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Anchor Institutions

Oberlin College Adopts Impact Investing Platform

Likely largest higher education commitment to social investing in nation to date
A few weeks ago, Oberlin College, with an endowment of nearly $700 million, adopted what is likely the largest impact-investing platform to date by a college or university in the United States. Although Oberlin is just one institution, the decision provides a hopeful sign of an accelerating institutional shift toward greater socially responsible investment practices. A tremendous opportunity exists. Higher education as a sector controls more than $400 billion in endowment assets.

Will Our Universities Rekindle Their Public Purpose?

Anchor institution movement restores sense of public mission

Crossposted from Rooflines: The Shelterforce Blog

America’s colleges and universities are at a crossroads. For all too many students, a college education has become a major economic gamble. Over the past three decades, inflation-adjusted tuition has more than doubled at both public and private universities. Meanwhile, professors are harder to find: tenured and tenure-track professors have gone from roughly 45 percent of all teaching staff to less than a quarter since 1975. In short, students and their parents pay much more for much less faculty time. 

The Rise of Community Wealth Building Institutions

More people are turning to economic alternatives in which new wealth is built collectively and from the bottom up

Crossposted from Policy Network, and later published on the London School of Economics website, this blog is part of a debate event hosted by Policy Network in London, UK, that was reviewed in OurKingdom by grassroots activist James Doran:    

Five years after the financial crisis economic inequality in the United States is spiraling to levels not seen since the Gilded Age. While most Americans are experiencing a recovery-less recovery, the top one per cent of earners last year claimed 19.3 per cent of household income, their largest share since 1928. Moreover, income distribution looks positively egalitarian when compared to wealth ownership.

Boulder Gains Momentum in Fight for Green Public Utility

Local campaign seeks to hold back corporate efforts to undo election results

Green. Local. Not-for-profit. That’s the goal in Boulder, Colorado where grassroots activists and the local nonprofit New Era Colorado Foundation have been campaigning to turn the city’s private power source into a public utility in order to more aggressively pursue renewable energy options and reduce carbon emissions. Read more about Boulder Gains Momentum in Fight for Green Public Utility...

Done Right, Eliminating Food Deserts Result in Community Oases

Building community wealth every step of the way
Pogue’s Run Grocer Mural, an initiative of the Indy Food Co-op. © Indy Food Co-op
Building healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities requires more than “bottom up” solutions. The importance of community ownership to ensure that projects that start at the bottom result in lasting community wealth for the people involved is often missing from the discussion. The local foods movement provides examples that illustrate the importance of this ownership principle in practice.

Bernanke Praises Jane Jacobs and Bottom-Up Solutions

Fed Chairman calls for community engagement, collaboration and place-based investment

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed the Fed’s Community Affairs Research Conference in Washington, DC, opening his speech by acknowledging that successful strategies to rebuild communities require “multipronged approaches that address housing, education, jobs and quality-of-life issues in a coherent, mutually consistent way.”

Read more about Bernanke Praises Jane Jacobs and Bottom-Up Solutions...

Ellen Macht on the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative

CEO chats about developing the first cooperative business, Atlanta Lettuce Works

Last week, The Democracy Collaborative's Stephanie Geller had the opportunity to chat with Ellen Macht, President and CEO of the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, about an exciting new project launched by The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to bring quality jobs, assets, and sustainable economic growth to Atlanta’s most marginalized neighborhoods. 

Hospitals As Anchor Institutions: Linking Community Health and Wealth

This post originally appeared on the Commons Health Care Network blog.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, discussions of healthcare policy in national politics and the mainstream media have overwhelmingly focused on the law’s impact on health insurance rather than public health. For example, the 2 percent of the population that will be affected by the individual mandate provision have received an inordinate level of attention. But a separate ACA provision should receive at least as much attention and energy, as it will have a significantly greater impact on the country, and open up new possibilities for how health systems and communities can work together to target pressing economic and health challenges.

Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission

David Zuckerman, with contributions from Holly Jo Sparks, Steve Dubb, and Ted Howard

The Democracy Collaborative’s latest report, Hospitals Building Healthier Communities, provides an in-depth look at six hospitals in five cities that are rethinking their economic and community engagement strategies. These hospitals have recognized that health is more than just treating the patients that come through their doors and are beginning to adopt an “anchor institution mission” that can help build not only more prosperous, but also healthier communities.

Leveraging The Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth

Community forum at MIT to explore University Hospitals' innovative commitment to the anchor mission in Cleveland, Ohio (Rescheduled!)
The Anchor Mission

UPDATE: The Boston blizzard required rescheduling this event; it's back on for May 8th!

On May 8th, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will host a special event to mark the release of the report The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth, featuring a panel of distinguished scholars along with municipal and institutional leaders. 

Read more about Leveraging The Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth...

Netter Center 20th Anniversary

More than 500 people from over 70 universities and over two-dozen countries gathered at the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania to discuss ways to better use university resources to build community wealth in neighborhoods and promote partnerships with public schools. Setting the tone of the conference, Ira Harkavy, Founder and Director of the Netter Center, opened by arguing that effective partnerships not only advance learning, but also strengthen democracy and improve the quality of life in cities around the world.

Unlocking Community Development: The Anchor Key

Leveraging Anchor Institution Resources for Community Benefit

Crossposted from Rooflines

Anchor institutions—a term used to describe public and nonprofit hospitals and universities—are today widely recognized for their role in community economic development. But they have the potential to do a lot more.

As Living Cities President Ben Hecht noted in a blog post this past January, “Today, the largest economic force in a huge number of America’s 100 largest cities is a university or hospital.” Yet, Hecht added: “Despite this reality, few, if any, regional economic development strategies are built around these stable and rooted ‘anchor’ institutions.”

Read more about Unlocking Community Development: The Anchor Key...

Researchers Propose Federal Strategy to Engage "Eds"

Five recommendations to encourage universities and colleges to adopt an anchor institution mission
Earlier this month, Ira Harkavy and Rita Axelroth Hodges, of the Netter Center of Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, released a Progressive Policy Institute paper calling for one type of anchor institution - universities and colleges - to contribute more to the public good.

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