Racial Justice and Economic Equity Progress Report - Summer 2022 - Spring 2024

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Racial Justice and e conomic e quity

Summer 2022 - Spring 2024

Progress r e P ort

In 2020, the Detroit Regional Chamber created its Racial Justice and Economic Equity initiative to leverage its position as a convener of business to ensure pervasive and longterm change, both societally and economically. This ongoing work is rooted in a reflective focus on accountability as an organization and an enduring commitment to ensuring the Detroit Region’s equitable future.

d evelo P ing, l eading, and Creating

Establish new data and research, professional development, and advocacy initiatives to support racial justice and economic equity.

e x Panding Programs and Communi C ations

Enhance racial justice and economic equity-related objectives in current Chamber programs and create new platforms to improve this work.

su PP ort I ng ot H ers

Leverage the Chamber’s influence and support other organizations making a difference in economic equity.

Committing to internal im P rovements

“Walk the walk” and address internal changes.

r a C ial Justi C e and eC onomi C e quity Board Committee

Founding chaiRs

Wright Lassiter III

Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Henry Ford Health

Ryan Maibach

President and Chief Executive Officer, Barton Malow Company

Arn Tellem

Vice Chairman, Pistons Sports and Entertainment ; Past Chair, Board of Directors, Detroit Regional Chamber

BoaRd memBeRs

Dennis W. Archer Jr. Sixteen42 Ventures

Hussein Berry Delta Air Lines

Lane Coleman Strike Group LLC

Matt Elliott Bank of America

Lena Epstein Vesco Oil Corporation

Ron Hall

Bridgewater Interiors

Ken Hayward

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Ronia Kruse

OpTech LLC

Lisa Lunsford


Michael McGee

Miller Canfield

Patricia Mooradian

The Henry Ford

Suzanne Shank

Sibert Williams Shank & Co. LLC

Dug Song

The Song Foundation

Carla Walker-Miller

Walker-Miller Energy Services LLC

chamBeR leadeRshIP

Marnita S. Harris

Vice President, Racial Justice and Economic Equity, Detroit Regional Chamber

Sandy K. Baruah

President and Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Regional Chamber

Tammy J. Carnrike, CCE

Chief Operating Officer, Detroit Regional Chamber


The sheer magnitude of this study is enabling us to start to unpack the nuances of life from neighborhood to neighborhood. It’s a critical first step to creating a tool to leverage resident voices across the city.

Deve L opin G, Lea D in G, an D Creatin G

Detroit Is First to Con D u C t Hyper-Lo C a L s urvey o F B L aC k r esi D ents wit H renowne D resear CH partner Ga LL up

Led by the Chamber, Detroit became the first city in the country working with the Gallup Center on Black Voices to conduct a hyper-local survey of the experience of its Black residents in 2022. Debuted at the 2023 Mackinac Policy Conference, the survey data is intended to drive collective action that delivers meaningful change in Detroit and across the Region.

The Chamber brought the Gallup Center on Black Voices to Detroit, as part of its efforts to increase equity and outcomes for all Detroiters. Launched in 2020, the Center is Gallup’s flagship research initiative devoted to studying and highlighting the experiences of more than 40 million Black Americans and tracking progress and outcomes.

Detroit r esi D ent voi C es s urvey p owere D By Ga LL up Center on B L aC k voi C es

• A customized survey of the city of Detroit and surrounding counties, which received nearly 12,000 responses.

• Offers a deep dive into Black Detroiters’ lived experiences, including quality of lives, services offered by city, and key daily experiences.

• The data compares the life experiences of Black Detroiters to experiences of Americans across the country.

• The ultimate goal is to build a collective action model using survey data and existing data resources.

S urV e Y one funder S : $1 Mi LL ion r aise D


strong Well-Being • eConomiC HealtH

• soCial CaPital

are important predictorS of reSidentS who want to StaY in the metro detroit area.

50% of metro detroit area reSidentS are thriVing, compared to 40% of citY of detroit reSidentS.

when reSidentS haVe acceSS to local parkS.

residents are tHriving

The survey showed that Indian Village – the locale of much investment, high-end home renovation, and residents – is the most “thriving” neighborhood in the city. The next highest is the Durfee area, a neighborhood with significant challenges, and one that would not expect to be rated high in “thriving.” A likely rationale for this finding is the presence of Life Remodeled’s Durfee Innovation Society. Not only are resources readily available for local residents, the presence of such a substantial investment in the neighborhood makes residents feel seen and heard.

We must continue to find ways to link existing and future small business owners with expertise and training in business formation, investment, financial management, and entrepreneurship.

