Disparity Study

Interview Photo

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

What is a Disparity Study?

A Disparity Study is an objective research tool to identify opportunities for minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses to do business, or contract, with a government agency. 


December 21, 2023

Please find below links to the executive summary and final study report.

Disparity Study Executive Summary (PDF)

Disparity Study Final Report (PDF)

September 27, 2023

The Economic Development and University Relations Committee held a public meeting on Wednesday, September 27, 2023 from 1:00 – 3:00p.m. to report and update on the City of Cambridge Disparity Study.

Click here for more information. 

October 6, 2022

The City of Cambridge's Disparity Study consultant Griffin & Strong, P.C. (GSPC) is hosting two virtual community engagement meetings.

Why should you attend one of these meetings?

The purpose of these meetings is to have the community share their experience on doing or attempting to do business with the City of Cambridge. If you are not doing business with the City, we would like to know why not.

Your voice is important. We encourage all businesses to participate by telling your impressions, thoughts, and experiences doing business with the City, either good or bad.

When are the meetings and how do I attend?

  • Meeting One - Tuesday, October 25, 2022, at 9:00 AM. Registration is closed
  • Meeting Two - Thursday, October 27, 2022, at 6:00 PM Registration is closed. 

Advance registration is encouraged, but not required. For more information, contact cambridgemastudy@gspclaw.com.

July 19, 2022

Griffin & Strong, P.C. hosted a Virtual Informational Meeting on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. This online session is an opportunity for the Cambridge community to ask questions, learn about the study, and discuss how to participate. Local business and community voices are extremely important for this Study, and everyone is encouraged to participate. Advanced registration is recommended but not required to participate. 

Session was held from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. Registration is closed. 

Click here for a copy of the July 19, 2022 presentation.

Tentative Timeline:

  • Data collection (spring 2021- winter 2022)
  • Conduct informational meetings, conduct online survey of business owners, interview vendors, etc. (summer-fall 2022)
  • Conduct and analyze data and conduct relevant market analysis and utilization analysis (winter 2022- spring 2023)
  • Complete findings and recommendations (summer-fall 2023)
  • Review of report, presentations (fall 2023)

In 2021 the City conducted a Request for Proposals (RFP) process and hired Griffin & Strong, a minority business enterprise with national recognition in Disparity Studies, to conduct the City of Cambridge’s Disparity Study focused on the City’s 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 Economic Opportunity and Development Division, engaged with a wide variety of businesses, many of which are 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.
  • Interviewed 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.

For questions on the study, please contact Pardis Saffari via at psaffari@cambridgema.gov, or by phone at 617/349-4654.