02 Jun LEAP Committed to Inclusive Economic Development in Lansing Region
Statement from LEAP President and CEO Bob Trezise and Board Chair Edythe Copeland
LANSING, Mich. (June 2, 2020) – The heart of LEAP’s mission is to create vibrant, inclusive and strong communities that more competitively support the attraction and growth of businesses, people and entrepreneurs in the three-county Lansing region. When we bring our board of directors together, at the start of each year, to sign our annual diversity, equity and inclusion statement and reaffirm LEAP’s commitment to each and every person from our community, it is a statement that carries through to our staff culture, our programs and funding available from LEAP.
As the region’s lead economic development agency, we want to assure and reaffirm for everyone in our community that we are listening, we know all is inadequate and much more must be done. As economic developers, LEAP is working intentionally to elevate voices traditionally left out of the economic development conversation.
LEAP is saddened by the systemic harm done to the black community that has led to ongoing protests nationwide, including the one Sunday at our own Capitol building. LEAP’s support goes out to those in the community who are frustrated, hurting and feel their concerns are unheard, especially those from the historically discriminated against black community.
Examples of how we prioritize inclusion in our work include LEAP’s new One&All program, launching this month, which creates new funding and business counseling exclusively for persons from underrepresented populations of our community; we hold a tradition of DEI training internally and externally which began years ago; and our Hatching pitch competitions are now designed to engage populations throughout the region that typically don’t receive as much support as they should—our 2020 Hatching series will be hosted on Facebook live beginning June 11. And there is more.
The strongest communities and the strongest businesses are those that embrace the diversity of their populations and work to elevate the voices and talents of all people. The organizations, businesses and communities that best embrace these values of inclusion and equality, will experience the highest quality of life and the greatest economic growth.
LEAP is proud to suggest to companies and people from around the country and world that while we certainly still have unaddressed and serious issues, the Lansing region is a celebrated mosaic of diverse culture, business and people ready to create genuine solutions and prosperity for all.
It takes us all to be Stronger Together.
The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders partnering to build a stronger community for all–working every day to grow, retain and attract business to the Lansing, Michigan, region.