4 4.09 4.19 4.33 4.29 4.35 4.37 4.41 4.48 4.46 4.55 4.00 4.10 4.20 4.30 4.40 4.50 4.60 0-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100 Life Expectancy Decile (countylevel) s urvey o ne: wH at w e Learne D
onlY 40% of all reSidentS
thriVing. neighborhoodS where Half
life exPeCtanCy
Lower East Central 50% Indian Village 57% Durfee 54% 81%
the citY of detroit,
is extended
of citY reSidentS WHo Plan to start a Business do not Have tHe neCessary
to do So.
White Hispanic Black All Thriving Struggling Suffering 40 54 6 40 55 5 43 53 4 46 45 9

s urvey t wo: aDvan C e D Custo M ization By n ei GHB or H oo D an D y ear- over-y ear Data

The Chamber began working on the second Detroit Resident Voices survey in Spring 2024, building on lessons learned and addressing information gaps from the first. Survey Two funders can:

• Compare year-over-year data in a public-facing dashboard.

• Customize questions based on priorities.

• Increase sample size in specific neighborhoods.

• Access deeper analysis on the neighborhood level.

Co LL e C tive aC tion r oun Dta BL e to Laun CH Data-Driven e quity Initiatives

The Detroit Resident Voices Survey provides useful, collectively analyzed, easily accessible year-over-year data that will be used to inform a new collective action roundtable comprised of business, government, and philanthropic partners. The roundtable will match participants to launch initiatives in the community to remove equity gaps.

more tHan Half

– 55% – of cit Y re S ident S Said the Y Would re Commend t H eir C ity to a friend or asso C iate as a good P laC e to live.

Innovative investment and policy will help Detroiters realize their vision for their neighborhoods. Strategic investment in affordable housing, workforce opportunities, and communitydriven crime reduction initiatives are catalytic forces cultivating successful avenues of growth for Detroiters.

stepHanie wasHinGton

of Staff to Mayor, City of Detroit

t he r egion’ S leading data proV ider S and ci V ic, bu S ine SS , and philanthropic leader S equity partners

5 Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights

MichAuto, in partnership with the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion, and Advancement (CADIA), created the CEO Coalition for Change to convene automotive chief executive officers committed to improving the industry’s DEI efforts. The Coalition focuses on identifying the industry’s challenges in increasing inclusion, leveraging diverse talent, better engaging the workforce, and creating economic opportunity in communities in which the industry operates.

In December 2023, CADIA released the Driving Diversity: Unlocking the Power of Diverse Workforces for the Future of the Transportation Industry, a comprehensive industry study with support from MichAuto and KPMG. Aligned with MichAuto’s High-Tech Talent Strategy, the study shows that the transportation industry still lags behind the U.S. workforce in overall employment for women and racially/ethnically diverse talent. It establishes baseline data and provides benchmarks and recommendations on how to impact diversity, equity, and inclusion measures.

key stu Dy takeaways

• 31% of the transportation industry workforce is racially/ethnically diverse, compared to 38% of the overall U.S. workforce.

• Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino workers have relatively high representation in manufacturing and operations but are underrepresented in leadership roles.

• Women make up 24% of the workforce in the transportation industry but 47% of the overall U.S. workforce.

• Attrition rates for diverse workers are generally higher than that of the industry average.

glenn stevens Wins PoWer of one aWard

Glenn Stevens Jr., Executive Director of MichAuto and Vice President of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives at the Detroit Regional Chamber received the 2023 CADIA Power of One Award. It recognizes outstanding leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the automotive and transportation industry.

It is past time for our industry to reflect -- increasingly in leadership positions -- the meaningful contributions of all who have been part of its growth and success, especially women and people of color. MichAuto is proud not only to help bring this data to life, but also to participate in mobilizing the positive changes it will inspire.

GLenn stevens


Executive Director, MichAuto; Vice President, Automotive and Mobility Initiatives, Detroit Regional Chamber

February 2024 ______ kpmg.com/us Driving Diversity Unlocking the Power of Diverse Workforces for the Future of the Transportation Industry Co MMI tte D to IM prov I n G D e I I n t H e auto M ot I ve I n D ustry

Deve L opin G, Lea D in G, an D Creatin G

r a LLyin G t H e Business Co MM unity to e xpan D t H e

eLL iott-Larsen Civi L r i GH ts aC t

The Chamber’s years of advocacy for the expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) culminated with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signing it into law in March 2023. The law reaffirms legal protections for sexual orientation and provides coverage to include gender identity and expression. Recently, the Chamber doubled down on its push for its expansion as part of a statewide business coalition, with:

• Coalition letter in support of the expansion signed by statewide business leaders.

