Inclusive, local sourcing: Purchasing for people and place

Across the country, healthcare institutions are recognizing that they can creatively leverage their supply chains to address the upstream economic and environmental conditions that have the greatest impact on the health of local residents. In doing so, they can create family-supporting local jobs and build community wealth. This toolkit on local and diverse purchasing showcases examples of how hospitals and health systems are reevaluating their roles as their community’s largest purchasers, understanding that a thriving local economy is fundamental to a healthy community.

The sourcing of goods, services, and food that your hospital or health system does every day, when aligned with your mission, can help build local wealth in the communities you serve. By supporting diverse and locally owned vendors and helping to incubate new community enterprises to fill supply chain gaps, hospital and health systems like yours can leverage existing resources to drive local economic growth and build a culture of health in their communities. This toolkit can help you get started.

Making the case for inclusive, local sourcing

Case Studies

Learning from leaders in the field

University Hospitals

In Cleveland, Ohio, University Hospitals is harnessing its purchasing power to revitalize disinvested urban neighborhoods, encouraging existing vendors to move locally and hire local and minority residents and helping incubate environmentally sustainable,...

MD Anderson Cancer Center

In Houston, Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center works with existing vendors to facilitate a mentor-protégé program, building the capacity of local, diverse businesses.

Parkland Health and Hospital System

In Dallas, Texas, Parkland Health and Hospital System is integrating supplier diversity into their Request for Proposals and contracting processes and working to build the capacity of local, diverse businesses.

Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC)

In Charleston, West Virginia, Charleston Area Medical Center is addressing community health needs by purchasing from local farmers and intentionally growing the capacity of the regional food system, creating local jobs and healthier food options for its...

Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE)

In Chicago, Illinois, Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) is leveraging its anchor institution members’ purchasing and hiring power, including four health systems, to collectively impact Chicagoland neighborhoods and foster inclusive economic g...


Key Strategies

Creating Connections

Overcoming Barriers for Local and Diverse Vendors

Adjusting internal practices to facilitate connections with local vendors not only shifts procurement dollars in a way that fosters local employment, which in turn promotes community health, but it also grows these businesses over time, allowing for a more responsive and resilient supply chain.  Learn more about strategies to create connections 

Building Capacity

growing existing businesses and incubating new ones

A capacity building approach helps address supply chain gaps, meet specific product needs, and improve the efficiency and resiliency of the supply chain. Learn more about strategies to build capacity 

Diving In

Small projects with big impact

Simple Policy Fixes

  • Create department and staff positions dedicated to inclusive, local sourcing
  • Require that local and/or diverse vendors are considered in Request for Proposal (RFP) pool
  • Make inclusive, local sourcing an explicit goal...

Quick Practice Upgrades

  • Adjust payment periods and invoicing processes to accommodate small businesses
  • Incorporate local and diverse spending objectives into job descriptions and evaluations for supply chain
  • Communicate with community partners...

Readiness Checklist

Do a basic assessment of where your institution is at, and identify the steps you need to take to implement an inclusive, local sourcing initiative

The Big Questions

Getting clarity on Your Goals and Priorities

What does “local” mean to your institution?

What does “community” mean to your institution?

Which institutional priorities would be met if your purchasing was more inclusive and local?

Learn how to ask — and answer — the big questions

Laying the Foundations

Setting the stage for transformative impact

Measure your supply chain baseline

Where and who are you currently purchasing from?

Survey your procurement policies and practices

What policies and processes are working, and which are barriers to success?

Identify your partners

Growing the capacity of local and diverse vendors in underserved communities doesn't have to happen alone—who else is on your team?

Map your community's assets

How can you link with existing networks and efforts to support local and diverse purchasing?

Understand your purchasing pipeline

Who contributes to purchasing decisions at your institution, and how are decisions made?

Scale and sustain impact

How do you institutionalize priorities and create organizational alignment?

The Return on Investment

how inclusive, local sourcing benefits your institution and how to measure business impact



  • Create a more efficient and resilient supply chain
  • Decrease community need for and use of uncompensated care
  • Leverage philanthropic and public resources

Additional Benefits


  • Improve overall community health and well-being
  • Become a provider of choice
  • Meet other strategic goals, such as sustainability


Overcoming Barriers

Promising solutions to common challenges
  • Existing contracts prevent switching to or working with a local, diverse vendor….
  • No existing vendors provide the good or service needed…
  • Public regulations prevent preferences for local and/or diverse vendors…
  • Contract with Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) limits the amount of discretionary spending available…


More resources

additional templates and tools plus further reading and research