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ADVISORY: Department of Commerce, Ford Foundation to Host Interagency Convening on Equitable Economic Growth


On November 9th, 2021, the Department of Commerce, in collaboration with the Ford Foundation; the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance; B Lab; Families and Workers Fund; and Ariel Investments, will host the Biden-Harris administration’s first-ever Interagency Convening on Equitable Economic Growth, bringing together key voices from the government, business, investor, philanthropic and the advocacy communities to share best practices, highlight recent successes, and announce upcoming initiatives to advance economic equity for communities of color and underrepresented groups.

The Convening will serve as a forum for experts from across agencies and sectors will discuss key pillars of and inclusive economic recovery and beyond, including community investing, quality job creation, workforce training, support for small businesses, diversity in corporate America, and leveraging data and disclosure for transparency and racial and gender equity.

“A critical part of the Build Back Better Agenda is investing in economic equity by working collaboratively with organizations in the public and private sectors. To truly transform our economy into one that works for all Americans, and one that will make our country more competitive on the world stage, we need to make investments in way that is equitable and just,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “Through this convening, the government has an incredible opportunity to collaborate with investors, advocates, and public policy experts to develop effective practices that will result in more a diverse workforce, ultimately to the benefit of the American economy.”

“By bringing together key decision-makers at this critical moment, the Biden-Harris Administration, along with the Department of Commerce, is demonstrating that we remained committed to ensuring an inclusive economy,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “By increasing interagency cooperation and partnering with industry leaders, we can and will build back our economy better than it was before the pandemic in way that ensures that no American is left behind. The only way forward to an equitable recovery is through truly acknowledging systemic inequalities that currently exist within the public and private sectors and working together to address them—that is what this convening is all about.” 

“For too long, economic growth and prosperity have not been shared equally in our country,” said White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice. “As we build back better from the devastating health and economic effects of the pandemic, we must reimagine an economy where every American has a fair shot to build wealth and opportunity. This interagency convening is an important step towards realizing a more equitable economy.”

“Philanthropy alone cannot advance equity and close the racial wealth gap - it will take meaningful and robust commitment from both the public and private sectors to achieve this shared vision," said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. "This week’s convening is a significant step forward and I’m encouraged by what should be a rich dialogue about how we can move from a system of extraction and bias to one of equity and justice.”  

“Taking action to give communities of color and low-income communities greater access to opportunities will help unlock prosperous economic growth that will benefit everyone,” said Deputy Secretary of Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “With equity as its focus, Treasury is committed to ensuring that through the delivery of its programs – including the Emergency Capital Investment Program and the State Small Business Credit Initiative – underserved communities have better access to capital and opportunities that will contribute to our economic growth. We look forward to working with our federal government partners to give people across the country the ability to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas, to build businesses, and to strengthen their communities.”

“As we work to rebuild and re-imagine our nation’s infrastructure, the U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to putting equity and economic opportunity at the heart of the decisions we make and the policies we drive forward,” U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg said. “I’m honored to join colleagues across the Biden-Harris Administration to develop partnerships that foster a diverse transportation workforce and help American workers and businesses thrive.”

“In tackling the ongoing economic challenges presented by the pandemic, we have a rare opportunity. In this moment, we can build an economy characterized by quality jobs and real equity, but we have to be intentional about it,” said Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie A. Su. “This takes shape at the U.S. Department of Labor as using all of our resources and powers—including enforcement of workplace standards, provision of workforce training dollars, and access to benefits for the unemployed, injured workers and retirees—to ensure no one is left behind.  That’s why I am honored to co-host this convening on how we create an economy that serves and values every worker.”

“I am inspired by the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to equity in every sector and community across our country,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “As the U.S. Small Business Administrator, I am determined to expand our reach to underserved communities, ensuring that ALL our great entrepreneurs and small businesses do what they do best – build community, create jobs, strengthen our economy and increase our global competitiveness. It is an honor to represent America’s 32.5 million small businesses for this multi-agency convening on equitable economic growth. I believe today will bring about important dialogue on the future of our nation that will lead to necessary action.”  

“Fairness and inclusion are central to the work we do at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Indeed, the word ‘fair’ is in our mission: to protect investors, facilitate capital formation, and maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets,” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler. “When our markets work for everybody, the entire economy benefits.”

“The U.S. Impact Investing Alliance is honored to collaborate with Deputy Secretary Don Graves on this Interagency Convening, which marks an important step forward in our collective work to address systemic racial and economic disparities. Today is a call to action for coordinated and bold leadership across sectors," said Fran Seegull, President of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance. “We’re joined in this excitement by our partners at B Lab and a Coalition of over 50 business and investor organizations who stand ready to partner and help build an inclusive, equitable economy for all.”

Interagency Convening on Equitable Economic Growth

What: Department of Commerce Interagency Convening on Equitable Economic Growth

When: November 9, 2021, at 8:30 AM ET


  • Secretary Gina Raimondo, Department of Commerce
  • Deputy Secretary Don Graves, Department of Commerce
  • White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice
  • Assistant Secretary Alejandra Castillo, Department of Commerce
  • Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler
  • Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo, Department of Treasury
  • Deputy Secretary Julie Su, Department of Labor
  • U.S. Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg, Department of Transportation 
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms


  • Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20230
  • This is a hybrid event with in-person and virtual options available for members of the press.

Please note: Proof of vaccination is required. Masking throughout the event, unless eating or drinking, is also required.