Anchor Institutions

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.

Rochester Area Community Foundation

With assets of $310 million, the Rochester Area Community Foundation works to improve the quality of life in the greater Rochester region by evaluating and addressing community issues, promoting responsible philanthropy, and connecting donors to community needs.  Since its establishment in 1972, the Foundation has awarded more than $340 million in grants to community nonprofits.  The Foundation’s grantmaking is currently directed towards two goals:  1) creating an equitable community, which includes supporting community and economic development efforts focused on addressing poverty, and 2) strengthening the region’s vitality.  To change the culture of community problem-solving and decision making, the Foundation created ACT Rochester, a community indicators initiative which provides an objective assessment of the region's performance through over 100 indicators of community well-being.

Greater Rochester Health Foundation

Established in 2006 when the not-for-profit MVP Health Plan acquired the not-for-profit HMO Preferred Care, the Greater Rochester Health Foundation focuses on improving the health of the Greater Rochester community.  One of its focus areas is “Neighborhood Health Status Improvement,” which supports asset-based, grassroots efforts to improve Greater Rochester area neighborhoods’ physical, social, and economic environments.  In addition to financial awards that enable grantees to engage neighborhood residents, complete an asset-based community assessment and implement neighborhood projects, grantees receive support from the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University. Between 2007 and 2013, the Foundation distributed $53 million to hundreds of area organizations.

San Francisco Foundation

Established in 1948, the San Francisco Foundation works to mobilize resources and catalyze change that will build strong communities, foster civic leadership, and promote philanthropy in the San Francisco region.  With $1.2 in total assets, the Foundation’s focus areas include full service schools, financial stability, sustainable communities, cultural hubs, and affordable housing.  To leverage additional capital into underserved communities, the Foundation launched a PRI program in 2002 that provides loans and loan guarantees to organizations aligned with its program priorities.  As of 2014, the program had seven active investments, which include a $500,000 loan to the affordable housing developer Eden Housing to help to finance the installation of solar panels on eight of its affordable multi-family properties, an effort projected to save up to $1.1 million in electricity costs.

Koret Foundation

Founded in 1979, the Koret Foundation focuses, in part, on supporting Bay Area anchor institutions.  Recognizing the importance of anchor institutions—civic organizations, educational institutions, cultural establishments, and large human-service organizations— to creating a strong, dynamic Bay Area for current and future generations, it provides capital project, general operating, and program support to such organizations.  In 2013, its Anchor Institutions program disbursed more than $11 million in grants, which comprised nearly half of its total $25 million in grant awards. Read more about Koret Foundation...

Dignity Health

Founded in 1986 and headquartered in San Francisco, Dignity Health is the fifth largest health system in the nation and the largest hospital provider in California.  In 1990, it established a Community Grants program, which has provided over $51 million in support to over 3,000 projects working to improve access to jobs, housing, food, education, and health care for people in low-income and minority communities.  To create larger pools of capital for those who have been historically underserved, Dignity Health established a Community Investments program, which provides below-market interest rate loans to nonprofit organizations working to improve the health and quality of life in their communities.  Since 1992, Dignity Health has invested more than $88.1 million in 185 nonprofits that are developing child care and community clinics, affordable housing for low-income families and seniors, job training for the unemployed or underemployed, and health care services for low-income and minority neighborhoods.

Can the Real Sharing Economy Please Stand Up?

Nina Feldman
Next City

In the wake of the BP oil spill, co-op businesses are on the rise in New Orleans

Community Wealth Building in Jackson, Mississippi: Strategic Considerations

The Democracy Collaborative

This report, prepared by The Democracy Collaborative and submitted to Cooperation Jackson, highlights opportunities to build a cooperative economy in Jackson, Mississippi linked to anchor institution procurement.

Community Health Network

Based in Indianapolis, Community Health Network (Community) is a nonprofit healthcare system with 200 sites across central Indiana.  Since beginning to conduct Community Health Needs Assessments in the 1990s, Community has recognized the importance of addressing social and economic factors that impact health. One initiative is Project Search/Indiana, a high school transition program for students with disabilities that provides participants with worksite-based training.  Initiated in 2006 with an investment of $92,000, Community also supported an Individual Development Account program designed to help area residents build assets through matched savings.  To promote nutrition, Community sponsors farmers’ markets in neighborhoods and within its hospitals, helped develop the Community Heights garden where it maintains a medicinal herb garden, and provided technical assistance to the Indy Food Co-op, which opened the city’s first community-owned grocery store, Pogues Run Grocer, in a food desert at the end of 2010.

Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation

Established in 1986, the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation focuses a portion of its grantmaking on initiatives that enhance the “vitality of Indianapolis.”  Supported within this priority area are comprehensive workforce development programs that help Indianapolis residents achieve economic self-sufficiency, earn a livable wage, manage their personal finances, and build assets. Demonstrating this commitment, the foundation has supported Second Helping’s Culinary Job Training Program, which trains disadvantaged adults for careers in the food service industry. Read more about Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation...