This case study is part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Expanding Equity program, which helps workplaces become more racially equitable places of opportunity. The program supports and inspires companies to take action using four pillars: Attract, Belong, Promote and Influence. Each pillar offers unique opportunities for advancing racial equity, diversity and inclusion in companies. This case study lifts up actions from the Influence pillar, which focuses on advancing racial equity through a company's products, services or relationships externally.
At Beacon Capital Partners, having a workplace that prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) means being intentional with choosing external business partners who share those same values. The firm recognized that United States' real estate industry as a whole is an overwhelmingly White, male-dominated business. They initially looked at its recruitment practices to expand their DEI efforts. In doing so, they learned that creating a space of inclusion and belonging went beyond recruiting practices and should also include all the firm's functional engagements. The firm works with numerous vendors and suppliers in its work and saw an opportunity to expand business partner diversity by working with firms holding Minority Women Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) certification and increasing its total spend on diverse vendors and suppliers at its properties. This led Beacon Capital to pilot its business partner diversity initiative, which lead to an increase in their total property spend on diverse vendors and suppliers from about 4% of controllable operating expense spending with diverse business partners in the pilot properties in 2017 to around 27% of controllable operating expense spending in 2022.