REPORT: Contracting for Racial Equity

Contracting for Equity

Best Local Government Practices that Advance Racial Equity in Government Contracting and Procurement

The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) joined forces with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development and author Tim Lohrentz to produce a hands-on issue paper on a topic familiar across governmental jurisdictions, contracting and procurement. Local governments procure and contract for a variety of things – from complex construction or architectural services to supplies, all of which help to keep government running.

To read and download the full report, click here.

Susan Smith

Susan Smith is a Project Manager for the City of San Francisco Controller’s Office in its City Performance Unit, providing high level consulting services, technical assistance and analysis to various City departmental leaders and the Mayor’s Office in an effort to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public services.

Prior to her work with the City of San Francisco, Susan was Managing Director at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, where she oversaw the Insight Center’s national and statewide efforts to develop innovative policies and new initiatives to help vulnerable communities become and remain economically secure.  Susan represented the Insight Center on a range of economic security-related policies and programs, including: testifying at public hearing and writing public comments; identifying, building and sustaining new partnerships, speaking to the press; organizing networks, conducting trainings and presentations; and writing reports.  Over nearly a decade with the Insight Center, Susan identified new opportunities to deepen the organization’s impact, and strategically expanded its geographic reach by developing and managing the implementation of four new initiatives.

Susan has worked to achieve economic justice for nearly two decades. Prior to joining the Insight Center, Susan directed an asset development program for low-income refugees at Lao Family Community Development. She contested public assistance case closings and benefits allocations as an advocate at the Urban Justice Center in New York City. And, early in her career, Susan was competitively selected to participate in a management training program in municipal government, New York City Urban Fellows Program, where she analyzed the impacts of new policies on tax collection and housing rehabilitation for the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development.

Susan graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College, and received an MPA in Public Policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Roberto E. Barragan

As the Senior Managing Director of Manhattan West Asset Management, a $300 million private wealth management firm, Roberto Barragan is responsible for establishing a $50 million equity fund to originate, fund and manage small business loans made to women and minority owned small businesses in low and moderate income communities nationally.

Prior to that, from 199 to 2016, Mr. Barragan was the President of VEDC (Valley Economic Development Center), a Los Angeles based non-profit organization in Los Angeles, managing a $11 million budget with 80 employees in 8 offices throughout the country. VEDC served over 3,000 businesses yearly with financing, training and direct business assistance. Roberto led VEDC to build $60 million in assets with a small business loan portfolio of $35 million.

He led VEDC to national prominence as a highly regarded Community Development Financial Institution originating $25 million annually in small business loans. The VEDC lent almost $100 million to women and minority business owners in the last 10 years, and launched numerous loan programs including Business Opportunity Funds in Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas and New York, the National African American Small Business Loan Fund and the National Micro Finance Fund among others. His commitment to diverse communities is evidenced by the $13 million VEDC lent to the African American communities and $35 million lent to Latino business in the last 10 years. 

Mr. Barragan is the founder of the Golden State Certified Development Corporation, a local SBA 504 lender. In 2005, he founded the Pacoima Development Federal Credit Union by raising $2 million in deposits, $500,000 in capital and securing a federal charter from the National Credit Union Association. Over the last 6 years, Mr. Barragan has raised over $100 million in federal, state and local as well as private resources for small and medium sized business development.

Mr. Barragan is a nationally recognized expert on community loan funds and microlending, and is a regular lecturer and media expert on these subjects. He serves as the Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank’s Community Advisory Council.

Monica Gonzales

Monica is an experienced strategist with over 15 years of experience in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. She is a skilled communicator and strategic thinker providing client services focused on strategies and solutions that specifically meet their needs and advance their goals. She established Vista Strategies on the principle of being transformational vs. transactional.

Prior to founding Vista Strategies, LLC, Monica directed AARP’s Office of Public Outreach where she oversaw a multi-million-dollar external giving program and managed AARP’s relationships with national stakeholders. During her tenure at AARP, she launched the AARP CEO Salon Series, a thought leader initiative that brought together over 70 leaders from the national media, the hill, think-tanks, non-profit and industry leaders to engage in a dialogue.

