University & Community Partnerships

University of San Diego

As part of its 2024 Strategic Plan, University of San Diego (USD) publicly committed to embrace an anchor mission by engaging communities in deep, democratic, and meaningful partnerships that reflect a shared vision and collaborative effort.  A large part of the University’s current community engagement work is led by its Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness, and Social Action and focused on the nearby community of Linda Vista, where over 80 students support community organizing efforts, serve as mentors and tutors, and provide community-based health care.  In 2011, the University launched its Changemaker Hub to help students, staff, and faculty develop skills needed to foster solutions that can create positive social impact.  From 2016-17, the program sponsored 20 events that empowered 1,255 students to develop new ways to solve pressing local and global challenges.

Temple’s Fox School of Business Small Business Development Center

Established in 1983, Temple’s Small Business Development Center helps start-ups and small businesses gain the knowledge and assistance needed to grow and succeed.  Programs include free consulting services and a range of training classes designed for entrepreneurs and small business owners.  The Center also houses an incubator through which it can provide consulting, training, intern support, and affordable space to area start-ups and small enterprises.

Bridges to Wealth

Catalyzed to increase the wealth-generating capabilities of families living in Philadelphia’s underserved neighborhoods, Bridges to Wealth (B2W) provides free educational classes and wealth building opportunities for underserved communities.  The program’s curriculum was developed by University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and Graduate School of Education faculty who are also engaged in teaching the classes.  After completing the program’s business literacy curriculum, participants can join self-governed savings groups (whose members pool investments and lend to one another) and investment groups.  To increase its impact, B2W also provides training and support to community leaders so that they can direct business literacy efforts in their neighborhoods.  To date, B2W’s programs have engaged over 2,700 adults and students attending 6 schools.

Act Six

Catalyzed in 2002 by the Northwest Leadership Foundation, which was frustrated that many Tacoma residents were not completing college, Act Six aims to better support emerging community leaders so they can be agents of change following graduation.  Program participants are provided full scholarships to faith- and social justice-based colleges, and receive support and leadership training before and during college to inspire and equip them to serve their home communities.  The program’s success has led to its expansion across the Northwest and Midwest regions to 13 partner colleges.  Since 2002, Act Six has provided leadership support and nearly $43 million in grants and scholarships to over 615 students.

NACUBO Annual Meeting

July 21st, 2018 to July 24th, 2018
Long Beach, CA

National Association of College and University Business Officers Annual Meeting Read more about NACUBO Annual Meeting...

Detroit Revitalization Fellows

Wayne State University Office of Economic Development’s Detroit Revitalization Fellows (DRF) program aims to help Detroit’s civic, community, and economic development organizations attract, develop, and sustain the best mid-career talent.  Program fellows participate in a two-year leadership program while working full-time at a Detroit-based organization involved in civic, community, and economic development. Since its launch in 2011, the program has graduated 48 fellows and is credited with enabling nearly 50 organizations to take on new, high-impact projects.

Wayne State University: The Front Door for Business Engagement

The Front Door for Business Engagement acts as a “one-stop shop” for area businesses interested in accessing Wayne State’s resources such as faculty consultants, research expertise and investments, facilities, technology, licensing opportunities, and student interns.  The effort was launched by Wayne State in 2009 as part of the university’s effort to help stimulate economic development in the metro area.  The Front Door is located in TechTown, the university’s research park and business incubator.

Detroit Collaborative Design Center

Operating out of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture, the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) is a nonprofit architecture and urban center focused on creating sustainable spaces and communities through quality design and collaborative processes.   Since 1994, DCDC has worked with over 100 Detroit nonprofit organizations, community groups, and philanthropic foundations on projects that respond to locally defined issues and empower residents and other stakeholders to facilitate their own community planning, development, and building design.

Belmont University

Founded in 1890 as a women’s college with 90 students, Belmont is now a co-educational Christian university with more than 7,700 students. Belmont has partnered with Nashville’s Metro Board of Parks and Recreation to transform the 24-acre Rose Park into a state-of-the-art community facility with sports fields, a basketball court, a walking track, and a training facility.  Belmont invested over $9 million in the project, and continues to contribute $50,000 a year to support park programming for youth and seniors.  Also committed to diversity and inclusion, in 2015, the University launched its Supplier Diversity Program to ensure its procurement base would better reflect its community.

Higher Education’s Anchor Mission: Measuring Place-Based Engagement

Emily Sladek

Our new report, Higher Education's Anchor Mission, examines how an ongoing—and expanding—effort to track the impact of colleges and universities on the financial and social well-being of their surrounding neighborhoods is helping these anchor institutions align their resources to build stronger community partnerships and create more inclusive local economies.

6 Steps to Build Community Wealth

Anna Birley

This new guide, published by the UK’s Co-Operative Party, outlines the steps needed to develop a community wealth building ecosystem. Aimed at local officials and public-sector institutions, the guide provides information on these steps, from developing leadership to shifting procurement, a background on community wealth building, a case study of this approach in Preston, England, and recommendations for actions localities can take. 


StartUP FIU focuses on nurturing traditional and social entrepreneurship among Florida International University students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the South Florida community by supporting the development of new startups, the acceleration of early-stage companies, and the commercialization of groundbreaking technologies. The effort includes StartUP FIU Food, an incubator seeking to help grow food businesses with limited resources and a commitment to job creation. It also includes the Empower Accelerator, a 14-week program that aims to develop scalable ventures by providing entrepreneurs with coaches, skills training, workspace, and related supports.