Anchor Institutions

Steans Family Foundation

The Steans Family Foundation aims to collaborate with residents and institutions to help revitalize the North Lawndale community.  In 2010, it made more than $2 million in grants, which focused on early childhood development, school-based education, parent/caregiver advocacy and leadership, and capacity-building for both Lawndale residents and organizations. Read more about Steans Family Foundation...

Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE)

Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) is a group of Chicago-based anchor institutions that are committed to using their purchasing power to help boost the local economy.  Participating anchors identify their procurement needs, and CASE helps identify and connect local firms to these opportunities.  To date, CASE has helped 236 businesses to secure new contracts with anchor institutions, resulting in 180 new jobs and $50.6 million in revenue through multi-year anchor contracts.

Models for mobilizing multiple anchor institutions

Three cities, three strategies for community wealth building

Communities across the country are recognizing the tremendous resources nonprofit anchor institutions (like hospitals and universities) can provide as engines of inclusive and equitable economic development. Read more about Models for mobilizing multiple anchor institutions...

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.”

Underwriting Good Jobs

Robert Hiltonsmith and Lew Daly

The third report in a Dēmos research series examining how the federal contracting system has contributed to income inequality illustrates the potential for federal purchasing to instead promote upward mobility. The authors show that by setting higher workforce standards, which require federal contractors to provide living wages, paid sick leave, and the right to collective bargaining, the United States can grow its middle class, increase community wealth, and generate employment. Indeed, the authors estimate that such measures could foster the creation of an additional 260,000 jobs.

Greening Healthcare: How Hospitals Can Heal the Planet

Kathy Gerwig
Oxford University Press

Authored by Kaiser Permanente’s Environmental Stewardship Officer Kathy Gerwig, this new book provides a roadmap for healthcare institutions aiming to help build healthy and sustainable communities. Gerwig’s case studies of current hospital best practices identify environmentally preferable purchasing policies, investments in local food systems, and other green strategies that provide powerful examples of how healthcare institutions can meet existing community benefit requirements and reduce health disparities, thereby improving health outcomes while building wealth in low- to moderate- income communities. 

Community Wealth Building Conference

September 27th, 2014
Aurora, Colorado

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

Place Matters: Partnerships between Higher Education and the Local Communities

September 12th, 2014
Reading, PA

Rresearch Director Steve Dubb, co-author of A Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads, will provide the keynote address.

This one-day conference is being sponsored by Albright, PA Campus Compact, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Read more about Place Matters: Partnerships between Higher Education and the Local Communities...

The Rise of the Anchor Institution: Setting Standards for Success

Aaron Bartley
The Huffington Post

Push Buffalo's Aaron Bartley examines metrics and strategies to leverage anchor institution resources for community economic development, including the Democracy Collaborative's Anchor Dashboard. 

Xavier University’s Community Building Institute (CBI)

Established in 1995 as a partnership between the United Way of Greater Cincinnati and Xavier University, The Community Building Institute helps communities to plan their own redevelopment by organizing residents and identifying the physical assets of their neighborhoods. Current projects include facilitating the development and management of community investment plans for the United Way’s new Place Matters Initiative, and working with Price Hill and the City of Cincinnati's Planning & Buildings Department to create a community-driven comprehensive plan for Price Hill's future. Read more about Xavier University’s Community Building Institute (CBI) ...

The University of Cincinnati

As the largest employer in the region with 16,000 employees, expenditures of more than $1.1 billion a year, and an endowment of over $1 billion, the University of Cincinnati is the largest anchor organization in the city.  Since the early 2000s, it has allocated more than 10 percent of its endowment to local investments intended to stabilize and revitalize the city's Uptown District.  The University has experienced a nearly three-to-one leveraging on its endowment money through tax-debt, loans from banks and other sources. Read more about The University of Cincinnati...

UC Health

Comprising four hospitals and several outpatient facilities, UC Health (which was known as the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati until 2010) is a health system that employs about 10,000 workers and spends over $250 million a year on goods and services.  Since initiating its supplier diversity program in 2005, UC Health has awarded more than $150 million in contracts to minority and women-owned businesses.  To facilitate local business owners’ participation in procurement, it also holds weekly meetings to introduce diverse suppliers to its bidding processes. Read more about UC Health...

Uptown Consortium

Founded in 2003 by the leaders of key Cincinnati anchor institutions including Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, UC Health, TriHealth, Inc. and the University of Cincinnati, the Uptown Consortium is a nonprofit CDC focused on catalyzing human, social, economic and physical improvements in Uptown Cincinnati.  Its current focus areas include public safety, transportation, housing, and community and economic development.  To date, the Consortium’s work has resulted in over $400 million in investment in its focus neighborhoods Read more about Uptown Consortium...


In 2006 Greater Cincinnati leaders representing the education, nonprofit, community, civic, and philanthropic sectors formed the Strive Partnership to ensure that all children have a quality education “from cradle to career.”  The partnership has five specific goals—1) every child is prepared for school; 2) every child is supported inside and outside of school; 3) every child succeeds academically; 4) every child enrolls in some form of postsecondary education; and 5) every child graduates and enters a career—which it achieves by engaging executive and grassroots partners in Strive’s visio Read more about Strive...

Mercy Health

Comprising six hospitals and more than 80 network locations throughout Cincinnati, Mercy Health is a health provider that employs about 9,000 people and procures more than $300 million in goods and services a year. From spending just 3 percent with diverse suppliers prior to 2010, Mercy Health nearly doubled its 2011 spending target, procuring $23.4 from women and minority-owned businesses. Demonstrating its commitment to the community, it also runs two social service agencies that provide food, clothing, shelter, counseling, and health assistance to poor and uninsured families. Read more about Mercy Health...

Creating Jobs by Building Community Wealth

Steve Dubb

Democracy Collaborative Research Director Steve Dubb recently participated on a panel at the Aspen Institute to discuss “Big Ideas for Job Creation.” Moderated by Maureen Conway, Executive Director of the Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute, Steve and fellow panelist Carla Javits of REDF outlined strategies to redirect anchor institution procurement (as discussed in the Anchor Dashboardand policies that support social enterprise, build community wealth, and strengthen local economies.

A Just Economy: Ideas, Action, Impact

David Zuckerman
National Community Reinvestment Coalition

David also participated in a panel along with Democracy Collaborative Research Director, Steve Dubb, at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s annual conference to discuss strategies for partnering with healthcare institutions to build community wealth. 

Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Investing Outside Institutional Walls

David Zuckerman
Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence

Democracy Collaborative Research Associate David Zuckerman participated in an American Hospital Association-sponsored webinar through its Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence platform.The presentation featured practitioners from Bon Secours Health System, University Hospitals in Cleveland, and Catholic Health East/Trinity Health discussing opportunities for hospitals to promote health through economic development and community investment.