She is adept at managing complex issues and working collaboratively with stakeholders to influence the national conversation and pursue solutions outside of the regulatory and legislative process. Monica has received recognition for successfully leading national initiatives; she is the recipient of the Secretary of the Army Public Service Award and the Federal Bronze Medal for outstanding service for the successful negotiation of the National Headwaters Forest. She was detailed the White House under the Clinton Administration to serve on the Presidents Council for Sustainable Development managing the work of the Population and Consumption Task Force, and was an agency representative on the Federal Interagency working Group for Environmental Justice.

Monica grew up in Santa Fe Springs, California, has a bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University, is a Nationals fan and enjoys spending time with her family at Nat’s games.

Josephine Pradia Rhymes

Josephine Pradia Rhymes is Executive Director of Tri-County Workforce Alliance (TCWA) since its implementation in 1996. TCWA helps bring economic and community development to a three-county region (Coahoma, Bolivar, Quitman) of the Mississippi Delta.

Josephine is also Program Director of Youth Leadership Clarksdale, a program she helped to conceive 18 years ago. She taught for many years at both the high school and community college levels and was selected for Who’s Who Among American Teachers in 1990. In 1992 Josephine received the NAACP’s Education Award and was selected Citizen of the Year for Clarksdale/Coahoma County in 1999.

Josephine’s community involvement is extensive, including current service on the District Workforce Council, Mississippi State and Regional Advisory Committees for the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative (SRBWI), the Clarksdale/Coahoma County Chamber of Commerce (past President), the Executive Committee of the Clarksdale/Coahoma County Industrial Foundation, Mississippi State Sector Strategy Team, and is a member of the National Network of Sector Partners Advisory Board.

Josephine received her Bachelor’s degree from Southern University and A&M College and her Master’s of Education from University of Mississippi.

Antonio Manning

Antonio Manning is Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager for JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy. In this position, Antonio manages philanthropic and corporate responsibility for Greater Los Angeles. Previously, Antonio served as First Vice President and Regional Grants Manager in Washington Mutual’s Community and External Affairs Division. In this capacity, he managed community relations and company corporate contributions in affordable housing, community development and K-12 education for California.

Manning joined Washington Mutual in 2000. Prior to this, he served as the Western Regional Director of the Fannie Mae Foundation for an 11-state region and spent four years on the program staff of the James Irvine Foundation.

Manning is an active member of the community. He is a founding member of Southern California Blacks in Philanthropy, a membership organization comprised of corporate and philanthropic executives. His other board affiliations include Affordable Living for the Aging, California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, Coalition for Responsible Community Development, Heritage Homeownership Partners, Los Angeles Business Council and Institute and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. Additionally, Antonio serves on the Advisory Board for the USC Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy, LISC – Los Angeles, and Enterprise Community Partners and the Business Take Force on Homelessness. Antonio recently served as a mayoral appointment to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

Antonio is a Los Angeles native and attended the University of Southern California.

Connie Evans

Vice Chair

Connie Evans is the President and CEO of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), the national nonprofit organization and business trade association representing the US microbusiness development industry. AEO has nearly 400 member organizations that provide training, technical assistance and resources to entrepreneurs across the United States.

Connie’s decision to join AEO in March 2009 was a logical step in her career as a visionary leader, strategist, activist, and social entrepreneur who has founded three organizations. In 1986 she was the founding president of the award-winning Women’s Self-Employment Project (WSEP), the first and largest urban microenterprise development organization in the US and the first adaptation of the Grameen Bank Model to a US urban setting. Connie also pioneered one of the first matched savings program, Individual Development Accounts, in the country. In 2000 she founded WSEP Ventures, a social enterprise hybrid organization developed to serve as a catalyst for social change, economic development and community empowerment. At WSEP Ventures, Connie launched Capital Bridge C3, a fellowship program supporting emerging social entrepreneurs. In 2007, Connie founded CSolutions Consulting, an advisory boutique specializing in solutions that address social change.

