In the Burroughs | Children's Minnesota | The Kid Experts

Supplier diversity: putting your money where your values are

Children’s Minnesota is a nonprofit pediatric health system, and we’re also a large business. We employ more than 5,000 people and serve more than 150,000 kids every year. That means we need a lot of supplies and services to keep our hospitals and clinics running.

As a large business, we have a responsibility to raise up our communities. Healthier communities mean healthier kids and families. Part of that means doing what we can to address economic disparities that exist in the Twin Cities. That’s why we’re focusing on increasing something called supplier diversity.

What is supplier diversity?

Supplier diversity is an intentional effort to buy from business owners who are Black, Latino, Native, Asian, women, veterans, LGBTQ+ or who have disabilities. In other words, business owners who may not have had opportunities to participate in the product selection processes of corporations, government entities and other large institutions like Children’s Minnesota.

Why is supplier diversity important?

By doing our part to increase the participation of diverse suppliers, we’re helping to promote economic opportunity and inclusion. This is a value that our community said was important in our Community Health Needs Assessment. Supplier diversity can create jobs and provide access to new markets and opportunities for underrepresented businesses. It’s another way for us to engage with our communities. And supplier diversity helps us advance our organizational plan to be more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Our work with equity coaches Anika Ward (left) and Janice Downing (right) is an example of our supplier diversity.

How can you help?

Whether you work at Children’s Minnesota or somewhere else, you can be a champion for supplier diversity.

  • When you need to buy supplies or services, at work or in your personal life, think about how you can work with diverse, local businesses. It may take a little research to find them, but here’s a place to start.
  • Be an advocate for showing up in our communities. Encourage your co-workers, friends and family to consider doing business with diverse vendors.

Economic status is one of the social determinants of health. Families who can afford a safe place to live, healthy food and other necessities, are more likely to be healthy. Which means the children in those families are more likely to be healthy. At Children’s Minnesota, that is our ultimate goal.

James Burroughs

James Burroughs
Senior vice president, government and community relations, chief equity and inclusion officer

James Burroughs is the senior vice president, government and community relations, chief equity and inclusion officer at Children's Minnesota. He is responsible for advancing equity and inclusion in all parts of the organization.
Follow James on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Julianna Olsen