School of Economics at UMB proud to work with women- and minority-owned businesses
Vanessa Sims, senior vice president and executive director of diversity and inclusion for UMB Financial Corporation, discusses UMB’s continued commitment to working with women- and minority-owned (MWBE) businesses. In supporting the expansion of School of Economics to a second location in the heart of downtown Kansas City, UMB made a concerted effort to involve MWBE businesses and suppliers on the project.
Late last year, UMB announced that we would embark on a major project to help expand the reach of School of Economics, a Kansas City area nonprofit working to meet the growing need for youth financial education. With that project, we made a concerted effort to get more women- and minority-owned businesses involved in establishing the second location. It was important to us that we make this a community effort, and this large undertaking provided us the perfect opportunity to leverage our supplier diversity program.
Working with women- and minority-owned business enterprises (MWBE) is important at UMB. Our supplier diversity program shows our commitment to the communities where we live and work, and the buildout of School of Economics at UMB gave us the opportunity to expand the number of organizations we work alongside. We’re so proud to have reached our goal of 30 percent MWBE participation on this project which included the transformation of 4,000-square-feet of space as well as exterior and interior murals.
Having a high number of diverse suppliers was also important to us because it reflects the School of Economics at UMB student population. This SOE location is focused on serving urban schools and districts, many of which have a large population of minority students. During this project, we collaborated with a wide array of Kansas City-based companies in the construction, design, engineering and arts industries. We are excited to have been able to do this as a demonstration of our commitment to the community and look forward to more collaborative projects with our local MWBE businesses.
In collaborating with the expansion of the School of Economics programming to the UMB campus, we wanted to make sure that we were representing our community and the people who live and work here. We want to foster and grow relationships with viable and diverse-owned businesses. In turn, we hope the School of Economics project will help grow local business, employ more people and invigorate economic development across the city.
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