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Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Faith-Based National Partnership Summit


Thank you, Secretary Raimondo, for that introduction. It’s an honor to be here with you and Under Secretary Cravins. And thank you all for being here today.

Today, we’re excited to share the mission and vision of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. You’ll hear directly from our bureaus about their work, including programs like funding, grants, training opportunities, access to data and innovation, and technical assistance that may be available to you.

But more importantly, today is about you. We’re thrilled to have so many different states and organizations represented at today’s summit. Our goal is to reach every corner of America. And this summit is just the start. We want to keep this dialogue going and develop an ecosystem of lasting relationships, both between the participants and with the Commerce Department.

As you heard from Secretary Raimondo, this has been an incredible two years at the Commerce Department. The Biden Administration is making once-in-a-generation investments to rebuild our infrastructure, support our domestic semiconductor industry, and combat climate change.

Both the Commerce Department and the Biden-Harris Administration are committed to ensuring that underrepresented workers and businesses can partake in the unprecedented opportunities that these investments are bringing. We’re working to build a more inclusive economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out.

As we tackle these kinds of issues – and work to make meaningful progress in addressing inequality and supporting underserved communities – we’re going need your help. Engage with Andres Chong-Qui Torres, Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and our department and share your expertise. And please encourage those in your networks to participate as well.

I come from a long line of small business owners and understand how important it is to support our underserved and underrepresented communities.

My four-time great grandparents built a successful horse and buggy taxi business that stood on the land where the Commerce Department sits today. Their son owned a premier hotel just blocks away and became one of our nation’s first Black patent-holders. Their success as minority entrepreneurs was crucial for our family’s well-being, and contributed to this country’s success story.

Our goal for this summit is to replicate that kind of success. Together, we can secure a prosperous and competitive future for all Americans. So, thank you again for being here today. I’m excited for our discussion.

Now, it’s my pleasure to introduce our next speaker. From his days serving in the Louisiana State Legislature, to his work on Capitol Hill and his leadership at the National Urban League, Don Cravins has a strong record as an advocate for small and minority owned businesses.

As Under Secretary for Minority Business Development, he’s bringing the type of leadership that will help MBDA usher in a new era of growth, research, and development for American’s minority business enterprises. With that, it’s my pleasure to introduce our first-ever Under Secretary for Minority Business Development, Don Cravins.