Initiative for a Competitive Inner City Elects New Board Chair and Officers

Dr. Michael E. Porter, ICIC Founder and visionary, will continue his leadership as Chairman Emeritus; Ronald A. Homer, currently treasurer and vice chairman, is elected Chairman
Jun 30, 2021 5:00 PM ET

ROXBURY, Mass., June 30, 2021 /3BL Media/ - The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) announced the election of Ronald A. Homer, current vice chair and treasurer, to the role of chairman at a special meeting of its board of directors held earlier today. Dr. Michael E. Porter, the renowned Harvard Business School professor who has chaired the board since founding the organization in 1994, has been elected chairman emeritus. Dr. Porter will continue to provide strategic guidance to the organization which during his 27 years of leadership has played a transformational role in the revitalization of underserved neighborhoods and communities throughout the United States.

“I established ICIC following the 1992 L.A. Uprising at a time when civil unrest placed a national spotlight on the racial and economic inequality plaguing our country’s inner cities,” said Porter. “ICIC’s strategy was to mobilize private investment in building healthy small business ecosystems which would drive urban economic empowerment and lead the way in the revitalization of their communities. Twenty-seven years later, in the wake of continued economic challenges and growing concerns about racial justice, ICIC’s cutting-edge research on urban economic development and its business development programs to create inclusive prosperity are now even more relevant and important to narrowing the racial wealth gap in our under-resourced communities.”

Porter added, “This thoughtfully considered and seamless board succession is taking place at a time of rapid and extraordinarily exciting societal change. Ron Homer is a passionate advocate of ICIC’s mission who will continue to drive the organization’s advancement.”

Homer, a founding ICIC board member who is based in Boston, boasts a five-decade career in the financial services industry that has been driven by his desire to expand economic opportunities and social conditions in traditionally underserved communities.

“Professor Porter’s voice has been powerful in highlighting that investment into the long-term sustainability of small businesses is critical to community economic development and empowerment,” said Homer. “He has built a strong organization based on this vision. I look forward to further advancing this work and to confronting the challenges and opportunities facing our inner cities and under-resourced communities.  I firmly believe that the success of this vision will be an important factor in building a more resilient society in these critical times.”

Homer currently serves as Chief Strategist, Impact Investing and President of the Access Capital Community Investment Fund at RBC Global Asset Management (U.S.) Inc., the Royal Bank of Canada’s asset management division, leading the firm’s impact investing effort. He previously co-founded and was CEO of Access Capital Strategies LLC, an investment adviser specializing in community investments that was acquired by RBC GAM-US in 2008. Homer also has extensive banking experience that includes in 1983 helping to establish Boston Bank of Commerce, where he served for 13 years as president and CEO. Boston Bank of Commerce, which changed its name to OneUnited Bank in 2002, is the largest Black-owned bank in the United States.

With the election of Homer as chairman, Barry B. White, former U.S. Ambassador to Norway and former chairman and managing partner of Foley Hoag LLP, has been elected board vice chair and treasurer. Brenda McKenzie, an urban development strategist with more than 20 years of experience growing urban economies including serving as president and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation and Director of Economic Development for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, will continue to serve as board secretary.

“ICIC’s management team and staff join me in expressing profound gratitude to Mike for his pioneering vision and leadership that have helped fuel our transformational growth,” said ICIC CEO Steve Grossman. “During the past several years, we’ve experienced dramatic expansion of our nationwide programming focused on helping small business owners in under-resourced communities access superb executive education, coaching and critical capital.  We’ll continue to benefit from Mike’s strategic insights as we seize exciting new opportunities centered around driving inclusive economic prosperity, closing the racial wealth gap, and ending concentrated poverty.”

About ICIC

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) was founded by renowned Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter in 1994 as a research and strategy organization that today is widely recognized as the preeminent authority on urban economic growth. ICIC drives inclusive economic prosperity in under-resourced communities through innovative research and programs to create jobs, income, and wealth for local residents. To learn more about ICIC, visit


Beth Bresnahan