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Increased Corporate Spend With Local Minority Firms Grows And Sustains Jobs, Report Finds

According to Chicago United's independent analysis, the number of MBEs with revenue ranging from $15 million to $30 million rose to six companies in 2011 from only one in 2009. Those same companies saw their collective employment numbers grow to 596 in 2011 from 280 in 2009.

This progress report provides guidance for corporations as they implement best-in-class supplier diversity programs that optimize their competitiveness, said Gloria Castillo, president and chief executive officer of Chicago United.

"Minority business owners who participated in Five Forward from the beginning have reported increased revenue, capacity expansion and job growth," she said. "Also, it's very important to note that in 2011, the last year that was analyzed, corporations continued to increase their expenditures with the Five Forward MBEs, even though all companies were making adjustments in order to respond to the recession. This allowed the MBEs to remain in business even while they reduced their expenses. This makes them stronger, better partners for corporations."

The Five Forward pilot launched with the faith of 13 corporations that committed to increasing their expenditures with current or new minority suppliers. Today, there are 28 committed corporations and 109 MBEs that participate in the program. Today, those original 13 companies received Chicago United's first-ever James. C. Tyree Visionary Award for their pioneering participation in the program. Tyree, the late chairman and chief executive officer of Mesirow Financial, drove development of the initiative with his vision and passion. Those companies are:
  • Advocate Health Care
  • Ariel Investments LLC
  • BMO Harris Bank N.A.
  • City Colleges of Chicago
  • ComEd, an Exelon Company
  • Ernst and Young LLP
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield / Health Care Service Corporation
  • Loop Capital
  • Macy's
  • McDonald's Corporation
  • Mesirow Financial
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • The University of Chicago/ University of Chicago Medicine

Since its creation in 1968, Chicago United has stood for improving the Chicago area through tighter linkages between large corporations and minority-owned business enterprises. This model for strengthening communities has proven to be successful over the generations, regardless of the leadership changes in the private, public, or civic sectors. This year, Chicago United will celebrate its 45 th anniversary on November 19 at the Hilton Chicago.

For more information on Five Forward, please visit

About Chicago UnitedChicago United is an advocacy organization made up of racially diverse CEOs and executive level management who increase economic opportunity for all races by promoting multiracial leadership development in corporate governance, the leadership pipeline and business partnerships. Through a fierce brand of constructive conversation, Chicago United fosters inclusion and provides an opportunity for senior executives from all racial and ethnic groups to learn from one another, confront and break down racial barriers and achieve shared objectives. For more information please visit

SOURCE Chicago United

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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