The Bottom Line: The Power of Procurement – Next City

The Bottom Line: The Power of Procurement

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The 100 largest cities in the U.S. have a combined budget of $214 billion. That number pales in comparison to the roughly $4.8 trillion federal budget, but it’s not chump change, either. City budgets have power — power not just over how their money is spent but on whom the money is spent, and where that budget money is stored in the meantime.

In this ebook we have collected stories about how more cities are choosing to spend their money with women- and minority-owned businesses — and, increasingly, with LGBTQ-owned businesses as well. When cities shift some of their contracting dollars to businesses that historically have been left out of these opportunities, the value extends beyond the dollar amount on the paperwork. For example, one estimate pegs the revenues of every LGBTQ-owned business in the country at $1.7 trillion; this makes a compelling case that any city wanting to get ahead should invest in those businesses.

In this ebook you’ll find stories from cities across the U.S. that detail:
- How government procurement contracts unlock new opportunities for MWBE and LGBTQ businesses;
- How securing contracts with large anchor institutions can protect jobs and ensure success for small businesses;
- How cities can influence what happens to their money before it’s spent, by asking more of the banks that have the privilege of holding city deposits.

We hope the stories in this collection show that the very real innovations happening in this realm can improve lives and make cities better for everyone.

We thank journalists Emily Nonko and Valerie Vande Panne for their stories that appear in this volume. A special thanks goes to our most prolific contributor, Senior Economics Correspondent Oscar Perry Abello, who has dedicated his career both to reporting on the ways that cities can reverse longstanding institutional racism, and to elevating the groups who increase access to capital for historically marginalized populations.

This ebook is part of our ongoing series, “The Bottom Line,” which is made possible with support from Citi. The Bottom Line is about scalable solutions for problems related to affordability, inclusive economic growth and access to capital. 

Finally, sincere thanks to our members, who support Next City through your donations. As a nonprofit newsroom, we depend on reader contributions to fund not only our journalism, but our ebooks, special issues, events and webinar programming. When we can report on what works in one city, other cities inevitably follow. To tell these stories, we need your support. Every day we commit to amplifying this message: change is possible, and it’s already happening.

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