Duke University strives to leverage its resources as a local anchor institution to build a stronger, more vibrant Durham. For example, since 2007, the University has maintained $2.4 million in deposits with the Latino Community Credit Union (a Durham-based CDFI), funds that have been used to help thousands of the CDFI’s members to obtain low-cost financial products. In July 2018, Duke increased its total deposits to $6 million, enabling 88 Durham first-time homebuyers to secure affordable mortgages. Recognizing that supplier diversity is critical to both overcoming systemic barriers stemming from historic inequity and adding value to its university and hospital system, Duke implemented a supplier diversity program to increase its annual spend with local businesses that encounter obstacles to market entry, customer access, and financial growth. Focused on increasing procurement from small, local, women, and minority-owned firms, the program ensures diverse suppliers participate in competitive bidding, matches diverse suppliers with Duke buyers, promotes the use of diverse suppliers within the Duke community, and helps connect high performing suppliers to other businesses and organizations. Also committed to sustainability, Duke has a Green Purchasing Program that encourages buyers to select more environmentally friendly products when quality and cost performance are equal or superior.
Many anchor institutions are also major landowners in their communities, and many are already engaged in housing programs such as employer-assisted housing. Anchor institutions can and should employ CLTs to maximize the impact of their long-term investments in housing for their workforce, and utilize and support CLTs to help build more inclusive communities around their institutions more generally.
A growing number of forward-thinking healthcare anchor institutions have taken up an “Anchor Mission” to realign all institutional resources to fight long-standing inequities at their root by building community wealth.
Anchor collaboratives are stronger and can accomplish goals that once seemed out of reach by combining efforts and resources. However, forming an anchor collaboration isn’t automatic; it takes effort and time to get institutions to see their common interests and potential alignment. The article discusses some ways it can work.
This case study profiles how the Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU), based in Durham, North Carolina, partners with anchor institutions to invest locally and build community wealth. Local anchors like Duke University, the Museum of Life and Science, and the cooperatively owned Weaver Street Market have made deposits with LCCU, which in turn expands access to affordable financial products and loans.
The Regional Plan Association, which operates in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut metropolitan region, published recommendations for developing the Anchor Opportunity Network, with an aim to leverage anchor institution assets to drive equitable economic growth. The Network will work to foster relationships between anchors, municipal leaders, and local neighborhoods to better coordinate and accelerate practices such as inclusive, local purchasing.
The Cornell University Division of Financial Affairs Procurement and Payment Services aims to ensure the University’s procurement dollars support diverse and sustainable businesses. Through its Supplier Diversity program, the Division works to maximize procurement opportunities for small, local, and diverse businesses—efforts that have helped increase its total “diversity spend” from $27.2 million in FY 2012 to $36.8 million in FY 2017. The Division also supports the University’s Sustainable Campus Initiative by incorporating principles of green purchasing into many contracts and procedures, and requesting that suppliers rely on sustainable practices.
Founded in 1976, San Diego Grantmakers works to connect and activate funders to learn, lead, and invest in the San Diego region. Guided by its vision of an equitable, collaborative, and impactful social change ecosystem that improves the lives of all San Diego residents, the nonprofit connects grantmakers to knowledge and resources, facilitates cross-sector collaboration among funders, increases awareness about philanthropy’s role and impact, and seeks to attract resources to the region. Through its Social Equity Collaborative Fund, San Diego Grantmakers supports grassroots organizations led by people of color engaged in strategies that are developed and implemented by community residents and encourage authentic collaboration. In 2018, San Diego Grantmakers plans to disburse $700,000 through this initiative.
Established in 1975, the San Diego Foundation aims to improve the quality of life in the Greater San Diego region. In 2017, the Foundation held $811 million in assets and awarded 5,686 grants totaling $50.9 million. Through its Center for Civic Engagement, the nonprofit also facilitates community dialogue and collaborative action around the region’s social challenges and opportunities. The Foundation is currently working to establish a $5 million Impact Loan Fund to help nurture higher performing, more sustainable nonprofits and to seed new social enterprises.