March 30, 2022

MCEDC Selected for ‘First IEDC National Equity Communities Cohort’ to Promote a More Inclusive Economy Through Best Practices

The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) has been selected by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for its inaugural “Equity Communities” initiative. MCEDC is one of five economic development organizations nationally participating in the year-long program to further local and regional efforts to promote equitable practices and standards in economic development. In addition, the program will help develop frameworks for local models and national best practices.

The other members selected for the IEDC initiative are the City of El Paso, Tex.; Elevate Rapid City, SD; Village Capital in Cleveland, Oh.; and the St. Louis Development Corporation, Mo. The selected organizations will receive program guidance and expert technical assistance. Through site visits, webinars and cohort check-ins, an Equity Action Plan based on individual local needs and challenges will be developed.

IEDC and the five entities launched the Equity Communities initiative with an orientation held in conjunction with the recent IEDC Leadership Summit in California. MCEDC plans to focus its work on initiative topics such as entrepreneurial development, capital access and community wealth-building.

"Diversity is a hallmark of Montgomery County,” said MCEDC President and CEO Benjamin H. Wu. “We are one of the most diverse counties in the country with 150 languages spoken in our schools and one-third of our residents foreign-born. The IEDC Equity Communities program is a perfect guide for our MCEDC inclusive economy initiative. Fostering shared prosperity in a post-pandemic economic recovery and permanently is a strategic priority. We’re grateful to IEDC and The Rockefeller Foundation for their recognition of Montgomery County’s diversity and our commitment to equity.”

The initiative is part of a larger mission of the IEDC, as it recently released its Equitable Economic Development Playbook. The playbook examines structural racism in economic development while promoting equitable practices and standards. IEDC's Equitable Economic Development Playbook Program has been made possible by The Rockefeller Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.

"The economic systems in the United States have routinely valued profit over labor and COVID-19 laid bare the injustices that were already present for communities of color," said Otis Rolley, senior vice president of the Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation." We are proud to support the IEDC's work to ensure equity is at the forefront of economic development."