BEST Buyers Initiative

Local Food Connection at UMB

Local Food Connection at UMB

BEST Buyers Competition: Summer 2017

The Office of Community Engagement is excited to announce the Building Economic Sustainability Through Buyers (BEST Buyers) initiative.

The BEST Buyers initiative is a competition among all University departments to maximize the positive impact of their spending on the local community. Two departments will each win $500 prizes at the end of the competition, but the real winners will be the neighborhoods that benefit from your thoughtful spending. Here’s how it works:

Every department on campus should use the Local Food Connection website to find local vendors that can cater for meetings and events. Buyers also can use the Foodify website to look for vendors with the “UMB Buy Local” identification.  Whenever possible, pay for food directly using the University pro-card. This is the fastest way to pay a small business, and pro-card data from the Office of Strategic Sourcing and Acquisition will be used to determine the competition’s winners.

The office that spends the highest percentage of its pro-card purchases on food at West Baltimore merchants between May 1 and June 30 will win $500 to spend on catering in FY 18. For example: If the Department of Community/Public Health (CPH) Nursing spends $5,000 on catering between May 1, 2017, and June 30, 2017, and $4,750 is spent at local caterers, its local spend is 95 percent. If the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Science Research spends $10,000 on catering during the same period but only $2,000 at local caterers, its local spend is 20 percent. Despite having a smaller budget, CPH Nursing spent a greater percentage of catering locally and would win $500 to spend on local catering in FY18 if no other office had a higher local spend.

Another $500 catering prize will be awarded to the office that increases the percentage of the local catering it purchases by the greatest amount compared to the same period last year (May 1, 2016-June 30, 2016). For example, if University Counsel spent 20 percent of catering purchases at local caterers between May 1, 2016, and June 30, 2016, but spends 80 percent of catering dollars at local firms between May 1, 2017, and June 30, 2017, it will have a 60 percent increase in local purchasing. If 60 percent is the highest increase among all offices, University Counsel will win $500 toward local catering purchases in FY18. 

Winners of the BEST Buyers competition will be announced in early August. Questions about the competition or about how to spend University funds in ways that support West Baltimore communities? Contact Bill Joyner in the Office of Community Engagement.

Questions about use of the pro-card should be directed to Kathy Bordenski in the Office of Strategic Sourcing and Acquisition.

Make sure to check out local catering options and the Local Food Connection at