On March 23, the Center for Economic Inclusion (the Center) joined its peer consultants Fourth Economy, NEOO Partners, MZ Strategies, and Urban3 to present the first-ever Economic Competitiveness and Inclusion Plan (the Plan) in the state of Minnesota to the Ramsey County Board. The 18-month process of planning and design also included critical guidance from Ramsey County residents and business owners.
The Plan seeks to accelerate economic growth in Ramsey County by focusing on racial equity in each of its eight strategies and intentionally address systemic racism, wealth extraction, and economic harm to Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian people and immigrants, with strategies to close racial wealth gaps that are proven to also strengthen the economy for everyone.
The Plan, developed by the consultant team with the leadership of Ramsey County’s Martha Faust, Kari Collins, Ling Becker, and Josh Olson, received unanimous support and endorsement from the Ramsey County Board. The next steps include articulating investments for the Plan in the next budget and performance measures process.
During the hearing, Ramsey County Board Chair Toni Carter (District 4) stated, “We stand to benefit from a plan that centers the thought that diversity is an asset. This plan not only iterates the need, the challenge and the opportunity, but also centers the actions, strategies and the accountability to be sure that we lift it up off the page.”
“I am very excited,” said District Commissioner Nicole Frethem. “We must acknowledge that this will likely make folks uncomfortable. But systemic problems require systemic solutions. I am thrilled with this plan’s commitment to driving systemic solutions and equitable development policy.”
District 6 Commissioner Jim McDonough added, “We are often weary from separating talk from action. Today, we can’t celebrate without accepting responsibility for success. We must accept and celebrate this work and strong leadership and courage from our community and accept responsibility to make it a success as defined by the community.”
“Ramsey County selected the Center and our team of consultants to design an inclusive and equitable strategy, lead community engagement, and advise on implementation for the County,” said Tawanna A. Black, founder and CEO of the Center for Economic Inclusion, and non-resident Fellow of the Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program. “This Plan represents Ramsey County’s intention and commitment to dismantling racist policies and ensuring the racially equitable prosperity of every resident.”
“We thank all of the Ramsey County residents, business owners, elected officials, and leaders who contributed their time and wisdom to the creation of this plan and who are committed to the journey ahead to bring the plan to life,” said Black. “As we celebrate the completion of the plan alongside our partners and the Ramsey County leadership team, we look forward to building an equitable, inclusive, and thriving Ramsey County!”
The Center is committed to supporting Ramsey County through implementation of this plan and building the civic infrastructure throughout the region to ensure shared accountability for fulfilling the goals and objectives the community helped develop.
- Information from the Center for Economic Inclusion, www.centerforeconomicinclusion.org
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