Minneapolis (May 30, 2019) – Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) announced today that Gary Cunningham will step down as the organization’s president and chief executive officer after five successful years in the role. His move will take him to Washington D.C. to work with the national organization, Prosperity Now, that creates innovative solutions to ensure that people of all backgrounds are able to establish financial security. A national search for his replacement begins immediately.
Under Cunningham’s leadership, Meda won a national reputation for excellence, secured thousands of jobs in the local community and grew its financial assets. His work helped minority businesses create and retain 6,860 jobs, secure $86.2M in lending capital and win $4.332 billion in corporate and governmental contracts. Meda’s financial assets grew 221 percent to $25.2 million and its lending capital for minority entrepreneurs by 535 percent to $21.4 million. Meda was also recognized as a top performing MBDA Business Center in the county for three years in a row (2016-2018).
“It’s been a privilege to come to work each day at Meda,” says Gary Cunningham, chief executive officer, Meda. “I’m enormously proud of everything we’ve achieved together for businesses and the community, and I have absolute faith in the deep bench of talented and committed professionals here that will continue our mission with great success.”
Other milestones include launching of The Meda Million Dollar Challenge, the largest minority-exclusive entrepreneurial pitch competition in the country; and development of the Expanding Black Business Credit Initiative and Black Vision Fund, designed to increase lending to black-owned businesses by 250 percent. Cunningham also was instrumental in the creation of Catalyst, a consortium of seven Minnesota-based minority business development organizations aligning services to increase the collective impact on minority-owned businesses.
“Gary has been an integral part of Meda’s vision, growth and success and we’ll miss him, of course,” says Barbara Butts Williams, Board Chair, Meda. “We’re fortunate that there’s a rich pool of unbelievably talented professionals and leaders from across the country that we’re excited to open conversations with as we search for our next CEO. It’s an opportunity to build on what Gary achieved and establish Meda’s strategic footprint for the next five years and beyond.”
Cunningham will remain in his role through June 28, 2019 and help with the early days of a smooth and successful transition.
Meda’s mission is to have thriving communities with equal economic participation through minority entrepreneurship and community support. For more information about Meda, visit https://meda.net or follow on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda)
Meda was founded by a group of Minnesota business leaders who saw minority business ownership as a positive, long-term response to rising economic inequity within minority communities in our state. Meda provides business development services, access to capital and corporate and governmental market support for minority entrepreneurs. Over the years, Meda has helped launch more than 500 minority businesses and assisted more than 20,000 Minnesota minority entrepreneurs. Today, Meda clients employ 6,000 Minnesotans and have a combined annual revenue of $1 billion. Meda operates a growing Community Development Fund Institution (CDFI) that provides needed capital for minority businesses to become sustainable. Meda is also the host organization for the Minneapolis Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center, which has been recognized by the MBDA as the top performing center three consecutive years. For more information, visit meda.net.