City of Cambridge Announces Completion of its Disparity Study

12/21/20236 months ago

Building on the City of Cambridge's commitment to reducing barriers and working with more diverse business owners, the City has completed its first ever Disparity Study focused on the procurement of goods and services.

The City hired Griffin & Strong, a minority business enterprise with national recognition in Disparity Studies, to conduct the City’s Disparity Study focused procurement of goods and services. City departments assisting with the Study include Auditing, Community Development, Law, Office of Equity & Inclusion, and Purchasing.

Study Period and Outreach

The Disparity Study period reviewed the City of Cambridge’s (including the Public School Department) procurement of goods and services between July 1, 2016 – June 20, 2021 (FY2017 - FY2021).

Griffin and Strong, in coordination with the City’s Economic Opportunity and Development Division, engaged with a wide variety of businesses, many of which were minority-, veteran- and/or woman-owned, to learn about their experience with City contracting and local marketplace conditions through:

  • Randomly selected anecdotal interviews for services and supplies.
  • Interviews with W/MBE and Veteran owned businesses.
  • Two public hearings.
  • Two focus groups.
  • Meeting with the Cambridge-Somerville Black Business Network.
  • A survey sent to 8,000+ businesses within Cambridge’s relevant market. The survey was translated into five different languages.

Please click the link to learn more about the Study and see the full report -

“We strive to be known as an equitable and inclusive organization across the board,” said Cambridge City Manager Yi-An Huang. “In order to achieve this, we recognized that we needed to conduct an in-depth introspection into our overall supplier diversity practices, identify opportunities for improvement, and determine how we can deepen our commitment to increasing our supplier diversity efforts, while engaging the community on this important work. City departments have already begun to enact several key reforms recommended in the Study. Ultimately, these, and future efforts, will enhance equity and accountability in the goods and services procurements process to align with the high standards we intend to uphold.”

Current and Future City Efforts

Current and future efforts City Department efforts include, but are not limited to:

  • State Certification and City BID Education Training Programs for businesses, including workshops such as “How to be a Vendor with the City.”
  • Promote vendor networking and contracting opportunities such as the City’s annual October Supplier Diversity Fair, which includes the City and other Cambridge large employers, such as MIT and Harvard.
  • Improve awareness of City bids through user friendly web updates and advertising bids to news sources that target diverse and historically disadvantaged communities.
  • Expand awareness internally to City departments about available diverse vendors.
  • Creating a multi-departmental Supplier Diversity Working Group to implement and track the Study recommendations.