President's supplier diversity statement aids inclusive campus environment

from left are President Mantella, Valerie Rhodes-Sorrelle and Greg Sanial. Valerie is holding a large plaque from Insight Into Diversity.
From left are President Philomena V. Mantella, Valerie Rhodes-Sorrelle and Greg Sanial. Rhodes-Sorrelle holds a plaque from Insight Into Diversity, recognizing the university's commitment to support minority-owned businesses.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts

President Philomena V. Mantella issued a commitment to supplier diversity and said the statement will enhance the vibrancy of Grand Valley's community and assist in creating an inclusive campus.

The commitment continues work by the Network of Advisors for Racial Equity. It calls for sustaining "a diverse pool of qualified suppliers to provide goods and services to our campus communities by expanding and extending opportunities to underserved businesses," Mantella wrote. Underserved businesses include local and national minority-, veteran-, and women-owned businesses; Grand Valley also prioritizes alumni-owned businesses.

In March, Grand Valley was recognized by Insight Into Diversity magazine as one of nine institutions taking proactive steps to support minority-owned businesses. Read more about the Jesse L. Moore Supplier Diversity Award.

Mantella asked each campus unit to be mindful and deliberate when sourcing for goods and services, adding staff members in the Procurement Services Department are able to provide research on underserved businesses when quotes or formal requests for proposals are needed.

"We must establish bold goals to grow our supply diversity program by spreading and sharing business opportunities and taking this responsibility as a top priority in contracting and purchasing," Mantella wrote.

Valerie Rhodes-Sorrelle, vendor relations manager for Procurement Services, said university money spent with diverse suppliers rose slightly in 2020 from 2019. In 2020, the total supplier spend was $106.3 million and 6.8 percent went to diverse suppliers, up from 6 percent in 2019.