Anchor Institutions

Hospitals lead ‘Healthy Neighborhoods’ initiative

Jessica Dyer
Albuquerque Journal

Several large anchor institutions in Albuquerque, New Mexico have adopted the local procurement practices pioneered in Cleveland, Ohio by The Democracy Collaborative and the Evergreen Cooperatives, helping galvanize the hospitals' resources and purchasing power to redirect wealth and health toward the community:

New initiative provides tools for health systems to re-invest in impoverished communities

Steven Ross Johnson
Modern Healthcare

The Democracy Collaborative's initiative to align hospitals in an effort to improve community health by increasing local hiring practices is taking root in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as the city engages with a team of large healthcare institutions committed to promoting and utilizing the strategies in the toolkits released as part of the initiative:

Healthy Neighborhoods Albuquerque aims to create Main Street jobs

Michael Haederle
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Newsbeat

This article details how The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, with the help of The Democracy Collaborative, is leading anchor institutions commit to buy local and hire local to improve community health in their surrounding neighborhoods in Albuquerque:

Strong City Baltimore

Founded in 1969 as the Greater Homewood Corporation, Strong City Baltimore adopted its new name in 2015 to reflect the organization’s evolution to a nonprofit focused on ensuring a stronger, more prosperous Baltimore for all city residents.  With a mission to build and strengthen neighborhoods, Strong City runs a range of programs aimed to ensure safe streets, desirable and diverse housing stock, quality public schools, a robust and educated workforce, and strong civic engagement.  In January 2016, the nonprofit launched a Community Wealth Building program, which is working at the city level to promote community wealth building strategies and models, and at the neighborhood level to catalyze concrete projects designed to build and grow neighborhood-based wealth.


HopkinsLocal is an initiative launched by Johns Hopkins University and Health System to leverage its role as the largest anchor institution in Baltimore and create economic opportunities in the city.  The initiative has three core goals:  1) to expand the participation of local and minority-owned businesses in construction projects; 2) to hire more city residents, particularly those from neighborhoods most in need of job opportunities; and 3) to increase procurement from local firms.  HopkinsLocal inspired 25 area businesses to initiate a similar effort, BLocal, which also aims to boost locally-based hiring, procurement, and construction contracting.  As of 2016, BLocal participants had pledged to direct at least $69 million into local and minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses over a three-year period.

Bon Secours

Established in 1919, Bon Secours is a 125-bed health facility in Southwest Baltimore with 860 employees.  Since the 1990s, Bon Secours has taken an active role in neighborhood revitalization efforts, developing 529 units of senior housing and nearly 200 units of family housing as of 2015.  Committed to the community, the hospital also supports a separate nonprofit, Bon Secours Community Works (BSCW), which provides a range of community and economic development programs, including workforce development, adult education, childcare, money management, re-entry services, and counseling.  Focused on asset building, BSCW runs Our Money Place, which provides free or low-cost financial planning, tax preparation, credit and debt counseling, budget preparation and management, public benefits screening, and eviction prevention services.  The nonprofit also includes a social enterprise, Clean and Green Landscaping, which provides training and job opportunities to area residents as they work to beautify and maintain vacant lots within the community.

Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP)

Launched in 2011 as part of the national Living Cities Integration Initiative, Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) is a collaborative partnership between 11 educational and healthcare institutions (anchor institutions), funders, nonprofits and public organizations focused on ensuring economic inclusion is the “culture of norm” in Baltimore through local hiring, purchasing, and community reinvestment.  Its work is credited with helping 15 development projects secure debt financing, leveraging $150 million in investment and creating 800 jobs.  Currently, BIP is focused on three core goals:  1) to connect local, small and minority-owned businesses to anchor procurement opportunities; 2) to encourage and leverage the real estate investments of anchors for the benefit of the broader community; and 3) to connect low-income people to jobs within anchors and anchor-supporting businesses.

Parkland Health & Hospital System

Established in 1894, Parkland Health & Hospital System is now one of the largest public hospital systems in the country, with more than 10,000 employees and over 1 million patients per year.  Committed to sustainability, the hospital has an in-house laundry that relies on a water reclamation system, saving 1 million gallons of water each month. It also runs numerous programs to promote reuse and recycling.  In 2015, Parkland partnered with the City and UT Southwestern to publish a recycling framework that helps other medical institutions adopt more eco-friendly practices.  Also committed to supplier diversity, Parkland strives to engage woman and minority-owned businesses at all levels of its supply chain.

Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD)

Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) is one of the largest community college systems in Texas, employing more than 7,000 people, and serving more than 3 million people since its establishment in 1965.  DCCCD estimates that more than half of its nearly $150 million a year budget for supplies and services is spent in Dallas County.  With a mission to ensure Dallas County is vibrant, growing, and economically stable for future generations, DCCCD also offers numerous free training programs, including skills building for small business owners, one-on-one financial counseling and money management classes for current students, and workforce development for people 16 or over who lack the basic skills needed for college or career success.

Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative: An Anchor-Based Strategy for Change

Walter Wright, Kathryn W. Hexter and Nick Downer

Cities are increasingly turning to their “anchor” institutions as drivers of economic development, harnessing the power of these major economic players to benefit the neighborhoods where they are rooted. This is especially true for cities that are struggling with widespread poverty and disinvestment. Urban anchors— typically hospitals and universities—have sometimes isolated themselves from the poor and struggling neighborhoods that surround them. But this is changing. Since the late 1990s, as population, jobs, and investment have migrated outward, these “rooted in place” institutions are becoming a key to the long, hard work of revitalization. In Cleveland, the Greater University Circle Initiative is a unique, multi-stakeholder initiative with a ten-year track record. What is the “secret sauce” that keeps this effort together?

The Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS)

The Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) is a research and policy center dedicated to improving economic performance and living standards in the state of Wisconsin and nationally.  Based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, COWS promotes “high-road” strategies that support living wages, environmental sustainability, innovative local polices, and community wealth building. Read more about The Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS)...

The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

Established in 1962, The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives aims to increase understanding and encourage critical thinking about cooperatives by fostering scholarship and mutual learning among academics, the cooperative community, policy makers, and the public.  One key project is its Annual Cooperative Business Survey, which collects basic financial data from cooperatives to provide a baseline for understanding financial management across cooperatives sectors. Read more about The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives...

Community Shares of Wisconsin (CSW)

Founded in 1971, Madison-based Community Shares of Wisconsin (CSW) is considered the nation’s first social action fund.  Today, CSW includes nearly 70 nonprofit member groups committed to grassroots action and social change.  In 2014, CSW raised nearly $1.4 million for its member nonprofits.  In 2012, CSW launched its Center for Change, which aims to serve as a gathering place for people and groups focused on creating sustainable community-based change.  Designed to be a hub of innovation, creativity, education, and leadership development, members have access to training sessions, networki Read more about Community Shares of Wisconsin (CSW)...

Field Guide: The Future of Health is Local

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies

This field guide, produced by The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, connects the dots between the social determinants of health and the framework of strategies that both BALLE and MIT's Presencing Institute have identified as the path forward in building thriving local economies:

How Hospitals Can Help Heal Communities

Ted Howard and Tyler Norris
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

In this article for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's blog, Democracy Collaborative President Ted Howard and Kaiser Permanente Vice President for Total Health Partnerships Tyler Norris discuss the immense potential of hospitals to build wealth in their surrounding communities. In the article, Howard and Norris delve into issues addressed in their co-authored report, Can Hospitals Heal America's Communities?. The Build Health Places Network also featured the article on their blog.

Miami Valley Hospital

Formed in 1890 as a 37-bed hospital housed in a converted private home, Miami Valley Hospital (MVH) is now an 848-bed facility.  Committed to community investment, the hospital is a partner in the Genesis Project—a public-private partnership launched in 2000 to help revitalize one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods—and is specifically credited with placing a community social worker and two community-based police officers in the neighborhood, helping to reduce crime by nearly 20 percent.  As part of the larger health system Premier Health Partners, which serves a seven-county area in Southwest Ohio, the hospital is committed to following a new strategic plan focused on building an inclusive workplace, a concept that will involve workforce and diversity goals.

The Dayton Foundation

Founded in 1921, The Dayton Foundation is a community foundation with $462 million in assets.  In fiscal year 2014 it awarded $45 million in grants aimed to strengthen the greater Dayton region.  The foundation played a lead role in establishing Dayton’s Minority Business Partnership, which works to grow scalable minority businesses, expand the minority entrepreneurial community, and create supply chain opportunities for local businesses.  It also is a major supporter of Miami Valley Works, an organization that aims to eliminate poverty by providing holistic employment services including job readiness training, ongoing employment coaching, support services, and long-term follow-up.

UVM Medical Center

Based in Burlington, UVM Medical Center serves over 1 million people across Vermont and northern New York.  The Center aims to be the greenest healthcare organization in the country and has a particularly strong focus on promoting a local, sustainable food system.  As such, the food it serves comes from 70 regional farmers and producers as well as from its own gardens and beekeeping initiative.  UVM Medical Center also includes a Center for Nutrition and Healthy Food Systems, established to educate other health care institutions about building a sustainable food system.