Mayor Emanuel Announces City of Chicago is One of Five Cities Chosen to Participate in City Accelerator to Further Strengthen Local Procurement Practices & Promote Economic Opportunity

June 22, 2017

Chicago to receive $100,000 grant, support from the Citi Foundation and Living Cities

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Procurement Services (DPS) today announced the City of Chicago is one of five cities selected to participate in the Citi Foundation and Living Cities City Accelerator. The national program will help the selected cities to refine their approach to procurement to increase the diversity of municipal vendors. In addition to a $100,000 grant, the City of Chicago will receive a combination of coaching, technical assistance and implementation resources in the coming year.

“My administration has made it a priority to create opportunities for businesses of all sizes to grow and thrive while strengthening our procurement processes,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Our selection by the Citi Foundation and Living Cities as one of five cities to participate in this program reflects the fact that the Chicago is a national leader in procurement reform, and I commend Jamie Rhee and her team for pursuing new opportunities and partnerships that will continue to strengthen our procurement practices and ensure those who do business with the City reflect Chicago's rich diversity."

DPS was selected to participate in the program because of the innovative solutions that have been developed to help support the business community of Chicago, such as the Procurement Reform Task Force (PRTF). The PRTF was formed to develop recommendations to make procurement and contract management at the City and its Sister Agencies more uniform, efficient, and cost effective, while increasing accountability. It was co-chaired by Inspector General Joe Ferguson and Chief Procurement Officer Jamie L. Rhee, and its goal is to distinguish successful practices, identify areas for improvement, and promote a greater level of uniformity. The PRTF has issued three quarterly reports as well as an annual report detailing progress, available at DPS will be working with Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE), a unit within World Business Chicago to facilitate an implementation plan for the long-term recommendations of the PRTF.

"Building on our efforts to provide residents an efficient and accountable procurement process is our continual focus,” said CPO Rhee. “I look forward to ongoing collaboration with the Sister Agencies and support of the City Accelerator to put the recommendations into action.”

This collaboration supports the goal of City Accelerator, to support innovative local government projects within and across cities that have a significant impact on the lives of residents, especially those with low incomes. Other cities selected for the program include Charlotte; Los Angeles; Memphis; and Milwaukee.

"By opening up the procurement process to small and diverse businesses owned by people of color, cities have an incredible opportunity to realize the publics' vision of a thriving, vital economy," said Ben Hecht, President and CEO of Living Cities. "Five cities were asked to lead the way, and we are excited to lift up their work as examples of how we can create a new urban practice dedicated to getting dramatically better results for low-income people faster."

Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the City of Chicago has created numerous programs to increase the pool of bidders on City contracts, incentivize the use of small minority and women-owned businesses, build capacity of local businesses, and encourage the employment of local residents.

The City is working to have a local impact at all levels of the procurement and contracting process, developing innovative programs that affect prime contractors, subcontractors and individual residents. For a listing of programs and initiatives, visit


About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit

About Living Cities
Living Cities harnesses the collective power of 18 of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions to develop and scale new approaches for creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live. Its investments, research, networks, and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, local approaches with real-time sharing of learning to accelerate adoption in more places. Additional information can be found at

Click here to download the press release.