• Testimony before the Michigan Senate’s Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee.

• Joint op-ed with Equality Michigan published in The Detroit News.


shared goal is to build a stronger and more inclusive society

— a state where

people can find accessible housing, high-quality education opportunities, and a good-paying job. The Legislature should pass the bill expanding the ELCRA and send it to the governor’s desk as soon as possible.

FeB. 22, 2023

Excerpt of joint oped from Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Sandy K. Baruah and Equality Michigan Executive Director Erin Knott

Marking a first for the Mackinac Policy Conference, the Pride flag waved from the porch of Grand Hotel to celebrate the beginning of LGBTQ Pride Month and expansion of the ElliottLarsen Civil Rights Act in 2023.

aDvo C atin G F or a More Diverse, e quita BL e, an D In CL usive s o C iety

The Chamber continues to leverage its clout in the business and political communities in the Detroit Region and Lansing to reform policy that disproportionately impacts people of color in Michigan while advancing efforts that promote a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive society.

s upportin G

• land Value equitY tax – Cuts Detroit homeowner taxes by penalizing vacant, underdeveloped lots in the city that lead to blight.

• criminal JuStice policY commiSSion – Studies sentencing-and-release policies and practices in Michigan to determine whether modifications are needed.

• uniVerSal fafSa – Requires FAFSA for high school graduation, which would likely increase the number of candidates for Detroit Promise Scholarship program.

• hiStorical muSeum authoritieS – Allows for millages to support the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Detroit Historical Society.

passe D into Law

• working familieS tax credit – Provides tax credit to working, low-income families.

• Juneteenth – Officially recognizes June 19 as a state holiday.

• national guard tuition aSSiStance – Gives tuition assistance benefits to spouses and dependents of National Guard members.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announces the Land Value Tax at the 2023 Mackinac Policy Conference. The Chamber-backed policy would reduce Detroit homeowners’ taxes while penalizing vacant properties that contribute to blight.

exCerpt FroM puBLIC aCt 215 oF 2023

the legiSlature encourageS each indiVidual in thiS State to pauSe on Juneteenth and reflect on the Strong SurViVal inStinct of the african american SlaVeS and the excitement and great JoY with which african americanS firSt celebrated the emancipation from SlaVerY.

The Chamber celebrated Detroit’s Black entrepreneurs as a sponsor of the Detroit Historical Museum’s Hustle Gala in February 2024.


e xpan D I n G p ro G ra M s an D

Co MM uni C ations

The Chamber and General Motors partner annually to offer neighborhood-based nonprofits and small businesses funding and in-kind business support. Entering its sixth year of funding neighborhood-focused projects in 2024, NeighborHUB expanded its impact by providing $600,000 in grants and additional consulting and support services to 20 small businesses and 10 nonprofits to ensure that projects are successful and sustainable. NeighborHUB’s diverse grantees are promoted in the Chamber’s Detroiters Think Big podcast as they share their stories and plans for future community development.

Since 2019, the program has awarded 94 grants totaling over $2.3 million to community nonprofits and small businesses that have created and enhanced spaces designed to foster collaboration, change, and positively impact their neighborhoods in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. women-owned or led (66 of total 94 grantee S ) 70%

b lack-, indigenou S -, or people of color-owned (75 of total grantee S )

A NeighborHUB grant to Garnette Archer, owner of Jo’s Gallery 2 LLC on the Livernois Avenue of Fashion, will help implement educational opportunities for art students to explore art gallery ownership and the craft of custom framing.

$2M+ awarded to b I poc - and/or women-owned bu S ine SS e S

306 Detroit Inc.’s George Adams Jr., and the

s in C e 2019
Top Left: AGI Construction’s Tanya Saldivar-Ali speaks at Detroit’s First Word: Driving Community Impact Through NeighborHUB session at the 2024 Detroit Policy Conference. She was joined by Detroit is Different’s Khary Frazier, Chamber’s Devon O’Reilly.

eL evatin G t H e I M portan C e o F Business in Drivin G eCono M i C e quity

Corporate America’s role in creating economic equity and the benefits of DEI were central in many sessions at the 2023 Mackinac Policy Conference, which also featured the public release of the first Detroit Resident Voices Survey in partnership with the Gallup Center on Black Voices. Sessions elevating the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion included: Bridging Divides with Inclusive Policymaking, The Intersection of Business and Equity Objectives, a Conversation with Mark Cuban, and a keynote address by Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan.

