Anchor Institutions

Kaiser Permanente

Headquartered in Oakland, Kaiser Permanente, a nonprofit health insurance company that also operates 38 hospitals, is one of the first health systems in the country that recognized the benefits of adopting more sustainable practices.  Kaiser ranks first in solar use among all U.S. Read more about Kaiser Permanente...

Common Counsel Foundation

Founded in 1988, Common Counsel Foundation partners with families and individual donors to expand philanthropic resources for progressive social movements. The foundation’s donor and member funds focus on supporting organizations committed to grassroots community organizing for racial, economic, and environmental justice, policy reform, and social change.  In 2013, the Foundation and its member funds made 311 grants totaling nearly $3 million. Read more about Common Counsel Foundation...

East Bay Community Foundation

Established in 1928, the East Bay Community Foundation was the first community foundation in northern California.  As of FY 2013-14, the foundation had more than $395 million of assets under management.  Through its Economic Development grant program, the foundation aims to advance economic opportunity for adults and families in need, particularly those with significant barriers to employment and financial stability.  In April 2014, the foundation released its second report on unemployment, which outlined solutions for persistent unemployment among East Bay residents and highlighted the va Read more about East Bay Community Foundation...

Building Healthy Communities, East Oakland

The California Endowment (TCE) launched Building Healthy Communities, a 10-year effort to support the development of communities where kids and youth are healthy, safe and ready to learn. East Oakland Building Healthy Communities brings together residents, community- and faith-based organizations, and public agencies to collaborate to implement a 10-year plan for an East Oakland that can sustain safe, beautiful spaces for community residents. Read more about Building Healthy Communities, East Oakland...

Press Release: Six Universities Partner with The Democracy Collaborative to Develop and Share Best Practices for Measuring Community Impact

Learning cohort will build off the recommendations in The Democracy Collaborative’s report "The Anchor Dashboard"


Takoma Park, MD — November 19th, 2014

The Democracy Collaborative, with the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has convened a group of anchor institution leaders from six universities to explore how to better align their operations to benefit the places they call home. Read more about Press Release: Six Universities Partner with The Democracy Collaborative to Develop and Share Best Practices for Measuring Community Impact...

Economic Analysis Of Detroit’s Food System

Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Urbane Development, LLC

The food economy in Detroit is already the city’s third largest economic sector, and is poised to be the next largest growth sector for the city, note Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Urbane Development in a report written on behalf of The Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative. In their report, the authors outline several strategies to foster equitable growth, including connecting local, small-scale food producers and manufactures to anchor institution demand. Only by engaging Detroiters and supporting the local, small, and medium sized actors in the system, the report argues, will food sector growth be effective in creating jobs and building community wealth for Detroit residents. 

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 additional financing and provide technical assistance to local nonprofits.  To date, this program has made more than 90 loans totaling $21.6 million, creating 4,507 units of affordable housing and more than 300,000 square feet of community facility space.

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.”