take action
take action
take action
equity and inclusion division programming
What can your organization do next?

GCP Equity
& Inclusion
2020 Year In

racism is a

It exerts incalculable violence on our physical bodies, institutions, and communities. The rules—which enforce everything from inequitable laws to disparaging looks—are engrained to a point that they do not require individual animus.

For those unaware of these dynamics, the results of COVID-19 have exposed injustice; those that are aware, and experience structural racism as a matter of life, are more likely to die and lose their livelihoods in the pandemic. An inclusive recovery for all Americans requires immediate action.

THE Results of COVID-19 have exposed

Equity & Inclusion has been working to close racial disparities since


Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP)'s Equity & Inclusion division, formerly the Commission on Economic Inclusion, has been working since 2001 to close the racial disparities in jobs, income and wealth, by growing businesses owned by people of color and increasing workforce and workplace diversity, equity and inclusion. This work is fueled by the belief that businesses and the region are stronger with greater racial equity.

Acting as a convener, advocate, and a resource, GCP’s Equity & Inclusion engages the region’s employers to address the systemic racial inequalities which hinder economic growth in our region. Hundreds of professionals, top leaders, volunteers, businesses and community organizations are engaged with GCP's Equity & Inclusion each year to accomplish these goals.


GCP Equity & Inclusion has collected data and reported on the status of diversity and inclusion efforts in Northeast Ohio for almost 20 years.

These results have been found through the E&I Organization Assessment. Employers who complete the Assessment receive immediate feedback and suggested resources used for internal diversity and inclusion strategic planning. Additionally, the Assessment provides aggregate data on the region’s workforce diversity.

The 2020 Assessment initiative was significantly impacted by both COVID-19 and the surge of interest in tools to combat structural racism within the business community. The timeline of data collection was extended through the Fall, with subsequent reporting released in early November. This resulted in our highest participation rate to date, with 158 companies completing the Assessment.

our highest participation rate to date for companies completing the Assessment

New Partnerships in E&I Organization Assessment

thumb up icon
analytics icon
briefcase icon
tool icon
data icon
The E&I Division partnered with the Manufacturing Leadership Team as a part of Workforce Connect to provide the E&I Organization Assessment as the evaluation tool.

A majority of the manufacturing sector partnership leadership team organizations completed the Assessment and used their aggregated data to inform a proposal of 7 potential equity tactics to focus on as a collective. Participants also received individualized scorecards for their organization to further engage their internal leadership and staff on DEI objectives.

Visit WorkForce Connect
The E&I Division entered into an ongoing partnership with the Greater Akron Chamber to provide access to the E&I Organization Assessment for their membership.

Greater Akron Chamber participants also received individual scorecards along with the aggregate results, in addition to an exclusive webinar focused on interpreting their results and benchmarking within their locality.c and social circumstances for people of color to grow their businesses.

Aggregate Equity & Inclusion Organization Assessment Results 2020

Industry segment and count

Our 158 participating organizations span across many industries.

In addition to industry representation, the Assessment is used by organizations of varying size and type

Workforce & Leadership Diversity

Supplier Diversity Efforts of Assessment Participants in Northeast Ohio

How Did We Measure?

Best in Class Award Winners

Congratulations to the GCP members named Best in Class for diversity and inclusion, as a result of their Equity & Inclusion Organization Assessment. These awards recognize businesses and organizations that demonstrate a true commitment to advancing equity within their organizations and within our community. Awards were presented at the Greater Cleveland Partnership Annual Meeting on October 14, 2020.


How we worked for you this year.

An inclusive recovery for all Americans requires immediate action. In a series of articles, Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Equity & Inclusion team highlighted why COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people of color and offered best practices for a fairer economy


Equity in the Age of COVID-19 article series


Articles written by E&I staff
Visit the Best Practice Library

News Stories


Articles/press releases published


News appearances for E&I staff
Read our News Stories

Speaking Engagements


Speaking engagements by E&I Staff in the community




In 2020, the E&I Division fielded over 100 requests for consultation on diversity, equity & inclusion from GCP member companies, community organizations, and other Chambers of Commerce across the nation.

Finding new ways to have impactful & successful events & programming during a pandemic.

