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Economic Prosperity is a Foundation for Health and Wellbeing in Communities. BHPN Statement on ruling against MBDA.

Written by Colleen Flynn and Ruth Thomas-Squance on March 25, 2024

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Ruth Thomas-Squance and Colleen Flynn, Co-Executive Directors of Build Healthy Places Network released the following statement in response to US District Judge Mark Pittman’s ruling against the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) mandate to support expansion and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses:

“We are releasing this statement to express our concern over the recent ruling against the MBDA. 

At BHPN we use the Vital Conditions for Health and Wellbeing framework which emphasizes the multifaceted nature of our systems that combine to impact community health. One of these factors is Meaningful Work & Wealth. Entrepreneurial success is one of the greatest drivers of wealth creation and unless incomes grow for low-income families, the US will never shrink the wealth gap associated with health inequities.

Minority Business Enterprises experience barriers to capital and credit because of racial discrimination by lenders. Closing the wealth gap requires nondiscriminatory and equitable access to credit and lending, entrepreneurship, rewarding jobs, and business growth. Having culturally relevant and diverse firms participating in the business ecosystem creates opportunities for healthier communities. MBDA programming and funding make this possible. 

There are over 9.2 million minority owned businesses in the US, who employ more than 8 million people and generate upwards of $1.8 trillion in revenue annually. The ‘Vital Conditions’ remind us that economic prosperity in communities is a foundation for health and wellbeing. Redressing the harms of historic barriers to economic mobility is an important part of advancing health equity goals across the country. 

While we don’t know the implications that this ruling will have on future MBDA programming and funding, BHPN will continue to partner across sectors to support the long term health outcomes of the communities who persistently experience barriers to resources needed for success.”

Colleen Flynn and Ruth Thomas-Squance are Co-Executive Directors at Build Healthy Places Network.