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Economic Inclusion

Support for Black-Owned Businesses and Philadelphia's Diverse Small Business Network

As expressed by University of Pennsylvania President, Dr. Amy Gutmann, “We must, as a country and community, resolve to find better ways forward to understand and address systemic racism and closely related economic, educational, political, and social inequities. We must work together to build more hope for the future.  That work begins at home, in our beloved University.”

These words guide our work in procurement as we stand in support of the Black community and partnering diversity communities in the City of Philadelphia.  We celebrate our local, diverse, small business suppliers, who have continued to work through adversity to deliver services to the University at the highest levels.  We also stand with our community partners who help support small, minority-owned businesses.  As recent, tragic events have been directed at our Black community, and have had a destructive impact in our West Philadelphia neighborhoods, we especially celebrate the tireless work of the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, and DE, The Enterprise Center, and the University City District.  We encourage you to visit their websites to learn more about their work and how you may be able to contribute to their inclusion efforts.

We also celebrate our many other partners who are dedicated to supporting small, local, minority businesses, and invite you to visit our Partners page to learn more about their work.

Supplier Diversity & Inclusion Program

The University of Pennsylvania, located in a lively, diverse neighborhood in West Philadelphia, has a long-standing commitment to local and diverse procurement. In the 1980s Penn launched its Buy West Philadelphia initiative aimed at advancing local purchasing efforts. Over the years, the road traveled has been paved with stories about meaningful connections between suppliers and University buyers, valued collaboration among community organizations and peer institutions, and a deep and abiding commitment to further extend Penn’s economic footprint into a vibrant and diverse local community.

Penn’s Supplier Diversity & Inclusion Program serves to ensure that: 1) procurement processes and systems identify and promote local and diverse suppliers; 2) relationships with valued local and diversity partners are cultivated and nurtured; 3) goals are thoughtfully set, and 4) impact is measured and the program and held to account.

Penn’s intentionally inclusive procurement efforts continue to deliver positive outcomes for the University and the local and diverse suppliers that do business with Penn, helping to build wealth and foster prosperity within the neighboring community.

Economic Inclusion Plenary Committee

Vital to its collaborative efforts and its connection to the greater Philadelphia business community is Purchasing Services' participation on the University’s Economic Inclusion Plenary Committee.  The Plenary Committee - made up of Penn leaders as well as community partners - provides strategic oversight and direction regarding Penn's economic inclusion objectives. A subset to the Plenary Committee is the Procurement Working Committee for Economic Inclusion.  The Working Committee brings together Purchasing Services and its sourcing professionals with community partners including the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA-NJ-DE, Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, City of Philadelphia's Office of Economic Opportunity, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, Enterprise Center, Independence Business Alliance, Netter Center for Community Partnerships, University City District, West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative, and Wharton Social Impact Initiative. Through both Committees' continued engagement, members collectively work to drive economic impact in neighboring areas around campus, the City, and the region while valuing diversity in the University’s supply chain.