Spotlight on Equitable Economic Development * Foundations

A Playbook for Equitable Economic Development Cover
As part of our commitment to advancing racial equity, EDAM will be highlighting excerpts from the International Economic Development Council’s Playbook for Equitable Economic Development throughout the year. The following excerpt highlights key points from the chapter entitled Foundations.

The goals of economic development are to promote economic well-being and quality of life for communities, by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. It has become apparent that the wealth resulting from growth in jobs, businesses, and real estate development is not evenly distributed. At times of economic growth, people of color do not fully benefit, and at times of economic contraction, people of color bear the brunt of the consequences.

Looking at present and past inequity in economic development gives us prisms to look through as we develop a Playbook with concrete tools, best practices, and case studies in equitable development.

  • Acknowledge the history, discrimination and systems that have kept people of color from creating, building and retaining wealth. Economic developers must learn from history and work towards trust and partnership with their community to move forward.

  • Programs and initiatives must be explicitly targeted for impacted or vulnerable communities, particularly communities with high population(s) of color. EDOs should listen to community stakeholders to create targeted programs. Intentionality to increase equitable outcomes for communities of color is crucial.

  • Equity cannot be produced from a singular source. Improving equity with holistic solutions is necessary moving forward.

  • Incorporate equity and inclusion into performance metrics. Only by establishing a baseline and understanding how initiatives are making a difference can EDOs understand where programs are or aren’t succeeding in reaching people of color.

Read Full Playbook

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, nonpartisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,500 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Learn more at