As part of the firm’s Small Business Forward commitment, the University of Washington Foster School of Business was awarded a grant to lead Ascend 2020 – a 3-year effort to promote local support ecosystems for neighborhood-based businesses inner-city and minority-owned businesses in the Bay Area, Seattle, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C. by linking business schools, business service-providing organizations and CDFIs.

In the Bay Area, we are thrilled to partner with ICA Fund Good Jobs, Working Solutions, Mills College Lorry I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy, Pacific Community Ventures and Centro Community Partners. This region’s cohort is unique in that it will incorporate a focus on good jobs that lead to equitable communities, innovative technology platforms, robust evaluation metrics, and connections to market opportunities such as the construction of the forthcoming Chase Center.

On March 10, the Center for Socially Responsible Business at Mills College hosted its 9th Annual Conference: Confronting the Equity Gap: What’s Working and What’s Next? Michael Verchot from the University of Washington joined the firm’s Georgette Bhathena, ICA Fund Good Job’s Ingrid Jacobson, and Working Solution’s Diana Chavez to announce the Ascend 2020 Bay Area Initiative prior to the keynote address.

The Center for Socially Responsible Business’ 9th Annual Conference focused on Confronting the Equity Gap: What’s Working and What’s Next? Through intersecting lenses such as education, youth employment, organizational recruitment and retention practices and workplace policies for inclusion, the conference celebrated what is working today, and sounded a call to action for what more can be done moving forward. The CSRB Conference brings together local community leaders from philanthropy, government, non-profits, business and policy to learn from each other and work toward solutions.