It should be no surprise that the 2020 coronavirus pandemic that brought us COVID-19 tried to derail the GCP Equity & Inclusion division from connecting with, sharing time with, and guiding our GCP membership and beyond. We had to evaluate and re-allocate budgeting for our events, like our annual Inclusion Conference. While remaining sensitive to the needs of our audiences, we were able to make the inevitable and sometimes challenging pivot to a virtual stage.

12TH Annual Inclusion Conference: Fueling the Future of Work

Diversity Professionals Group

Procurement Professionals Group

But What Does It Mean? Webinars

IGNITE: ActioN PlanninG FoR RaciaL Equity

Inclusive Innovation Council

Construction Diversity & Inclusion (CDI) Initiative

The CDI initiative convenes a diverse group of stakeholders that includes minority/majority contractors, developers, professional services groups, and owners of major projects as needed to increase the use of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and Female Business Enterprises (FBEs) firms on major projects.

This public-private collaboration presents economic development priorities in a Memorandum of Understanding that uses Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) as a tool to underscore specific actions that Project Owners can use to increase job and business opportunities for local workers and local female- and minority-owned businesses.

Shared Resources

Help to navigate through difficult times

CDI’s Advisory Board held several discussions on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, with the focus on construction supply and demand. During a construction sector convening on April 28th, CDI shared GCP resources to help businesses navigate during these difficult times. Additionally, the Manufacturing Sector Partnership and CDI actively engaged in the Student Workforce Advancement Program where nearly 100 Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) students participated in a career exposure effort designed to connect graduating seniors with jobs in high demand sectors.


CMSD Students Connected with Jobs in High Demand



CDI’s Work & Jobs Strategy Group convened construction sector representatives to discuss the business impacts of COVID-19 as well as to provide a platform for owners of construction MBE’s to voice their specific business needs to the broader construction sector. Volunteer leaders from CDI’s Advisory Board have actively engaged in the Real Estate & Construction Re-Start discussions, one of the key committees formed by GCP to frame strategies for re-opening our regions’ businesses.

Strategic Partnerships

Targeted outreach programs

As strategic partners, CDI and the Ace Mentoring program recruited 10 construction sector firms to participate in CMSD’s Student Workforce Advancement Group (SWAG) Fall programming. Targeted outreach focusing on the Inclusion Marketplace positioned CDI to meet and exceed its 2020 Marketplace goals for both buyers and suppliers.


Construction Sector Firms Recruited to
Participate in CMSD’s Student Workforce Advancement Group Fall Programming
A note about Workforce Connect

Minority Business Growth Initiatives

CommitCLE is an initiative with the goal of creating the economic and social circumstances for people of color to grow their businesses.

If successful, the region will realize great benefits, i.e. more jobs, less poverty, and greater economic output. The goal of CommitCLE is closing the racial gap in business-ownership by demonstrably increasing supplier diversity spend, proactively connecting buyers to minority business suppliers, and significantly growing businesses owned by people of color. This effort is innovative in Northeast Ohio in that it focuses on both sides of the equation: building the capacity of both buyers and minority-owned business suppliers (MBEs). Corporations commit to leverage their collective purchasing power to increase contracts with MBEs, and GCP commits to building the capacity of scalable businesses owned by people of color.

The Business Growth Collaborative, comprised of 11 organizations supporting entrepreneurs of color, disbursed $100,000 in grants to 20 minority-owned small businesses in Northeast Ohio in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Read the press release
Boardroom to Boardroom connects minority-owned businesses with expertise from local executives in their industry. In a boardroom session, the minority business and a consulting firm present a report to CEOs for strategic guidance.

A pared down version was launched on April 29th in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This weekly version of the program pairs an MBE with a group of volunteer leaders and advisors to provide resources, connections and ideas to pivot the business through the COVID-19 crisis.

03: what can your organization do next?

Help your organization and the region increase racial equity.

As a signer of GCP’s Equity & Inclusion Leadership Commitment and the Cleveland Pledge, you are pledging to increase racial equity within your organization and in the region.

Sign the Leadership Commitment Form Sign the cleveland pledge email us FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

2021 E&I Programs & Events

View All GCP Events