Anchor Institutions

Greater Milwaukee Foundation

Established in 1915 so that citizens could maximize their ability to address pressing local needs and plan for the future, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation now holds $712 in assets. In 2013, it made 3,807 grants totaling $39 million focused on initiatives in its four priority areas: strengthening education, strengthening neighborhoods, increasing economic opportunities, and promoting racial equity and inclusion. Read more about Greater Milwaukee Foundation...

A New Anchor Mission for a New Century: Community foundations deploying all resources to build community wealth

Marjorie Kelly and Violeta Duncan

As the community foundation field reaches the century mark and faces growing pressure on its business model, many communities at the same time are struggling with economic distress. To meet these converging challenges, an innovative group of community foundations are beginning to deepen and shift how they work—adopting an anchor mission that seeks to fully deploy all resources to build community wealth. They are calling on all assets at their disposal—financial, human, intellectual, and political—in service of their communities’ economic well-being. Moving into territory relatively uncharted for community foundations, they are taking up impact investing and economic development—some in advanced ways, others with small steps. This report offers an overview of how 30 representative community foundations, large and small, urban and rural, are working toward adopting this new anchor mission.

Eds, Meds, and the Feds How the Federal Government Can Foster the Role of Anchor Institutions in Community Revitalization

Tracey Ross
Recognizing that anchor institutions are the largest employers in 66 of the nation’s 100 largest cities, mayors across the nation are working with universities and nonprofit hospitals to foster economic growth in disinvested communities. In this new report from the Center for American Progress, author Tracey Ross explores how federal officials can further enhance the role of such anchor institutions in promoting community economic development. She recommends the use of a framework based on The Democracy Collaborative’s Anchor Dashboard to hold anchor institutions accountable and to help illustrate to Congress and other stakeholders the extent of their impact in communities.

Fostering the Power of Universities and Hospitals for Community Change

New federal policy strategies can help cities leverage the economic might of their anchor institutions to benefit communities

Crossposted from blog - a project of the Half in Ten Education Fund, a project of the Center for American Progress.

Communities across the country are recognizing the tremendous resources nonprofit anchor institutions—such as hospitals and universities—can provide as engines of inclusive and equitable economic development. Increasingly, cities—often led by Mayors—are launching comprehensive strategies to leverage these institutions to address challenging problems of unemployment, poverty, and disinvestment. In 2014, several cities, including Chicago, Baltimore and New Orleans, have launched community building and job creation strategies that revolve around anchor institutions; and in Cleveland, a decade old collaboration of philanthropy, anchor institutions, and the municipal government continues to rebuild economies in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.

California Community Foundation

The California Community Foundation (CCF) aims to create greater equity, opportunity, and prosperity in Los Angeles County.  Established in 1915, CCF currently stewards nearly $1.4 billion in total assets and manages more than 1,700 charitable foundations, funds, and legacies.  From 2003 to 2013, CCF made almost 62,000 grants totaling $1.6 billion, representing, on average, 10-20 percent of its assets annually.  CCF also has a PRI program, through which it provides low-interest loans to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and intermediary lenders that can leverage addition Read more about California Community Foundation...

Committing to Their Roots: Interview with Ted Howard

Mary Helen Petrus
Forefront: New Ideas on Economic Policy from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Forefront interviews Ted Howard, who describes how large, so-called anchor institutions can make a difference in the high-unemployment, high-poverty neighborhoods in which they operate. But he also says they should be ready for unintended consequences as they do.

Steans Family Foundation

The Steans Family Foundation aims to collaborate with residents and institutions to help revitalize the North Lawndale community.  In 2010, it made more than $2 million in grants, which focused on early childhood development, school-based education, parent/caregiver advocacy and leadership, and capacity-building for both Lawndale residents and organizations. Read more about Steans Family Foundation...

Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE)

Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) is a group of Chicago-based anchor institutions that are committed to using their purchasing power to help boost the local economy.  Participating anchors identify their procurement needs, and CASE helps identify and connect local firms to these opportunities.  To date, CASE has helped 236 businesses to secure new contracts with anchor institutions, resulting in 180 new jobs and $50.6 million in revenue through multi-year anchor contracts.

Models for mobilizing multiple anchor institutions

Three cities, three strategies for community wealth building

Communities across the country are recognizing the tremendous resources nonprofit anchor institutions (like hospitals and universities) can provide as engines of inclusive and equitable economic development. Read more about Models for mobilizing multiple anchor institutions...

Effective Governance of a University as an Anchor Institution

Ira Harkavy, Matthew Hartley, Rita A. Hodges, Anthony Sorrentino and Joann Weeks
Raabe Academic Publishers

This case study, authored by Ira Harkavy and his colleagues at Penn, describes how the role of the University of Pennsylvania as an anchor institution has evolved from 1981 to present. The paper describes community engagement efforts like the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, which works to leverage research, teaching, and learning to support West Philadelphia; and the University City District, an economic partnership between small businesses, anchor institutions. While Penn’s cultural reshaping remains, in the words of its authors, a “work in progress,” the authors are optimistic that “Penn will further evolve as an anchor institution and increasingly realize [Ben] Franklin’s democratic civic vision.”

Underwriting Good Jobs

Robert Hiltonsmith and Lew Daly

The third report in a Dēmos research series examining how the federal contracting system has contributed to income inequality illustrates the potential for federal purchasing to instead promote upward mobility. The authors show that by setting higher workforce standards, which require federal contractors to provide living wages, paid sick leave, and the right to collective bargaining, the United States can grow its middle class, increase community wealth, and generate employment. Indeed, the authors estimate that such measures could foster the creation of an additional 260,000 jobs.

Greening Healthcare: How Hospitals Can Heal the Planet

Kathy Gerwig
Oxford University Press

Authored by Kaiser Permanente’s Environmental Stewardship Officer Kathy Gerwig, this new book provides a roadmap for healthcare institutions aiming to help build healthy and sustainable communities. Gerwig’s case studies of current hospital best practices identify environmentally preferable purchasing policies, investments in local food systems, and other green strategies that provide powerful examples of how healthcare institutions can meet existing community benefit requirements and reduce health disparities, thereby improving health outcomes while building wealth in low- to moderate- income communities. 

Community Wealth Building Conference

September 27th, 2014
Aurora, Colorado

Breakout session topics fall under the following themes:   Read more about Community Wealth Building Conference...

Place Matters: Partnerships between Higher Education and the Local Communities

September 12th, 2014
Reading, PA

Rresearch Director Steve Dubb, co-author of A Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads, will provide the keynote address.

This one-day conference is being sponsored by Albright, PA Campus Compact, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Read more about Place Matters: Partnerships between Higher Education and the Local Communities...

The Rise of the Anchor Institution: Setting Standards for Success

Aaron Bartley
The Huffington Post

Push Buffalo's Aaron Bartley examines metrics and strategies to leverage anchor institution resources for community economic development, including the Democracy Collaborative's Anchor Dashboard. 

Xavier University’s Community Building Institute (CBI)

Established in 1995 as a partnership between the United Way of Greater Cincinnati and Xavier University, The Community Building Institute helps communities to plan their own redevelopment by organizing residents and identifying the physical assets of their neighborhoods. Current projects include facilitating the development and management of community investment plans for the United Way’s new Place Matters Initiative, and working with Price Hill and the City of Cincinnati's Planning & Buildings Department to create a community-driven comprehensive plan for Price Hill's future. Read more about Xavier University’s Community Building Institute (CBI) ...