University of Kentucky Supplier Diversity
Universities are seen as anchor institutions in their communities, educating its citizens, providing economic vitality through job creation, advancing health, research, innovation, and expanding real estate investments. Universities also have vast purchasing power and spend a record amount of money on goods and services, but rarely look at procurement through the lens of equity. In 2020, as part of University of Kentucky Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative, a project was launched to increase UK expenditures with diverse businesses. A Supplier Diversity Manager was hired as a member of the Chief Procurement Officer’s leadership team. This position provides dedicated focus to lead UK’s supplier diversity efforts.
UK’s Supplier Diversity Strategy is designed to achieve its goal of positive community impact by 1) Identifying diverse business enterprises (DBEs); 2) Educating and training the DBEs to the point they become viable suppliers for UK and the greater community; 3) Connecting DBEs to UK business opportunities using technology and other procurement processes; 4) Measuring and evaluating this work through the implementation of robust analytics and reporting for purposes of building credibility and accountability and 5) Creating Community Impact through developing and connecting local businesses to opportunities at UK, connecting the local community, students, faculty and staff to the supplier diversity strategy.
Supplier Diversity fits well into each of the five pillars of the UK Strategic Plan to Advance Kentucky which includes: Putting Students First, Taking Care of Our People, Inspiring Ingenuity, Ensuring Greater Trust, Transparency and Accountability and Bringing Together Many People, One Community.