Gary Cunningham to leave Meda, accepts job in D.C.

Gary Cunningham
Photo courtesy of Meda Gary Cunningham

Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) announced today that Gary Cunningham, president and CEO, will step down at the end of June. He has accepted a position as president of Prosperity Now, a
Washington D.C. -based organization centered on developing innovative solutions to ensure financial security for all.

“It’s been a privilege to come to work each day at Meda,” said Cunningham, in a released statement. “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.”

Under Cunningham’s five years of leadership, Meda 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). 

Milestones included the launch 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 was also 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, Meda’s board chair. “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. A national search for his replacement begins immediately.

Cunningham will speak at Meda’s Annual Meeting on Monday, June 3. You can RSVP here. Meda is also accepting applications for the Second Meda Million Dollar Challenge here.

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