January 15, 2020
Washington, DC - The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community, is proud to announce the nearly-unanimous passage of openly LGBT Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s resolution to study, track, and include NGLCC Certified LGBT Business Enterprises® (Certified LGBTBEs®) in future contracting and procurement opportunities, as well as capacity building and educational programs from small businesses, throughout the city. This landmark policy for the City of Chicago was introduced thanks to the advocacy of NGLCC and its local affiliate chamber partner, the Illinois LGBT Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of Director Jerome’ Holston.
For LGBT citizens of Chicago, this inclusive policy lays the groundwork for fair and equal access to contracting opportunities and economic development programs that drive innovation, create jobs, and promote economic growth throughout the region. The resolution identifies a series of actions that the Department of Procurement Services ( DPS ) will undertake to encourage participation of Certified LGBTBEs® in city procurement opportunities, but does not request or alter any set-asides or targets for other diverse communities. This policy makes Chicago the first city in Illinois and the second largest in the United States, behind Los Angeles, to intentionally include LGBT-owned businesses in municipal contracting and procurement opportunities. Such inclusion is a best practice of the private sector and of an ever-growing number of states and municipalities.
“Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Lightfoot and of our local affiliate chamber, the Illinois LGBT Chamber of Commerce, LGBT entrepreneurs in the Chicago region will soon have the opportunity to create jobs and develop innovations that benefit all who live there," said NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson. "As precedent around the country has shown us: when Certified LGBTBEs® are given the resources to grow their businesses and track their participation in city contracting, the path to higher goals and opportunity for every community becomes clear. We are excited to see Certified LGBTBEs® in every field from construction to catering and everything in between help grow the economy of Chicago and beyond.”
The NGLCC honored Mayor Lightfoot as one of the 2019 Courage in Government honorees. The Courage in Government Award has been given a mere four times in NGLCC’s history, honoring those who champion the LGBT business community in the public sector. Progressive and inclusive leadership, like that of the elected officials honored tonight, are helping provide greater access to the American Dream for every American by ensuring Certified LGBTBEs® are welcomed to create jobs, grow tax revenues, and innovate industries through government contracting where they live.
"The LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois would like to thank Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Committee Chair Carrie Austin, and Alderman Andre Vasquez for their leadership and support in passing this historic resolution. Today Chicago moves forward in creating a more inclusive and responsive Chicago that includes all communities. We agree with City Council that we should look at this from an abundance perspective. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our community peers to ensure that all marginalized communities have access to compete and participate. We look forward to working with the Mayor’s office and our partners at NGLCC to better educate the community on the LGBTBE certification process, and implementing a successful rollout,” said Jerome' Holston, Director, LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois.
In August 2019, at the 2019 NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference in Tampa, FL, openly LGBT Mayor Jane Castor announced an executive order to include Certified LGBTBEs® in her city, following Mayor Eric Garcetti’s historic announcement to do the same in Los Angeles just days before. In 2018 and early 2019, NGLCC won the inclusion of Certified LGBTBEs® in Orlando, FL; Nashville, TN; Baltimore, MD; Jersey City, NJ; and Hoboken, NJ, while also advancing statewide bills in New York and New Jersey. Currently, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania also include Certified LGBTBEs®, along with major cities like Seattle, Newark, Columbus, and Philadelphia. A bill was introduced in the New York City Council to include Certified LGBTBEs® in the largest economy in America, and is expected to pass in late 2019 or early 2020.
“While we have a long way to go for LGBT equality in the region, the midwest has a strong and growing network of NGLCC Certified LGBTBEs® and LGBT-owned companies helping underscore the economic imperative of inclusion for all. We know this resolution in Chicago will encourage more mayors to proactively include the LGBT community for the optimum social and economic health of their cities. Collectively, LGBT-owned businesses contribute to the $1.7 trillion dollars that the LGBT business community puts into the national economy. Progressive and inclusive leadership, like that of Mayor Lightfoot and the City Council, will ensure greater access to the American Dream for every American,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & CEO Chance Mitchell.
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The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses, known as Certified LGBT Business Enterprises® (Certified LGBTBEs®). www.nglcc.org @nglcc