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New $1.1 Million Investment from Fifth Third Foundation Advances NMSDC Centers of Excellence Certificate Program

Organizations Announce 2023 Centers of Excellence Graduates

The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and Fifth Third today announce the continuance of NMSDC’s innovative Centers of Excellence Certificate Program (COECP) through 2026. The COECP facilitates the development and growth of NMSDC-certified minority business enterprises, prepares them to compete for larger contracting opportunities and facilitates opportunities for strategic partnerships, mentoring and networking.

The Fifth Third Foundation will provide an additional $1.1 million over the next three years to sponsor the program — and three new classes of graduates — through 2026. Fifth Third also donated $1 million for the program from 2020-2023. In addition, the organizations today announced the 2023 COECP program graduates.

The 2023 graduates included participants from companies certified by five of NMSDC’s regional affiliates, including the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, the Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council, the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, the Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council, and the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council. For the full list of graduates, visit or

“The Centers of Excellence program is a prime example of how exponential MBE growth is possible when NMSDC and our corporate members, MBEs, and regional affiliates work together to create an ecosystem of mentorship and collaboration,” said NMSDC CEO and President Ying McGuire. “Our partnership with strategic allies like Fifth Third enables us to drive change and advance economic equity by providing growth opportunities to minority business owners.”

“Collaborations like the one between Fifth Third, the NMSDC and other valued partners is lifting up small businesses across the country,” said Fifth Third Executive Vice President Kala Gibson, chief corporate responsibility officer at Fifth Third Bank and chairman of the board of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. “We are proud to financially support the program through our Foundation and to lend our expertise as educators and subject matter experts to create an incredibly valuable experience that will pay dividends for all involved long into the future.”

To cultivate a robust supplier base throughout the country, the NMSDC COECP brings together the best and brightest minds in supplier diversity and inclusion. Through mentorship, executive coaching, and educational lessons, the program develops a stronger and more inclusive business community across multiple disciplines and geographic areas.

“We are delighted to deepen our relationship with NMSDC as part of our commitment to supporting small businesses and advancing inclusion in the economy,” said Fifth Third’s Director of Supplier Diversity Carla Cobb. “We are proud of the MBEs who committed themselves to this transformative program, thereby adding value to our supply chain and uplifting the communities they serve.”

In 2023, the program’s successes include an increase in profits of $15.8 million, new clients and/or contracts ranging from $20,000 to $7 million during the 12-month program, and a 90% success rate for graduates implementing strategic growth plans.

In addition to support from First Third and NMSDC, the program is made possible through strategic partnerships with corporate members, the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development at Rutgers Business School, Covenant Business Concepts, BCT Partners, and Institute Supply Management (ISM).

Visit for more information.


Founded in 1972, NMSDC is the longest-operating business growth engine for the broadest group of systematically excluded communities of color (Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic, and Native American), and our impact goes far beyond the supply chain. It’s about upward mobility for the emerging majority of Americans, an equal shot at participating in the American experiment of free-market capitalism and entrepreneurship. Our work is about correcting the unequal access to wealth-building opportunities. For more information, please visit

About the Fifth Third Foundation

Established in 1948, the Fifth Third Foundation was the first charitable foundation created by a financial institution. The Foundation supports worthy causes in the areas of health and human services, education, community development and the arts in the states where Fifth Third Bank operates.

About Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third is a bank that’s as long on innovation as it is on history. Since 1858, we’ve been helping individuals, families, businesses and communities grow through smart financial services that improve lives. Our list of firsts is extensive, and it’s one that continues to expand as we explore the intersection of tech-driven innovation, dedicated people and focused community impact. Fifth Third is one of the few U.S.-based banks to have been named among Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies® for several years. With a commitment to taking care of our customers, employees, communities and shareholders, our goal is not only to be the nation’s highest performing regional bank, but to be the bank people most value and trust.

Fifth Third Bank, National Association, is a federally chartered institution. Fifth Third Bancorp is the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank and its common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® Global Select Market under the symbol "FITB." Investor information and press releases can be viewed at Deposit and credit products provided by Fifth Third Bank, National Association. Member FDIC.


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