Hi GHL i GH tin G


D to In C rease p rosperity F or aLL as Mi CH i Gan Looks to Grow p opu L ation

With a focus on the challenges of growing Michigan’s population, the 2024 Detroit Policy Conference brought business leaders and community members together to discuss ways to create a more equitable and prosperous region and state for all. Sessions central to that conversation included: Driving Community Impact Through NeighborHUB, Improving Pre-K-12 Educational Outcomes, and a Power Perspective speech from Detroit Future City’s Anika Goss.

oF 54
o F s P eake R s we R e peop L e o F Co L or o F s P eake R s we R e wo M en
oF 44
mainstage sPeakeRs,
total mainstage and exhiBit hall stage sPeakeRs,
e n ee
Top left to right: Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC’s Suzanne Shank and Michigan’s Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. Bottom left to right: First Independence Bank’s Kenneth Kelly and University of Michigan’s Santa J. Ono.
oF 40 total mainstage sPeakeRs, 18 17 o F s P eake R s we R e peop L e o F Co L or o F s P eake R s we R e wo M en 16 13 o F s P eake R s we R e peop L e o F Co L or o F s P eake R s we R e wo M en 31 25 o F s P eake R s we R e peop L e o F Co L or o F s P eake R s we R e wo M en 26 19 oF 48 total mainstage and exhiBit hall stage sPeakeRs, *As of May 15, 2024. 2023 2024 2023 2024
Top left to right: Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans and The Skillman Foundation’s Angelique Power. Bottom left to right: Henry Ford Health’s Denise Brooks-Williams and Integral’s Ashok Sivanand.

e xpan D in G p ro G ra M s an D

Co MM uni C ations

Co MM un IC at I ons p L at F or M s D r I ve DI a L o G ue I n re GI on

The Chamber publishes a dedicated website with racial justice and economic-related thought leadership, data, resources for businesses, features, news, and events. It regularly distributes a newsletter to promote timely discussions across the Region while marketing efforts such as the Detroit Resident Voices Survey. The newsletter is one of the Chamber’s most read communications, with an average open rate of 66%.

n ew S letter and blog content reflect timelY topic S and period S of recognition S uch a S Juneteenth while offering reader S waYS to celebrate b lack and w omen’ S h i S torY month S .

64% open rate in 2024 black hiStorY month women’S hiStorY month

71% open rate in 2024


The Detroit Regional Talent Compact launched in 2020 to increase the postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% and reduce the racial equity gap in degree attainment by half by 2030 — a goal since adopted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and State of Michigan. The program’s vision is a Detroit with systems, policies, and resources that allow every resident to succeed in postsecondary education and careers that fill the Region’s talent needs and pay family-sustaining wages. Forty-eight business, highered, K-12, community, and philanthropic partners have committed to working together to break down barriers to postsecondary educational attainment.

r educing the equit Y gap bY half and increa S ing oV erall educational attainment to 60% require S oV er 90,000 b lack and 15,000 h i S panic S tudent S to earn a degree or credential bY 2030.

The Detroit Drives Degrees Community College Collaborative (D3C3) is a regional initiative that supports the community college system in Southeast Michigan in increasing equitable access to educational opportunities, boosting graduation rates, and bolstering the regional college-to-career pipeline. D3C3 provides community colleges with financial resources and technical assistance to implement collaborative regional strategies to improve educational opportunities and strengthen the talent pipeline. This work is designed to increase postsecondary attainment in Michigan to 60% and reduce the racial equity attainment gap by half by 2030.

Source: Detroit Drives Degrees Strategic Plan in 2020

The Chamber is a premier, trusted source of business data for the Detroit Region, and i ts Research and Data Team is leveraging its resources and expertise to stay at the forefront of economic and social equity data. This data enhances and offers new, valuable insights to the Chamber’s signature reports and publications, like the annual State of the Region, State of Education and Talent and Michigan is Automobility reports, as well as the Detroit Regional Dashboard. The dashboard provides a snapshot of socioeconomic regional metrics, with a focus on equity measures across data sets, including economics, business, talent, education, community, and infrastructure.

The Chamber’s website includes resources and links to additional racial equity reports and data resources to help members and the public better understand the racial equity condition in the Region. Further, the Detroit Data Center website provides public access to demographic measures, including metrics by race and ethnicity. The Research and Data Team supports Chamber programs, partners, and the public with access to data and information to address inequities and gain greater understanding to enact change.

