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Anchor Institutions

A Guide for Your Local Eds and Meds to Become Better Neighbors

Bill Bradley
Next City

Hospitals and universities hold a lot of sway in communities.They spend more than $1 trillion a year and employ 8 percent of the country’s labor force. But sometimes the success of so-called “eds and meds” can have an undesired effect: Gentrification and subsequent displacement.

The Anchor Dashboard — a new 40-page paper and not, sadly, an interactive dashboard with fun renderings — is trying to change that. Courtesy of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland, the paper identifies 12 areas where anchor institutions can be more effective at the neighborhood level, from business incubation to local hiring.

“If you don’t do this work right, it can lead to the kind of gentrification that can blow a community apart,” said Ted Howard, executive director of the Democracy Collaborative. [...]

Report Proposes Ways to Measure Colleges’ Impact on Communities

Andy Thomason
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Universities need better ways to measure their impact on surrounding communities, according to a new report.

“The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs,” released on Tuesday by the Democracy Collaborative, a research center at the University of Maryland at College Park, seeks to provide the basis for such a methodology in the form of a broad set of goals for communities and indicators of progress toward those goals.

The report’s “dashboard” consists of 12 desired societal outcomes that “anchor” institutions like universities can work toward­, including affordable housing, educated young people, and a healthy environment. The report also offers specific ways to measure the progress being made toward each goal. For example, the amount of money an anchor institution spends on helping local residents file their income taxes can serve as an indicator for the goal of financially secure households.

Report Proposes Ways to Measure Colleges’ Impact on Communities

Andy Thomason
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Universities need better ways to measure their impact on surrounding communities, according to a new report.

“The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs,” released on Tuesday by the Democracy Collaborative, a research center at the University of Maryland at College Park, seeks to provide the basis for such a methodology in the form of a broad set of goals for communities and indicators of progress toward those goals.

The report’s “dashboard” consists of 12 desired societal outcomes that “anchor” institutions like universities can work toward­, including affordable housing, educated young people, and a healthy environment. The report also offers specific ways to measure the progress being made toward each goal. For example, the amount of money an anchor institution spends on helping local residents file their income taxes can serve as an indicator for the goal of financially secure households. [...]

New Student Initiative Asks Anchor Institutions to Rethink their Communities

An Interview with Alan Smith of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network


The Democracy Collaborative recently sat down with Alan Smith of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network to talk about their new Rethinking Communities Initiative. Inspired by the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Roosevelt Institute promotes the work of progressive economist and social policy thinkers and supports the next generation of leaders as they design solutions to current pressing issues. Their Campus Network is the nation’s largest student policy organization with 115 chapters at colleges and universities in 38 states, working to further progressive ideas, civic leadership, and long-term change

Key Community Benefit Terms

Across the country, nonprofit hospitals are beginning to comply with a new federal requirement that they partner with community and public health representatives to identify and develop strategies for addressing community health needs. This requirement, found in the Affordable Care Act, builds on the best practices of leading hospitals and hospital systems that already strategically invest resources and build partnerships with community groups and public health leaders to improve community health. This one-page provides definitions for important terms to know.

Community Benefit and Anchor Institutions: Linkages and Opportunities

This webinar, organized by Community Catalyst and the Democracy Collaborative, explored how community benefit requirements, especially in the wake of new Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations governing Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA), can provide a powerful and effective framework to drive transformative community economic development.  

Read more about Community Benefit and Anchor Institutions: Linkages and Opportunities ...

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