November 18, 2022

Eve Onduru, Vice President of Marketing and Business Growth

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Doug Stone, Media Advisor

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The nation’s first organization dedicated exclusively to advancing inclusive growth to achieve regional prosperity.

St. Paul, Minn. – When Tawanna A. Black founded the Center for Economic Inclusion in November 2017, her mission was bold and clear: to strengthen the region’s civic infrastructure to disrupt systems and influence market forces to catalyze shared prosperity within the region. She believed that only by creating an economy that works for everyone can the region unlock its potential for prosperity.

Five years later, the Center marks its fifth anniversary with a celebration to thank the public- and private-sector partners, donors, volunteers and staff who share in the successes. The event, featuring special guests, begins at 5 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Hilton Minneapolis, 1001 Marquette Ave. Open to the media. Center Celebration

The premise of the Center at its founding five years ago was that the Minneapolis-St. Paul region has one of the strongest economies, yet that economy is being weakened because we continue to exclude people of color from the economic vitality and regional efforts to close the gaps have stalled despite growing awareness of them.

“With the help of community and business leaders, the Center has helped employers and policy makers make real progress over the past five years, yet our urgency and commitment to adopt systemic frameworks rooted in anti-racism and liberation that honor the brilliance in communities of color must continue and accelerate to ensure our economy is growing, inclusive , and competitive,” said Center for Economic Inclusion Founder and CEO Tawanna A. Black “The accomplished team at the Center have produced nation leading research and tools including the Racial Equity Dividends Index, a tool for ensuring employers, their employees, consumers and supply chain all understand and take action to implement the proven standards for building anti-racist workplaces that contribute to regional inclusive economic growth. By leveraging the tools from the Center, employers and policy makers will ensure together that by 2028, over 2,000,000 people experience a racially just, equitable and inclusive economy.”  because   goals and the 2022 Indicators for an Inclusive Regional Economy guides organizations in establishing goals for both internal performance, and the resulting impact on the regional economy.”

At Monday night’s event, the Center will celebrate the milestones and accomplishments of this five-year journey, and announce a $5 million for 5 years fundraising campaign, and new initiatives to accelerate inclusive economic growth.

About the Racial Equity Dividends Index 

The Racial Equity Dividends Index is a comprehensive Center tool that businesses opt into to measure their progress toward building inclusive workplaces in Minnesota. A total of forty businesses participated in the first-ever Index this spring, which measured performance on the leading standards of racial equity, inclusion and belonging. These forty participating companies employ more than 200,000 workers in Minnesota, and an additional 550,000 employees elsewhere in the world, meaning approximately one in every twelve non-government employees in Minnesota works for a company participating in the Index.

The Index scores participating companies on the leading standards to advance anti-racism, inclusion and belonging in seven categories including: leadership; hiring, culture, retention, and advancement; procurement; products and services; philanthropy and investments; and public policy. Participating organizations were evaluated and received scores ranging from 6 to 76 points out of a possible 100. The average company score was 38, with final totals significantly varying. On average, the larger organizations scored higher overall and in every Index category, likely reflecting their greater access to resources and staff capacity compared to smaller organizations.

Over the past five years, the Center for Economic Inclusion has quickly grown and emerged as a regional leader in building, scaling, and institutionalizing anti-racist workplaces. By working alongside organizations to better understand and implement current research findings, the Center hopes to build a thriving, resilient regional economy where everyone can participate in markets, advance in careers and build wealth, and drive overall economic growth. Quality, consistently updated data through tools like the Indicators for an Inclusive Regional Economy and the Racial Equity Dividends Index are critical for identifying the challenges, taking note of the opportunities, and acting on tangible, research-driven solutions.

To learn more about the Racial Equity Dividends Index and to read the full report, click here.

About the Center for Economic Inclusion

The Center for Economic Inclusion is an applied research, policy and action institute committed to catalyzing and sustaining employer and policy maker action to close racial wealth gaps and build prosperous, equitable and thriving regional economies. Through purposeful, anti-racist thought leadership, convenings, research, coalition building, and consulting services, the Center’s accomplished team equips leaders and policy makers with the tools to build racially equitable workplaces that transform regional economies and the lives of Black, Indigenous, Asian, and Latino workers and business owners. Founded in 2017, the Center is the nation’s first Black woman founded and led organization dedicated exclusively to this work. Learn more at

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