I n CL us I on o F equ I ty Data I n a LL resear CH reports
13 29% 42% to 2018 2023
Co MM ittin G to interna L i M prove M ents
Racial Justice Economic Equity Board Committee, chaired
marnita s. Harris appointed as the Chamber’s first Vice President of Racial Justice and Economic Equity. ongoing strategy to imProve diversity through procurement, internal and external communications, and hiring and retention. 2022 2022 2023 2023 H o LDI n G ourse Lves aCCounta BL e
The Chamber staff celebrates their internal successes with Racial Justice and Economic Equity board members.
by dennis W. arCHer Jr.

I M provin G D iversity o

The Nominating and Governance Committee of the Chamber’s Board of Directors reviews a demographics matrix of the entire 82-person board before they begin the nomination process to identify opportunities to increase diversity.

r aC ia L Justi C e an D eCono M i C e quity Boar D Co MM ittee aDvan C in G D e I

Composed of Chamber board members, this standing committee identifies opportunities to advance DEI and guides the organization’s engagement in long-term societal and economic change through three workstreams: internal focus, external programming, and leveraging the Chamber’s regional and convening power.

Interna L e quity task For C e De L iverin G r esu Lts

The Chamber’s internal equity task force is made up of 18 Chamber staff members from varying departments with engagement and support from the Executive Management Team. Advised by a Chamber board member, each internal task force team has issued recommendations that have been implemented. Its work has focused on procurement policies, internal communications practices, and hiring and retention policies.

In C reasin G s pen D in G wit H Diverse v en D ors

The Chamber examined and updated its procurement process while establishing partnerships with other organizations to better support, engage, and spend with a more diverse vendor base.

Creatin G a More Diverse Can D i Date p oo L

The Chamber fully audited and documented its hiring pr ocess and developed a strategic approach to diversify the candidate pool for hiring across the organization. This included adjusting minimum requirements to open opportunities to candidates with high school diplomas, associate degrees, and trade/technical certifications. The Chamber also created a mechanism to develop more welcoming, inclusive, and gender-neutral job descriptions while revamping the interview and onboarding process.

r etainin G an D e n GaG in G Diverse s ta FF

The Chamber conducted a third-party review of retention and engagement of current and previous diverse staff while developing best practices for staff communication and engagement and presenting new professional development opportunities through lunchand-learn events. It also developed best practices for interpersonal communications among employees through a newly created intranet, open-door policy and creation of feedback form for staff to offer suggestions and input.

Being part of the Equity Task Force has been an incredible opportunity to witness tangible progress and a meaningful way to contribute toward fostering a more inclusive future within the Detroit Regional Chamber. This experience has provided firsthand insight into the transformative power of collaborative efforts focused on addressing equity and diversity challenges.
ryan MiLLer Specialist, Growth Marketing, Detroit Regional Chamber
18% 42% 2017 2023
L ea D ers H ip
F C H a
13% 31% 2016 2023 122% 138% CHanGe CHanGe overall board member diVerSitY increaSed BlaCk board member diVerSitY increaSed

s upportin G ot H ers

In partnership with Real Ti mes Media and the Michigan Chronicle, the Chamber co-hosted the Minding My Own Black Business live event, conversation, and discussion series in 2023. The program featured successful Black entrepreneurs and business leaders for unscripted, authentic conversations about their experiences. It is designed to help small- and medium-sized Black businesses throughout the Detroit Region explore critical topics and overcome challenges or obstacles to their success.

The Chamber signed on and committed to the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge in 2020 to act on supporting more inclusive workplaces. The group was founded on the belief that DEI is a societal issue, not a competitive one, and that collaboration and bold action from the business community are vital to driving change.

For the past few years, Chamber staff has been working with the group and leveraging its robust resources to better educate and engage staff and members. The Chamber participates in the organization’s signatory community meetings to engage and share input on building strategy, learning, and nurturing collective wisdom from fellow partners to develop tangible solutions to organizational challenges in the DEI space.

The Chamber is engaged with Detroit Means Business (DMB) and serves on DMB’s advisory team. In this capacity, the Chamber partners to connect small businesses with opportunities and promotes benefits and resources to its members. The Chamber is also active in the New Economy Initiative’s (NEI) Neighborhood Business Initiative Worktable, which convenes business support organizations that provide resources to entrepreneurs in Southeast Michigan as part of NEI’s work to drive inclusive small business growth.

detroit CH am B er. C om/equity marnita s. Harris vice PResident, Racial Justice and economic equity mhaRRis@detRoitchamBeR.com 313.596.0310

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