"The Value of Opportunity" : Rodney Strong in Governing Magazine

All it takes is an opportunity. 

While Griffin & Strong, P.C. (GSPC) has been at the forefront of the fight for economic inclusion for over 27 years, new allies are being developed continuously. Two years ago, Griffin & Strong was invited to apply to serve as cohort lead for the Living Cities City Accelerator, an initiative supported by the Citi Foundation. We saw this opportunity and Living Cities’ focus on economic equity as alignment with our organization’s mission. After a competitive process, GSPC was selected as cohort expert.

The shared learning of practitioners, business owners and other experts across the United States has challenged, inspired and resonated not only with the cohort participants, but with our firm and now several other cities across the United States.

All it took, was one opportunity.

Two years later, the value of strategic cross-sector partnerships has increased, as public and private interest have become more intertwined. It is now of the utmost importance for firms positioned between the public and private, such as GSPC, and not-for-profit entities, like Living Cities, to find ways to create and maximize collective impact.

This partnership began with Griffin & Strong’s selection to lead the City Accelerator cohort on Inclusive Procurement, culminating in the release of our implementation guide, Culture, Collaboration, and Capital on strategies to promote economic inclusion in local government contracting. It continues today, as we work side by side with Living Cities and municipal governments across the United States to promote equity and economic inclusion. The decision that Living Cities made to partner with Griffin & Strong, a Black owned law and public policy consulting firm, has produced considerable impact for not only the grant recipients, Living Cities, and Griffin & Strong, but will now impact 10 new cities through the City Accelerator’s newest cohort, continuing the work started two years ago to address procurement inclusion, innovation and re-orientation.

READ MORE

"Why Public Procurement Is a Civil Rights Issue"

by Oscar Perry Abello in Next City

There’s a battle for Atlanta going on right now — for its airport, specifically. Citing corruption and waste, the Republican-led, majority-white state legislature in Georgia wants to wrest control of the airport’s operations away from the Democrat-dominated, predominantly-black Atlanta government. The world’s busiest airport for 21 years running, Hartsfield-Jackson International is worth an estimated $34 billion in economic impact on the Atlanta metropolitan area, and $70 billion overall across the state of Georgia.

But the airport’s real impact is much deeper than just dollar signs, and it goes beyond just Atlanta or Georgia. The project steered public procurement contracts to minority-owned firms — one of the first major projects to do so successfully. This requirement inspired other projects and other cities to do the same, but also sparked a backlash against such programs that continues through today.

Rodney K. Strong has been through all the backlash, first as Atlanta’s director of contract compliance, and then as a principal at his law and consulting firm, Griffin & Strong.

“The person who put it best was James Brown,” says Strong. “It’s just living in America.”

READ MORE