No, Liz Jenkins Santana didn't have to name her newborn Hillary to land a contract for the Democratic National Convention.

But family did matter for Santana, president and cofounder of LeapStarr Productions Inc., now building PoliticalFest, a group of exhibits and performances at seven venues in the city.

Because Liz Santana's father is African American and Native American, because her husband is Hispanic, and because she's a she, Santana and LeapStarr helped fill diversity goals set by the organizers of the Democratic National Convention, which begins Monday.

"We want to make sure local businesses and diverse businesses can take part in the spending," the convention's chief executive, Leah Daughtry, said last year at a business gathering.

Convention organizers - from the party and the city - said they would send 35 percent of the business to minority contractors - female, African American, Hispanic, LGBT, veterans, and disabled.

So how did it go?

On the connections side, great. On the actual dollars side, it's hard to tell.

Leaders of minority business associations give convention organizers high marks for advertising the possibilities, holding webinars, and recruiting Google to teach local small businesses how to enhance their web presence.

If business is all about connections, minority contractors say they are already gaining more than the dollar value of the convention business because they are meeting a new group of highly networked clients, making contacts with potential partners for future work.

Santana, for example, said LeapStarr has been asked to bid on three new projects, gaining invites from companies she had no connections with before the PoliticalFest job.

Impact Dimensions L.L.C., a Hispanic-owned company whose president is Luis Liceaga, is in charge of supplying T-shirts, and said it has found new suppliers and new customers. Its pop-up store is in the Comcast Center.

Angelo Perryman of Perryman Construction, a minority general contractor helping build out the Wells Fargo arena, said the convention exposes him to new minority subcontractors.

The contract situation, however, is murky. No one is providing numbers.

"All I get is anecdotal information, but I don't know what that aggregates to," said Bruce Crawley, the former head of the African-American Chamber of Commerce and an appointee to a city Commerce Department committee on minority opportunities.

"I think measurement is important," said Lee Huang, a principal in Econsult Solutions Inc., a Philadelphia economic-analysis company. "It demonstrates that this matters."

Minority set-asides draw criticism from those who argue that the best bidder, by price or quality, should get the job, regardless of race or gender. Huang makes the counter-argument. "Events like the DNC are big drivers of our economy," he said. "The way we are going to be a vibrant city for all Philadelphians is if the contract opportunities represented by big, high-profile events are available to them.

"In the absence of measurement, it's just talk."

The Democratic National Convention Committee and Philadelphia Host Committee - two parallel entities paying the bills - say they will file financial reports later.

To compare, in 2012, the DNCC, the Charlotte (N.C.) Host Committee, and a donor group spent a total of $70.8 million on the convention, according to an analysis by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

The party spends most of its money on political consulting, staff, and travel. The host committee's biggest items were the arena, tents, bleachers, and other equipment.

This year's convention will likely cost less due to a change in federal funding.

None of the contractors here would say how much they are earning - in fact, it's a specific condition, written into some of the contracts, that they stay mum on the topic.

In Philadelphia, both the DNCC and the host committee have pledged to employ minority contractors for 35 percent of the work.

"We ended up letting 12 major contracts - 11 out of those 12 are diverse contracts," said Tiffany Newmuis, who heads supplier diversity for the Philadelphia Host Committee.

The host committee could nearly meet its goal with just one contract. That's because one of the largest spends for any political convention is the general contractor that sets up the convention arena - from the stage to the tent city in the parking lot.

For the Democrats, that contractor is Hargrove Inc., which staged the pope's visit in Philadelphia in September and their party's 2012 convention.

The Charlotte Host Committee spent 25 percent of its $32.3 million convention budget with Hargrove, according to PIRG's analysis.

Based in Maryland, Hargrove is a "women's business enterprise," listed by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council.

Hargrove's president, Carla Hargrove McGill, is the daughter of the founder, Earl Hargrove Jr., now deceased. Her husband, Timothy McGill, is chief executive.

"I could call it quits after Hargrove," Newmuis said. "But then, I'd miss all the other buckets for diversity. I can't focus on one number and goal."

More important is "opening the door for every one to come," she said. "Where there's an equitable opportunity, we get a larger pool of vendors, more competitive pricing and the most diverse convention we have seen to date."

Each bid, Newmuis said, had to include a discussion of how diversity was being met - through partners, and through key employees working on the project. Part of the goal was to require people to connect with one another.

For example, she said, "it's been a pleasure and opportunity to work with LeapStarr.

"They've done so much business across the country, but never in Philadelphia. If we hadn't opened up the process the way we did, we would have never known they were here," she said. "It is almost like we are introducing new vendors to ourselves."

Santana and her husband cofounded LeapStarr in 2011.

"We decided from the beginning it was going to be owned by me, because we wanted that women-owned business [certification]," she said. "We know there are more opportunities from it. It wasn't important who was on the paperwork."

LeapStarr has $3 million in revenue, 30 employees, and most of its jobs in New York.

"It is life-changing to be part of this huge event," Santana said. "I think it's going to help us grow our presence in Philadelphia."

The Democrats' convention committee also let out bids.

One, to obtain $250 million in convention insurance, went to South River Partners, led by African American insurance executive and attorney Mareco Edwards in Maryland.

"South River Partners has a proven track record of stellar industry experience," Daughtry said, announcing the contract.

Edwards turned to minority partners based in the Washington metro area to handle 80 percent of the deal, with 20 percent going to two minority professionals in Philadelphia, who have smaller roles.

He selected certified public accountant Jovan Goldstein, of JT Goldstein L.L.C. in Center City. No one answered the phone during business hours Tuesday and all voicemail went to a general mailbox.

For claims management, Edwards turned to Sharolyn Murphy, an African American lawyer listed as practicing in the suburbs. She is affiliated with Doman & Murphy, identified on its website as a certified women's enterprise in Ottsville, Bucks County. But the only lawyer listed on the firm's website last week was Shannon Doman, a white male.

"You are talking about a national platform," said Edwards. "The platform is more important to me than the value of the contract."

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