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University & Community Partnerships

The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs

Steve Dubb, Sarah McKinley and Ted Howard

This study seeks to introduce a framework that can assist anchor institutions in understanding their impact on the community and, in particular, their impact on the welfare of low-income children and families in those communities.

Download the report and learn more about our work to help anchors measure their impact on community wealth.

 

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

Emily Sladek

Our new report 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.

Gateways for Incarcerated Youth Alumni Survey

Emily Sladek, Laura Coghlan, John Lanning and Cindy Meyer
The Evergreen State College

This publication, co-authored by Democracy Collaborative Research Assistant Emily Sladek, constitutes a survey of former students from the Gateways Evergreen College Class from the years 1997-98 through 2009-10. Gateways is "a culturally responsive educational initiative that works in partnership with the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) and The Evergreen State College in Washington State":

Impact to Last: Lessons from the Front Lines of Social Enterprise

Ben Thornley, Jacquelyn Anderson and Lauren Dixon

In these eight case studies, REDF (a California-based nonprofit, has led the pioneering effort to create jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work) highlights the work of social enterprise leaders around the country. By surveying groups such as the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, REDF showcases the principal drivers of achieving scale and success, and paving the way towards a more inclusive economy.

A St. Louis organization goes above and beyond providing homes for communities

An interview with Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO of St. Louis' Beyond Housing

The killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Fergsuon, Missouri, and the subsequent wave of protests illuminated for a national public the deep racial inequities in greater St. Louis. We sat down with Chris Krehmeyer, head of Beyond Housing, a local community development corporation founded in 1975, to learn about how they've been building a comprehensive approach blending affordable housing, community land trusts, public health, and business development aimed at changing the systems that perperuate disinvestment in African-American communities in the St. Read more about A St. Louis organization goes above and beyond providing homes for communities...

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"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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...

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 Talkpoverty.org 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.

Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Investing Outside Institutional Walls

This webinar, organized by the Association for Community Health Improvement and the American Hospital Association, outlined opportunities for hospitals to promote health through economic development and community investment. The discussion used the findings of The Anchor Dashboard as a starting point to show how hospitals can broaden their impact on their surrounding communities.

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

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. 

Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment

Joe Guinan, Sarah McKinley and Benzamin Yi

This new report from The Democracy Collaborative and the Responsible Endowments Coalition seeks to connect struggling communities to local institutional wealth through engaging student activism. The report profiles three administration-led initiatives and three student-led initiatives, as well as five potential future partnerships, where institutional investments are directed into local communities in a way that empowers low-income residents, develops small businesses, and generates sustainable economic development. 

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...

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.

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