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Connected DMV Announces DMV Regional Congress to Promote Economic Renewal, Social Equity

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser addresses cross-sector regional organization’s final COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force meeting

May 20, 2021 (Washington, D.C.)- Connected DMV held its ninth and final COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force meeting, where they announced the formation of the DMV Regional Congress to continue the Task Force’s mission of advancing strategic initiatives to promote economic renewal and social equity in the region. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also addressed the Task Force, where she gave an update on the District’s reopening plans. She also thanked the cross-sector regional nonprofit for its work in bringing together all of the region’s stakeholders for the shared purpose of creating a more economically vibrant and equitable future for all in Greater Washington on behalf of the District and Maryland and Virginia Governors Larry Hogan and Ralph Northam.


The joint statement affirming the Task Force and its work from Mayor Bowser and Governors Hogan and Northam read:

“Whereas the greater Washington metropolitan area is a diverse and complex region with abundant assets and resources; and Whereas the opportunities for economic growth and social equity are fully achievable only by working together across our jurisdictions and sectors to improve our physical, digital, economic and social infrastructures so that all who live, work and play in the DMV region can thrive, especially those in our most vulnerable and underserved communities; Now, therefore, we hereby affirm the benefits of co-equal, cross-sector regional collaboration, as demonstrated by the work of the Connected DMV COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force, and the enduring leadership of the resulting DMV Regional Congress.”

“Greater Washington is one of the most dynamic, diverse and fastest growing regions in the country and we want to ensure that everyone who calls the DMV home has the opportunity to thrive,” said Richard Bynum, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer, PNC Financial Services Group and COVID-19 Task Force Member. “With a keen understanding that a going it alone approach was not an option, Connected DMV has been able to successfully bring the unique perspectives and strengths of all those invested in our region to the table for a common purpose of improving our region economically and equitably for the long-term. While there is much work left to do, the Task Force should be proud of what they have accomplished to date. I am excited for what’s to come as we advance our current initiatives and create new ones.”


Connected DMV works with regional organizations across Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia -- the DMV -- to deliver initiatives that provide a stronger and more equitable future for all who live, learn, work, and prosper in Greater Washington. Last year, Connected DMV and its regional partners created the organization’s COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force that brought the region together with a mission of improving the long-term social, physical, and digital infrastructures for inclusive economic growth and renewal across the entire DMV region.


The 51-member Task Force, representing the CEOs of 17 regional organizations along with leaders from private industry, government, academia, philanthropy and community convened monthly to approve 13 region-wide key initiatives that address economic renewal and social equity in response to the pandemic in 10 key areas that are critical to making an impact on some of our region’s most vulnerable communities: technology and connectivity, finance, workforce development, education, public safety, transportation, food and water, energy, healthcare and housing.


These programs represent billions of dollars in net-new opportunities and jobs for Greater Washington and a major step forward in the work to close the stark East-West socioeconomic divide in the region. Key initiatives include creating a Global Pandemic Prevention & Biodefense Center, establishing a state-of-the art Hydrogen Center, positioning the region as a leader in next generation quantum technology through the launch of the Potomac Quantum Innovation Center (PQIC), and helping to close the digital divide in the region through its Connectivity for All initiative.


What the last year of collaboration by the Task Force and through the strategic initiatives has revealed is that this kind of cross-sector, co-equal collaboration works. As such, the Task Force has agreed to make this model sustainable and transition to a new body called the DMV Regional Congress. Its role will be to serve as an enduring body in the region, representing private industry, academia, philanthropy, and the community and ensure that all representatives have a co-equal seat at the table to continue the work already underway to bring further economic renewal and social equity to the region, as well as considering and approving new initiatives to solve some of the region’s greatest challenges.


“I want to thank all the members of the COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force who came together, especially in a moment of crisis in our region, and worked hard and collaboratively on key innovative initiatives that help point the DMV towards sound economic footing while removing barriers to achieving a more equitable society,” said Stu Solomon, President & CEO, Connected DMV. “Their commitment to a single, results driven mission for our region was as unprecedented as it was remarkable. I’m thankful and encouraged by the Task Force commitments to be part of the DMV Regional Congress to further advance the important work that is already underway.”


One of the Task Force’s founding members was Major General Omar Jones, whose command of Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region will end in June. He also addressed the meeting and thanked Task Force Members on all that they have accomplished over the past two short years. “It has been a privilege and an honor to serve as a liaison to the Connected DMV’s COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force, a group comprised of highly accomplished individuals in their respective fields,” said Major General Jones. “While we are a diverse group, we are united in a singular mission to ensure that we create thoughtful, responsible and achievable results driven initiatives to help our region grow economically, equitably and safely now and in the years to come. In terms of getting these initiatives off the ground, I am proud to say our mission is accomplished.”


In June, Connected DMV’s Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) Steering Committee – made up of 23 cross-sector organizations from around the region – will publish the Regional Economic Development Strategy Report, a blueprint for enduring cross-sector collaboration for regional economic development and equity. The REDS initiative was approved by the Task Force last year. The report is the culmination of a year of collaboration and will be the first time in our region’s history that a group of leaders from private industry, economic development and planning organizations, academia, philanthropy, and community organizations has come together to improve Greater Washington’s competitive advantages and focus directly on delivering equitable regional economic outcomes to improve the lives of all who live and work in Greater Washington.


The REDS report will also include a vision for the DMV Atlas: Accelerating Equitable Regional Growth, a collaborative platform and program that will aggregate, map, and analyze data from key regional stakeholders to inform better and more efficient cross-sector planning, partnerships, investment, programming, and tracking. It will help to drive improved leadership decision-making across sectors and jurisdictional boundaries, grounded in a nuanced regional context that advances equitable economic growth. Moving forward, the REDS effort will help generate, prioritize, and advance prospective strategic initiatives of regional economic development significance for consideration by the DMV Regional Congress.


The first meeting of the newly assembled DMV Regional Congress is slated for September of this year.

About Connected DMV

Connected DMV is an initiatives-based, charitable 501(c)(3) organization that works with regional organizations across Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia – the DMV – to help drive ongoing improvements to social, digital, and physical infrastructure. Connected DMV focuses on initiatives that span local jurisdictions and require public-private-academia-community collaboration to best achieve the dual objectives of enduring economic health and social equity. https://www.connecteddmv.org/


Contact:

Toni DeLancey

tonidelancey@connecteddmv.org (703) 980-5935