Augsburg Local is a campaign to leverage Augsburg’s purchasing power to support local businesses.
Purchasing at Augsburg takes two forms:
- Individual – purchasing done by Augsburg faculty, staff, and students often in close proximity to campus;
- Institutional – the goods and services that Augsburg purchases through contracts with various vendors and suppliers throughout the region.
The Augsburg Local campaign will include a variety of activities and strategies to intentionally connect locally owned, Black/Indigenous/People of Color (BIPOC) owned, and Femmes/Trans/Womxn (FTW) owned businesses to the economic benefits generated by both types of purchasing.
In addition to purchasing, Augsburg’s investment portfolio represents another opportunity for leveraging the institution’s economic resources to strengthen the health and vitality of our community. Toward that end, the Augsburg Local campaign will work to shift a portion of Augsburg’s investment portfolio to community-minded banks and financial institutions that yield economic benefit to underserved communities.
The West Bank Business Association in partnership with the Minneapolis Foundation is offering a Buy One/Give One campaign for gift cards at local businesses. The WBBA will match your gift card purchase with another gift card of equal value to help feed a West Banker in need. You’ll be supporting local residents and business owners and gift cards make great stocking stuffers!
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Our stories include a variety of BIPOC businesses you can support in the Twin Cities. The coming weeks we will be highlighting specific businesses within the Cedar-Riverside, Seward and Phillips neighborhoods.
Why local purchasing important
Community has and always will be at the heart of the Augsburg experience. Augsburg University educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. The strength of this powerful experience is supported by an engaged community that is committed to intentional diversity in its life and work.
The Augsburg Local campaign is directly related to two institutional commitments that are at the heart of Augsburg’s commitment to community: environmental sustainability and Augsburg’s role as an anchor institution.
Augsburg is committed to improving the environmental impact of the university and is dedicated to meeting the goals laid out in our climate commitments and other initiatives.
Using the Wellness Sustainability Model shown above, Augsburg University strives to demonstrate that climate, economic, social justice and health issues are all deeply connected and ignite one another. The Augsburg Local campaign deepens our community values and advances sustainability commitments in a variety of ways. Supporting the local economy strengthens our community’s overall wellbeing, giving businesses the support they need so that they can support their employees and the people they serve. The environment gives us our economy, our society, and contributes significantly to our physical and mental wellness. Buying Local reduces packaging, processing, and transportation waste which helps ameliorate the already suffering environment on which we depend.
Image and model credit: Bemidji State University Sustainability
The neighborhoods that will be a particular focus of Augsburg Local – Cedar-Riverside, Seward, and Phillips – have been designated as Green Zones by the City of Minneapolis. These are areas disproportionately affected by the cumulative negative effects of environmental pollution as well as social, political, and economic vulnerability.
Role as an Anchor Institution
As an anchor institution, Augsburg is committed to contributing to the health, safety, and vitality of the community of which we are a part. We mobilize institutional resources in ways that build strong, mutually beneficial community partnerships and respond to community needs and opportunities. Augsburg Local, by leveraging Augsburg’s economic resources in the form of purchasing and investment dollars, builds a stronger, more sustainable local economy in a variety of ways. Local purchasing builds community wealth. Dollars spent at local businesses are more likely to stay in the community. Local businesses hire local residents. Finally, local businesses contribute to the uniqueness and vibrancy of our neighborhoods.
Local and small businesses, particularly BIPOC and FTW owned, in the Twin Cities and across the Midwest have been hit disproportionately economically by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and the civil uprisings. Augsburg Local represents a concerted, focused effort to support these businesses at a time when the need for investment in these businesses is particularly urgent.
What we mean by “local”
Local purchasing can be defined in a myriad of ways, whether by a geographic radius, economic partnerships, and/or social relationships. Augsburg Local identifies “local” by considering a set of priorities aligned with the Wellness Model for Sustainability. These priorities not only help to advance sustainability at Augsburg University, but can help advance sustainability efforts among partner businesses.
- Size of business: # of employees, profit margin for sector, # of stores/franchises owned (supporting the infrastructure of a local economy in Cedar-Riverside, Seward, and Phillips)
- Type of business: B Corps, Cooperative, Employee-owned, Union-friendly, nonprofit
- Treatment of employees at all levels (pay, hiring practices, etc.)
- Connection & investment in the local economy (are they also invested in local?)
- BIPOC-owned, FTW-owned
- Engagement, support, & reputation among BIPOC & FTW communities (in Minneapolis)
- Reputation in & relationship to community and in the sector
- Relationship (depth, length, etc.) to Augsburg students, staff, faculty, & institution or the possibility of a partnership
- Physical & mental health benefits to the purchaser (specifically in a pandemic- responsiveness to Covid-19 safety precautions)
- Price of items/service for the purchaser
- Quantity of, quality of, & access to (speed of) item/service for the purchaser
- Definition of local: geography, individual vs. institutional purchase, item/service purchase
- Commitment to environmental sustainability
- Product-use, packaging & waste disposal operations
- Types of investments
Augsburg Local partners with neighborhood business associations and small business support organizations. We support their efforts to drive business to stores and restaurants located in neighborhood commercial corridors like Cedar Avenue and Franklin Avenue.
Augsburg Local informs members of the Augsburg community about local businesses. We amplify their stories, highlight goods and services that they have available, and share information about discounts and promotions.
Augsburg Local identifies local vendors that provide goods and services used by the University. We work to add these vendors to the University’s supply chain by identifying and addressing barriers that may be standing in the way.