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NMBC Honors Ongweoweh Corporation for Encouraging Supplier Diversity

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The National Minority Business Council (NMBC), an advocacy group for minority and women-owned businesses founded in 1972, will host its “Off The Streets” job employment stimulus challenge to small business owners to create at least one new job—full-time, part-time or summer internship—each this summer.

The council will promote the challenge at a June 23 reception coinciding with the council's 39th anniversary. At the celebration, the NMBC will also honor its long-time members for their commitment to encouraging supplier diversity.

Ongweoweh Corporation, a $125 million American Indian-owned wood pallet distributing and recycling company that services major corporations nationwide including Coca-Cola, IBM and Johnson & Johnson, amongst others, already heeded the NMBC job creation challenge. The corporation continued its tradition of hiring Cornell University students to work at its Ithaca, New York headquarters, located on ancestral Cayuga lands. Ongweoweh, which means "original people" in Cayuga, was founded in 1978 by a former president of the Cayuga Nation, Frank Bonamie. The company is now run by his son Dan Bonamie, president and chief executive officer of Ongweoweh Corporation, which has grown to include offices in Rochester, New York and Houston, Texas. Ongweoweh also donates a portion of its annual profits to a scholarship fund supporting Native students at Cornell University's American Indian Program.

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“Our company and my father, Frank, who is the company founder and chairman, has very close ties to Cornell University. Every year we help underwrite scholarships permitting two Native Americans to attend the university,” noted Bonamie in a statement.

NMBC will recognize Ongweoweh Corporation, amongst major corporations, at the reception for promoting supplier diversity and for its uninterrupted 18-year membership in NMBC. “Being a NMBC member qualifies us as a legitimate, minority-owned business,” Dan Bonamie said in a statement. “It is one more thing that helps us maintain this status and many of our clients have strong commitments to supplier diversity.”

In a YouTube video message, NMBC President and CEO John F. Robinson cited the high unemployment rate in May—9.1 percent—and the correspondingly low job creation rate of just 54,000 jobs. “If all business owners create one new job this summer, we will see the economy improve slightly, unemployment will go down slightly, and it will make our position in the economy stronger,” Robinson said.

“With 100% participation by our members in our ‘Off the Streets’ employment initiative, the National Minority Business Council will be a catalyst for creating nearly 400 jobs this summer. As we enter into the start of our 40th year of operation, this is a most fitting tribute to the ideals of our organization which has always advocated for businesses often shut out from equal opportunity in the marketplace,” Robinson said.

For information about NMBC or to attend the anniversary reception, call 212-693-5050.