University & Community Partnerships

Rutgers University-Newark’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED)

Rutgers University-Newark’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) strives to bring renewed economic growth and vitality to Newark.  Through its Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative, first-generation entrepreneurs participate in monthly classes, intensive training, one-on-one counseling, financial guidance, peer coaching and networking—all designed to help individuals sustain and grow their business.  Now in its seventh year, over 130 local businesses have benefited from this initiative.  The Center also conducts research focused on socioeconomic development and urban, technological, social, and international forms of entrepreneurship.

New Jersey Institute for Technology (NJIT)

One of the first institutions in the U.S. to embrace economic development as a key objective, the Newark-based New Jersey Institute for Technology (NJIT) runs several centers that provide technical assistance to small and medium-sized local businesses.  Established in 1988, NJIT’s Enterprise Development Center is now the state’s largest high-technology business incubator, supporting 90 high-tech and life-science companies.  NJIT’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) provides free technical assistance to small New Jersey businesses aiming to sell to government agencies.  PTAC’s assistance is credited with helping state businesses receive over $2.6 billion in government contracts since 1986.

Near West Side Initiative

The Near West Side Initiative (NWSI) is a community partnership involving Syracuse University, philanthropy, area residents, and civic leaders. Its goal for the disinvested area is fostering economic development, jobs, health, housing, and academic enrichment for both the university's students and those who attend the NWS's public schools. Art and culture play a key role in the priorities of the NWSI as well. Near West Side Initiative is engaged in: Read more about Near West Side Initiative...

University of Rochester

Since 2000, University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education has secured nearly $20 million in grants to support education reform in more than 20 school districts in western New York.  The University also provides nearly $1.8 million in scholarships every year for Rochester City School District (RCSD) students.  Since the program’s launch in 2007, more than 70 City graduates have taken advantage of the Rochester Promise scholarship program, which guarantees any City graduate at least $100,000 in scholarships to attend the University's College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. Read more about University of Rochester...

Rochester Institute of Technology University/Community Partnership (RIT-UCP)

Rochester Institute of Technology University/Community Partnership (RIT-UCP) aims to drive and support neighborhood revitalization while broadening and deepening the educational experience for RIT students.  To do so, RIT-UCP engages in community-based, participatory action research that supports the economic revitalization goals of Rochester's northeast neighborhood and builds on community assets.  For example, in 2013-14, RIT-UCP collaborated with a community-based partner to promote the Westside Farmers Market, a project that increased its patronage by more than 20 percent, increasing resident access to fresh, local produce.  RIT-UCP also led its third “Leadership Institute,” which engaged about 90 community leaders in a weekend-long conference designed to increase their ability take action in their neighborhoods.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Center for Service Learning

Established in 2001, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ (IUPUI) Center for Service and Learning (CSL) works to bring together Indianapolis residents with the students, faculty, and staff at IUPUI to improve people’s lives.  As a partner in the Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative (GINI) project, a citywide collaboration for holistic neighborhood revitalization, CSL participates in housing, public safety, beautification, business and economic development, education, health, and civic engagement initiatives that have been identified by the Near Westside community.   For example, a faculty-led student team partnered with Near Westside nonprofit groups to design the expansion of and new building for a community center.  CSL is also recognized as a leader in promoting and supporting community schools.

Tulane City Center

Tulane City Center engages Tulane School of Architecture faculty and students to find design solutions to problems identified by nonprofit and community groups that are under-served by the planning and architecture field.  The group has helped support 80 architectural, planning, historic renovation, and organizational capacity building projects across the New Orleans region.  Over the next several years, the Center plans to focus its work in the Central City area, where, in 2014, it built and moved into a new office space that also includes areas to host community events, meetings, and exh Read more about Tulane City Center...

Not Taking Democracy for Granted: Higher Education, Inclusion, and Community Trust

Nancy Cantor
Speech delivered at conference titled, “Higher Education for Democratic Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities,”

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...

Center for Urban Initiatives and Research (CUIR)

The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee’s Center for Urban Initiatives and Research (CUIR) provides research and technical assistance to public and non-profit organizations in many areas, including strategic planning facilitation, survey research, and neighborhood analysis and mapping. Its goal is to help communities and organizations develop practical visions for the future, measure outcomes to demonstrate impact, use data to promote positive change, and interpret complex information. Read more about Center for Urban Initiatives and Research (CUIR)...

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.

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.”

Community Wealth Building Conference

September 27th, 2014
Aurora, Colorado

Breakout session topics fall under the following themes:   Read more about Community Wealth Building Conference...

NewBridge Center for Arts and Technology

Based on Bill Strickland’s successful Manchester Bidwell job training program, NewBridge Center provides career training for adults and after-school arts programs for urban high school students.  Its adult training programs are designed to meet the employment needs of local hospitals and other institutions and focus on jobs that offer above-average wages, benefits, and opportunities for advancement. At present, New Bridge offers two adult workforce development programs for phlebotomy technicians and pharmacy technicians, both of which provide living wage jobs at area hospitals. In keeping with Strickland’s belief that environment shapes behavior, all NewBridge classes are held in a contemporary high-tech building, filled with art and light.