Why Does the Fed Have So Little Supplier Diversity?

Interview on DiversityInc.com website by Barbara Frankel on Jul 12, 2011 concerning our FOIA request:

We submitted a FOIA to the Fed, a Freedom of Information Act request, a formal request of a federal government agency for information. We asked for information on "minority" business contracting. How much money did the Fed spend with women firms (WBEs), minority firms (MBEs) and others? We were really looking for information on their spending patterns or their support of minority-owned banks. We were basically trying to (expand and) complete the data set concerning their support for foreign banks, foreign corporations, domestic corporations..related to the financial crisis.

What we found was that the Fed has not spent a lot of money with women- and minority-owned firms. In response to our Freedom of Information Act request, the Federal Reserve Board provided data on contract awards for the year 2010, broken out by ethnic and by gender designations. We found that, for example, in 2010, the Fed only spent 1.73 percent of their contracting dollars with minority-owned firms and 6.31 percent with women-owned firms. The total amount of money spent was reported to be $113,109,000. This only covers the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. This does not cover the entire Federal Reserve System.

We are trying to determine how much support was given to minority firms. We sought to compare that to the level of support provided to Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and other financial institutions and corporations as a result of the financial crisis.



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