build relationships with a wide range of vendors to meet the needs of the MIT community, and black and other minority-owned businesses have a lot to offer in this regard,” said Glen Shor, executive vice president. and treasurer. “By working closely with the management of BECMA, we seize the opportunity to have a large-scale impact in promoting the prosperity of the Boston area – our largest community – and the Commonwealth. “

BECMA was formed in 2015 by Boston-area business leaders following the publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s “The Color of Wealth in Boston” report, who presented the revealing statistic that the median net worth of a black family in Boston is $ 8.00, while the median net worth of a white family is $ 247,500. The report was a call to action to BECMA leaders, who are taking a two-tiered approach to closing and reducing the racial wealth gap: advocating for racial equity in public policy and providing technical assistance to its commercial members.

On the political side, Paul Parravano, co-director of OGCR, joins forces with Samuel Gebru, director of policies and public affairs of BECMA, who developed the Massachusetts Black Economic Policy Program for 2021-2022.

“We welcome this opportunity to work closely with BECMA leaders to advance real change and opportunities for black families and businesses to build a stronger Commonwealth,” said Parravano. “BECMA has provided a meaningful roadmap around key policy issues. We look to this program for new ways of working together to address issues of racial inequity. By working together, they hope to address areas of opportunity in economic development, education, transportation and employment.

“Membership in BECMA will strengthen MIT’s position to move towards a more just and equitable economy in the Boston area, while increasing the opportunities for our campus buyers to buy from black businesses and other owned businesses. to minorities, ”said Christina Lo, VPF Strategy Director. procurement and contracts.

Lo is working with Emma Homstad, VPF Program Coordinator for MIT’s Small and Diverse Business Program, and Nicole Obi MCP ’95, SM ’95, Vice President of Member Experience and Engagement at BECMA, to develop a thoughtful and deliberate plan to expand the Institute’s purchasing from minority-owned businesses – an effort not as simple as loading a list of various suppliers into MIT’s procurement system.

“We’re both at an inflection point in our travels,” Homstad notes. “BECMA is responsible for bridging the racial wealth gap. They figure out how to engage anchor institutions in the Boston area that spend large amounts of money locally. MIT responds to President Reif’s charge of increasing purchasing with black-owned businesses and also responds to our DCI strategic priorities. We want to move our Small Business and Diversity agenda in a more community-aware direction. “

In November, Homstad represented MIT at Mass. BECMA’s annual Black Expo, where she had the opportunity to meet black business owners and entrepreneurs and learn about the goods and services they provide.

“We are working together to develop a strategy on how to bring diverse vendors to MIT and give them more buying opportunities at MIT,” Lo says. “We start with a process of intentional and mutual listening and learning. Our goal is to create tangible business opportunities with Black business owners who meet MIT’s spectrum of buying needs. “

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