As an international development consultant with over 25 years experience, Connie has been recognized and utilized by such groups as the World Bank, the Clinton Administration, a host of local government, private, and independent sector organizations. With international experience spanning 43 countries, Connie draws on her expertise in developing and implementing strategies to further economic development, health and social change in communities.

Connie’s broad experiences across the worlds of business and finance compliment her skills in development finance. She served two elected terms on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and was the first African American woman to hold such a position.  Evans was appointed by President Clinton to the CDFI Advisory Board, a fund within the Department of the Treasury.  She also received appointments from President Clinton, the US Delegation to preparatory meetings for the Summit of the Americas, the US Delegation to preparatory meetings for the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and again for Beijing Plus Five.

As a strong advocate of good governance in nonprofits, Connie has nearly 20 years of service on philanthropic foundation boards, and serves on a number of national and international boards including the Social Venture Network. She is also the Chair of the Chicago Committee for the African Women’s Development Fund, based in Ghana.

Beatriz Olvera Stotzer


Bea is an accomplished businesswoman, social entrepreneur, visionary, and pioneer in the economic development/asset building field. As CEO of New Capital LLC, she manages multi-million dollar portfolios of affordable housing, business, and economic development. New Economics for Women, a Latina economic development non-profit, was established through Bea’s adeptness at navigating financial products. By leveraging an initial $97,000 grant into more than $280 million in investments, for single and multi-family affordable housing in low-income communities throughout Southern California; simultaneously creating business incubators and small business loan funds. She is currently spearheading the development of the Latina Wealth Index to measure wealth among immigrant Latina entrepreneurs.

With more than 30 years of thought-leadership experience, Bea has been recognized for her work on local, state, and national levels. She has served as a trusted advisor to the Clinton Administration, the Mayor of Los Angeles, the Aspen Institute, the Ford Foundation, and a host of local government, private, and independent sector organizations. As former Treasurer of UNIDOS (formerly the National Council of La Raza (NCLR)) Board of Directors, she partnered with the CEO and CFO to deliver their strongest balance sheet in 15 years. Bea currently serves as a strategic advisor or executive board member for key national non-profits, foundations, and corporations who focus on economic mobility. A lifelong advocate for economic opportunities especially for vulnerable women and families, Bea is resolute about increasing the role of women as leaders within the finance sector, and was recently appointed to serve as a Commissioner on the Los Angeles County Women and Girls Initiative Governing Council.

REPORT: Promoting Family Economic Security in the San Francisco Bay Area Region

1a9787f9-20c6-45c7-9db3-f29218f39f54At the inaugural Poverty to Prosperity Conference, Rise Together Bay Area — a collective initiative of 180+ business, government, nonprofit and philanthropic representatives — released a new report by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development with data representations from the UC Berkeley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, titled “Promoting Family Economic Security in the San Francisco Bay Area Region.

This landmark study highlights the depth and breadth of poverty in the Bay Area in new and compelling ways, tests various types of pro-prosperity supports through economic microsimulations, and presents a set of research-grounded strategies for implementing a pro-prosperity agenda.

The report also makes available 110+ maps developed by the UC Berkeley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, documenting levels of poverty and opportunity across the region.

Download the report here (1.6 MB PDF without appendices).

Download the full report here (18 MB PDF).

Style Guide: Winning Word for Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

The Insight Center has partnered with Anat Shenker-Osorio to create a style guide that helps us use human terms about wealth accumulation and wealth inequality and speak from a model of inequality as a barrier. Anat demonstrates that communicating effectively – conveying that inequality is a product of our economic and political systems and that racism is a real factor – requires overcoming default reasoning that consequences that befall individuals are due to their efforts or traits. Most Americans have trouble seeing and acknowledging long-lasting historic crimes and existing racism. While these factors pose formidable challenges to saying what we mean and getting heard, both Alan and Anat are teaching us to be more effective in reaching our targeted audiences.

Also, you can find another language tool Anat has worked on with the Center for Community Change to launch a bold new campaign to confront poverty in America.