Downtown Durham Inc

Diversity Statement

We Believe

  • Diversity is the foundation of Durham’s vitality and creativity.
  • Downtown is the heart of Durham. It is welcoming to everyone and must reflect and honor Durham’s diversity.
  • Diversity includes shared success in the form of access to ownership of businesses and property in downtown and adjacent corridors.

We Put Our Beliefs Into Action

DDI believes a commitment to diversity means embedding inclusivity in every area of policy and programming. Under the leadership of President and CEO Nicole J. Thompson, DDI has undertaken the following initiatives:

  • Worked to ensure that DDI’s staff and Board of Directors reflect Durham’s diversity
  • Conducted an initial survey of minority businesses to understand the challenges and obstacles to starting and maintaining a successful business in a downtown environment. The information gathered led to a number of initiatives:
  • A pop-up program to give small, minority and woman-owned businesses firsthand experience in a downtown retail environment
  • A focus on seeking out downtown property owners and major businesses that have an interest in equitable real estate and economic development, then facilitating partnerships between these entities and minority/woman-owned businesses
  • Intensive, one-on-one support for small, minority and woman-owned businesses through all phases of development and growth
  • Created an inclusive placekeeping and art program led by a newly created position
  • Increased sponsorship of inclusive cultural and business-centric downtown events, including the Durham Central Park Playlist, Hip Hop Festival, Black Wall Street Homecoming, Black Communities Conference and Incremental Development Alliance’s Small Scale Development Lecture in Durham  
  • Created and hosted a speaker series featuring nationally recognized experts, with a focus on inclusive transportation initiatives, placekeeping, design and development, affordable housing and commercial development
  • Developed a new organizational strategic plan where inclusivity and equity are embedded in all DDI initiatives over the next five years

Our Actions Create Results

  • DDI staff is 86% female and 43% POC 
  • The DDI Board of Directors is 38% female and 38% POC
  • Over the past three years, the number of women and minority businesses located downtown has increased by 15% – from 66 to 76 businesses. We are working to improve tracking capability in this area.
  • Over the past three years, seven minority/woman-owned businesses have participated in pop-ups facilitated by DDI. Of that number, two have gone on to open businesses downtown.
  • DDI has paid 250 local artists more than $90,000 since 2017 
  • Fifty-eight percent of those funds were paid to artists of color or groups led by artists of color

We Build on Our Results

We created this statement as a living, dynamic document as we seek to build an inclusive, diverse downtown where economic success is shared by all. We will update this statement annually as we collect additional information, incorporate new initiatives into DDI policies and programs, and assess the results.

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