Anchor Institutions

Memphis Medical District Collaborative: Catalyzing Change on a Community Level

Danny Fisher-Bruns and Nidia Logan-Robinson

The Memphis Medical District Collaborative is a community development organization working with partners to strengthen the communities in the Memphis Medical District.

Between July and September 2018, The Democracy Collaborative and Innovate Memphis conducted a review of MMDC’s work during its first two years of operation. This research process was composed of a review of baseline anchor data, stakeholder surveys, and current program data; stakeholder interviews with over 30 partners, anchor staff, board members, and funders; and facilitated work sessions with MMDC staff and board members.

The resulting case study summarizes themes from this review process, with the goal of painting an accurate picture of the scope of work currently undertaken by MMDC and its partners, and representing common themes articulated by key stakeholder groups. Document review and interview themes are supplemented by Innovate Memphis’ local context knowledge of Memphis’s economic development ecosystem and TDC’s national perspective on the field of anchor collaboratives and community wealth building.


ReCity is a 12,000 square foot co-working center dedicated to supporting Durham nonprofits and residents addressing challenges related to race, gender, wealth, and opportunity.  The Center is credited with saving its members $25,000 a year while boosting their credibility, impact, services, and staff morale.  Through ReCity’s Unity Fellowship program, the nonprofit also aims to boost the capacity of Durham’s nonprofit leaders by training them in organizational practices and leadership skills that promote long term organizational stability and effectiveness.

TDC's Public Comments to Surgeon General's Call to Action: “Community Health and Prosperity”

Ted Howard
Federal Register Comments

TDC's public comments discussed how anchor mission and anchor collaborative work helps to address the social determinants of health and builds community wealth. 

Duke University

Duke University strives to leverage its resources as a local anchor institution to build a stronger, more vibrant Durham.  For example, since 2007, the University has maintained $2.4 million in deposits with the Latino Community Credit Union (a Durham-based CDFI), funds that have been used to help thousands of the CDFI’s members to obtain low-cost financial products.  In July 2018, Duke increased its total deposits to $6 million, enabling 88 Durham first-time homebuyers to secure affordable mortgages.  Recognizing that supplier diversity is critical to both overcoming systemic barriers stemming from historic inequity and adding value to its university and hospital system, Duke implemented a supplier diversity program to increase its annual spend with local businesses that encounter obstacles to market entry, customer access, and financial growth.  Focused on increasing procurement from small, local, women, and minority-owned firms, the program ensures diverse suppliers participate in competitive bidding, matches diverse suppliers with Duke buyers, promotes the use of diverse suppliers within the Duke community, and helps connect high performing suppliers to other businesses and organizations.  Also committed to sustainability, Duke has a Green Purchasing Program that encourages buyers to select more environmentally friendly products when quality and cost performance are equal or superior.