Kristi C. Whitfield
Kristi C. Whitfield is the Director of the DC Department of Small and Local Development (DSLBD), a government agency with a mission to support District entrepreneurs and businesses and to promote economic development across the city. The DSLBD connects District businesses with local, federal, and global business opportunities; helps businesses navigate the government’s contracting and procurement landscape; and, link DC entrepreneurs who have a comprehensive plan with the capital to make their idea happen.
Because of Mrs. Whitfield’s relentless pursuit – even in these trying times - to help move people up the economic ladder one way or another, she has unapologetically directed her team at DSLBD to develop and implement programs that do not just reach the mark but set all-new, long lasting standards for the way the District Government supports and promotes the small and local business community. Under Mrs. Whitfield’s leadership, DSLBD has:
- Achieved a record, more than $1 billion in DC Government spending with Small Business Enterprises (SBEs);
- Secured a Small Business Administration (SBA) declaration for economic injury assistance allowing District businesses to be the first in-line in the region to apply for pandemic disaster loans;
- Increased access to information by making the sixth annual Green Book completely digital through an all-new interactive website (GreenBookDC.com);
- Assisted numerous businesses across all industries with federal loan application processes;
- Awarded, and disbursed in record time, over $1,900,000 in citywide Robust Retail grants and $210,000 in Dream Grants for microbusinesses in Wards 7 and 8;
- Collaborated with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to promote and score over $30,000,000 in small business recovery microgrants;
- Helping the District’s Main Streets reconfigure their operations, repurpose their budgets to meet the changing demands of impacted businesses, and award over $750,000 in sub-grants to over 300 local businesses;
- Transitioned to virtual spot checks to ensure ongoing standards of compliance and enforcement and carried out 130 virtual site visits with over 700 virtual spot checks of CBEs to ensure they were all District-based;
- Distributing over 4,500 PPE Care Packages to small and local businesses through District Main Streets and BIDs to assist them in their reopening efforts;
- Organized and participated in a host of tele-town halls and webinars geared towards helping businesses find new and innovative ways to pivot, survive, and thrive;
- Contacted over 1,900 certified business enterprises to check-in and address their needs;
- Hosted “Art All Night: 2020 Virtual Edition,” a two-week, online festival showcased over 100 artists, restaurants, and businesses across all 8 wards and garnered over 275,000 engagements and over 23,000 live showcase night viewers on social media;
- Led a successful effort to reform the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) law and close loopholes to ensure the program helps genuine, local businesses, and drafted even stronger legislation that is currently being reviewed by the Council; and,
- Increased the amount of money going into the pockets of CBEs to the tune of nearly a quarter billion dollars through waiver denials.
When Mayor Bowser appointed Mrs. Whitfield, she knew that she was appointing a relentless advocate for the District small and local business community who would take on the challenge of identifying and implementing new ways to propel all District residents and businesses towards their fair shot to opportunities. As Mrs. Whitfield regularly states, “Socioeconomic status should never determine one’s access to opportunity.”
Born to activist parents, Mrs. Whitfield has never been afraid to have a voice and to use her unique voice to advocate on behalf of people often overlooked. As a product of a planned community, Mrs. Whitfield has experienced first-hand how, through structure and organization, equity and opportunity can be afforded to all. As Mrs. Whitfield regularly states, “Socio-economic status should never determine one’s access to opportunity.”
As a part of a hard-working family and entrepreneurial father, education has always been a pillar of Mrs. Whitfield’s family culture. Upon this strong home foundation, Mrs. Whitfield motivated herself to the heights of academia. Mrs. Whitfield attended Swarthmore College where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a concentration in Black Studies, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) where she received a Master of City Planning degree with a focus in Housing and Community Development. As a result of Mrs. Whitfield’s relentless drive, she has placed no limitations to what she can do or will explore. Before being appointed by Mayor Bowser to lead DSLBD, Mrs. Whitfield garnered experience in various sectors from being Director of the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development to a DC proud business owner of the nationally recognized “Curbside Cupcakes.” Or as Mrs. Whitfield would say it, “I went from consultant, to a baker, to a government director.”
When Mrs. Whitfield is not in the office, she enjoys spending all her time with her husband, Sam, and their two boys.