Diversity, inclusion and equity are values that Local First Arizona embraces in order to lead the development of an economy grounded in local ownership that meets the basic needs of all people, builds local wealth and social capital, functions in harmony with our ecosystem, and encourages joyful community. It is our belief that such an economy cannot be fully realized if people are excluded from full and fair participation as a result of racism, poverty, discrimination, cultural ignorance, bias or other conditions of exclusion.

We also believe that practicing diversity, inclusion and equity enhances our membership, advocacy and mission. Therefore, we are intentional in our practices to be an organization inclusive of ethnic, racial, cultural, gender, age, religious, disability, family status, sexual orientation and socio-economic diversity in all areas including programming, membership, hiring, and beyond. 

We look to these guiding definitions of diversity, inclusion and equity as inspiration and instruction in our work to make Arizona nationally recognized for its quality of life, diverse entrepreneurial energy, beautiful environment, and unique local culture:

DIVERSITY

The wide range of national, ethnic, racial and other backgrounds of U.S. residents and immigrants as social groupings, co-existing in American culture. The term is often used to include aspects of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and much more (Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative).

EQUITY

Equity is just and fair inclusion into a society in which all, including all racial and ethnic groups, can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Equity gives all people a just and fair shot in life despite historic patterns of racial and economic exclusion (Policy Link---All in Nation: An America that works for all).

INCLUSION

Inclusion authentically brings traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy-making (Crossroads Charlotte Individual Initiative Scorecard for Organizations).


How Local First Arizona Embraces Diversity

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We ARE PROUD TO BE the first business organization to sign the Unity Pledge.

ONE Community's UNITY Pledge is a concerted effort by Arizona businesses, organizations and individuals to advance workplace equality and equal treatment in housing and public accommodations for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals and their allies. Learn more and sign the pledge. 

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We founded Fuerza Local to make our membership program bilingual.

Fuerza Local, the Spanish-language arm of Local First Arizona business coalition, is operated primarily in Spanish to increase access to our organization, resources, and messaging. We gather and network hundreds of business owners every year through this program. Learn more and join today.

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WE IDENTIFY EMBEDDED PARTNERS TO SHINE SPOTLIGHT ON DIVERSE ENTREPRENEURS.

In 2016, we worked with the International Refugee Committee in Phoenix to establish the World Bazaar and Phoenix Community Market, a twice-annual event that brings together refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs for a global shopping experience that connects these business owners with community members. Read about the latest event here.

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Our Foundation WorkS with Diverse Populations to BUILD PROSPERITY.

The Local First Arizona Foundation focuses on community and economic development to build prosperity in rural areas through the Arizona Rural Development Council; for farmers and food producers through the healthy local food initiatives; and for Spanish-speaking micro entrepreneurs through the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator program. Learn more about our Foundation work.


Why Diversity is Critical to Prosperity

There is a great amount of evidence and scientific research that indicates diversity, equity, and inclusion are necessary for widespread prosperity for communities and local economies. 

The evidence is mounting that geographical openness and cultural diversity and tolerance are not by-products but key drivers of economic progress. Proximity, openness and diversity operate alongside technological innovation and human capital as the key engines of economic prosperity.
— Richard Florida, "How Diversity Leads to Economic Growth," The Atlantic's CITYLAB
These findings [of this study] are consistent with a dominant positive effect of diversity on productivity: a more multicultural urban environment makes US-born citizens more productive.
— "The economic value of cultural diversity: evidence from US cities," Journal of Economic Geography
Foreign-born workers currently make up 22.0 percent of all entrepreneurs in the state, despite accounting for 13.7 percent of Arizona’s population. Their firms generated $1.3B in business income in 2014. Arizona firms with at least one immigrant owner also provided jobs to roughly 114,000 Americans in 2007.
— "The Contributions of New Americans in Arizona," New American Economy
Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.
— Katherine W. Phillips, "How Diversity Makes Us Smarter," Scientific American
Also central to community wealth building is the driver of inclusion, the opening up of economic opportunity and voice to previously excluded social groups.
— "Cities Building Community Wealth," Democracy Collaborative