Anchor Institutions

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) ...

The University of Cincinnati

As the largest employer in the region with 16,000 employees, expenditures of more than $1.1 billion a year, and an endowment of over $1 billion, the University of Cincinnati is the largest anchor organization in the city.  Since the early 2000s, it has allocated more than 10 percent of its endowment to local investments intended to stabilize and revitalize the city's Uptown District.  The University has experienced a nearly three-to-one leveraging on its endowment money through tax-debt, loans from banks and other sources. Read more about The University of Cincinnati...

UC Health

Comprising four hospitals and several outpatient facilities, UC Health (which was known as the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati until 2010) is a health system that employs about 10,000 workers and spends over $250 million a year on goods and services.  Since initiating its supplier diversity program in 2005, UC Health has awarded more than $150 million in contracts to minority and women-owned businesses.  To facilitate local business owners’ participation in procurement, it also holds weekly meetings to introduce diverse suppliers to its bidding processes. Read more about UC Health...

Uptown Consortium

Founded in 2003 by the leaders of key Cincinnati anchor institutions including Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, UC Health, TriHealth, Inc. and the University of Cincinnati, the Uptown Consortium is a nonprofit CDC focused on catalyzing human, social, economic and physical improvements in Uptown Cincinnati.  Its current focus areas include public safety, transportation, housing, and community and economic development.  To date, the Consortium’s work has resulted in over $400 million in investment in its focus neighborhoods Read more about Uptown Consortium...


In 2006 Greater Cincinnati leaders representing the education, nonprofit, community, civic, and philanthropic sectors formed the Strive Partnership to ensure that all children have a quality education “from cradle to career.”  The partnership has five specific goals—1) every child is prepared for school; 2) every child is supported inside and outside of school; 3) every child succeeds academically; 4) every child enrolls in some form of postsecondary education; and 5) every child graduates and enters a career—which it achieves by engaging executive and grassroots partners in Strive’s visio Read more about Strive...

Mercy Health

Comprising six hospitals and more than 80 network locations throughout Cincinnati, Mercy Health is a health provider that employs about 9,000 people and procures more than $300 million in goods and services a year. From spending just 3 percent with diverse suppliers prior to 2010, Mercy Health nearly doubled its 2011 spending target, procuring $23.4 from women and minority-owned businesses. Demonstrating its commitment to the community, it also runs two social service agencies that provide food, clothing, shelter, counseling, and health assistance to poor and uninsured families. Read more about Mercy Health...

Creating Jobs by Building Community Wealth

Steve Dubb

Democracy Collaborative Research Director Steve Dubb recently participated on a panel at the Aspen Institute to discuss “Big Ideas for Job Creation.” Moderated by Maureen Conway, Executive Director of the Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute, Steve and fellow panelist Carla Javits of REDF outlined strategies to redirect anchor institution procurement (as discussed in the Anchor Dashboardand policies that support social enterprise, build community wealth, and strengthen local economies.

A Just Economy: Ideas, Action, Impact

David Zuckerman
National Community Reinvestment Coalition

David also participated in a panel along with Democracy Collaborative Research Director, Steve Dubb, at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s annual conference to discuss strategies for partnering with healthcare institutions to build community wealth. 

Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Investing Outside Institutional Walls

David Zuckerman
Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence

Democracy Collaborative Research Associate David Zuckerman participated in an American Hospital Association-sponsored webinar through its Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence platform.The presentation featured practitioners from Bon Secours Health System, University Hospitals in Cleveland, and Catholic Health East/Trinity Health discussing opportunities for hospitals to promote health through economic development and community investment. 

Leveraging the Power of Local Institutions

Research Director Steve Dubb’s Leveraging the Power of Local Institutions presentation at the American Independent Business Alliance’s 2014 Go Local, Grow Local conference is available.

How Communities Can Make the Most of Their Anchor Institutions

Ted Howard

In his guest column for Governing, Ted Howard makes the case for anchor engagement in low-income communities, targeted at measurable outcomes and results. Read the article

Roosevelt Institute Campus Network: Rethinking Communities

Tim Price
Roosevelt Institute

On January 13, 2014, the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network announced an intiative where student leaders on 21 campuses across the country will useThe Anchor Dashboard to evaluate and rank their educational institution's commitment to positive community impact. Learn more

Can Anchor Institutions Do More for their Neighborhoods?

Nathan Sterner
Maryland Morning

Ted Howard talks to WYPR about The Anchor Dashboard and how hospitals and universities can help lift up low-income communities. Listen now.