Anchor Institutions

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.

Stepping Up to Make a Difference: The Vital Role of Anchor Institutions in Community Health Improvement

January 27th, 2016

Ensuring lasting community health and equity calls for innovation, collaboration and a multifaceted approach that addresses underlying determinants of health, including economic conditions. From hospitals and health systems to universities, ‘anchor institutions’ are organizations with deep roots and longevity as major employers in their communities. This Web Forum will feature a keynote presentation by leadership from University Hospitals Cleveland and a moderated panel discussion by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with insights about the benefits they see in this approach. Read more about Stepping Up to Make a Difference: The Vital Role of Anchor Institutions in Community Health Improvement...

A City with Opportunities for All: Toronto, Canada

A municipal strategy to reduce urban poverty addresses the roots of inequality

Like many major metropolitan areas in the United States, Toronto is experiencing fast-paced growth. Canada's finance and business capital has more cranes in the sky than New York City—with nearly 50 percent more high-rises undergoing construction than in the big apple. Read more about A City with Opportunities for All: Toronto, Canada...

Hospitals adopt anchor institution economic development strategies

Betsy Taylor
Catholic Health World

David Zuckerman, the Democracy Collaborative's Healthcare Engagement Manager, speaks with Catholic Health World about how and why hospitals and health systems are devising anchor institution strategies to strengthen local economies. 

Victoria Foundation

Founded in 1924, the Newark-based Victoria Foundation has a two-fold mission:  to improve the lives of children and families in Newark, and to protect water resources and preserve precious open space statewide.  In 2014, the foundation made $12 million in grants, with nearly half supporting neighborhood development--including CDCs, job training, and leadership development.  The foundation is also taking a lead to convene cross-sector leaders in order to develop blueprints mapping out how collective action could address the city’s urban challenges. Read more about Victoria Foundation...

New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Established to attract renowned performers and serve as a catalyst for the city’s revitalization, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center opened to the public in 1997.  Since then, the Center has attracted 9 million visitors, engaged 1.5 children in its arts education programs, and offered numerous free events aimed to attract new and diverse audiences.  In 2014, the Center launched Express Newark: A University-Community Collaboratory in partnership with Rutgers University-Newark.  The project seeks to revitalize a long-neglected city building into studios, galleries, performance spaces, and a multimedia incubator where students, residents, organizations and institutions can collaborate.

The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region

Established in 1973, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region aims to strengthen the Washington metropolitan region by encouraging and supporting effective giving and by providing leadership on critical issues in the community.  Since 2000, it has awarded grants totaling $568 million in the Washington region.  The foundation currently serves as the leading funder overseeing City First Enterprises and other partners’ implementation of the Community Wealth Building Initiative, a network of green, employee-owned businesses designed to meet area anchor institutions’ purchasing needs while creating wealth-building jobs in low-income communities.

Educate and Empower: Tools for Building Community Wealth

Keane Bhatt and Steve Dubb

How do low-income communities learn to advance economically and build wealth? Low-income communities and communities of color, in challenging structural economic and social inequality, have historically grappled with tensions inherent to development. Who participates in, directs, and ultimately owns the economic-development process? In creating and sustaining new, inclusive economic institutions, how do community members cultivate and pass on skills, commitment and knowledge—especially among those who have long faced barriers to education and employment? And how should communities strike an appropriate balance between utilizing local knowledge and accessing outside expertise? This report draws on case studies of 11 different community economic development initiatives from across the United States to highlight a diverse set of powerful answers to these critical questions.