Anchor Institutions

Good Samaritan Health Center

Good Samaritan Health Center provides medical, dental, health education, mental health, and social services on a reduced sliding fee scale to low-income Atlanta residents.  In 2015, the Center had over 27,000 patient visits.  Recognizing the importance of accessible, healthy food for good health, the Center started an urban farm in the center of a food desert and created the FoodRX program, through which its doctors provide patients with “prescriptions” for weekly supplies of fresh produce.

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Established in 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta focuses on improving quality of life in the 23-county Atlanta metro area.  It holds $900 million in assets and disburses about $100 million in grants annually.  As part of its Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, the foundation is supporting the creation of BetterLife Growers, an aeroponic operation that will sell fresh lettuce and herbs to area anchor institutions and other local establishments.  The enterprise is expected to create around 25 living-wage jobs in the Mechanicsville community.

Advancing the Anchor Mission of Healthcare

Nancy Martin, on behalf of the Healthcare Anchor Network

In December 2016, leaders from 40 health systems gathered in Washington, DC to explore the potential to more fully harness their economic power to inclusively and sustainably benefit the long-term well-being of American communities. Together, they discussed best practices and strategies to advance the Anchor Mission of healthcare.

At the conclusion of the convening, the Healthcare Anchor Network was formed to support health systems collaborating nationally to accelerate learning and local implementation of economic inclusion strategies.

This report summarizes the events of that convening and next steps, inviting your hospital or health system to join the Network and help advance the Anchor Mission of healthcare in your institution, in your community, and nationally. 

A Business Plan for Healthy Communities

David Zuckerman
Hospital & Health Networks

The economic and racial divides that drive health disparities within communities are stark and widening. Twenty-two percent of children in the United States live in poverty, a percentage that has remained relatively unchanged since 1960. The number of Americans living in concentrated poverty has doubled from 7 million to 14 million since more

The Denver Foundation

Founded in 1925, The Denver Foundation is Colorado’s oldest and largest community foundation. The nonprofit currently has $722 million in assets and manages more than 1,000 charitable funds.  Through its Economic Opportunity grant program, the foundation aims to build community wealth by developing and retaining economic resources in low-income communities and by supporting residents working to develop the local economy.  The foundation also has an impact investment program that it uses to provide low-cost capital to nonprofits or intermediaries making a positive impact in the Denver metro area.

Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

In the United States, some populations suffer from far greater disparities in health than others. Those disparities are caused not only by fundamental differences in health status across segments of the population, but also because of inequities in factors that impact health status, so-called determinants of health.

Only part of an individual’s health status depends on his or her behavior and choice; community-wide problems like poverty, unemployment, poor education, inadequate housing, poor public transportation, interpersonal violence, and decaying neighborhoods also contribute to health inequities, as well as the historic and ongoing interplay of structures, policies, and norms that shape lives. When these factors are not optimal in a community, it does not mean they are intractable: such inequities can be mitigated by social policies that can shape health in powerful ways.

Can Hospitals Heal America's Communities?

Ted Howard and Tyler Norris
The Democracy Collaborative

Healthcare’s role in creating healthy communities through increasing access to quality care, research, and grantmaking is being complemented by a higher impact approach; hospitals and integrated health systems are increasingly stepping outside of their walls to address the social, economic, and environmental conditions that contribute to poor health outcomes, shortened lives, and higher costs in the first place.  


Hospitals Can Be Key to Healthy People, Healthy Economies

Johnny Magdaleno
Next City

Democracy Collaborative is highlighted in Next City "With the U.S. medical care industry spending more than $340 billion on goods and services every year, health systems and hospitals have the type of money that could revitalize the communities where they save lives." 

Yale University

Founded in 1701, Yale University has grown to be New Haven’s largest employer with over 13,000 full-time workers.  As the primary supporter of New Haven Promise, Yale provides up to $4 million a year to public school graduates who attend a state college.  It also built, and now runs, the Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center, which provides educational programs and meeting space for the community.  Since 1990, the university has contributed over $40 million to community economic development initiatives and $28 million to help more than 1,100 of its employees purchase homes in the area.

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

Established in 1928, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven strives to create positive and sustainable change in the Greater New Haven region by increasing and enhancing the impact of community philanthropy.  The foundation manages over $530 million in charitable assets, and in 2015, made roughly $24 million in grants and distributions, making it the largest grantmaker in the area.

Hospital Toolkit highlighted in Stat

Stat News

Stat news highlights the importance of the Hospital toolkit as shows how "providers can channel their $340 billion annual purchasing power into disadvantaged communities. Currently, only about 2 percent of that money flows to businesses owned by minorities and women." ...Read More

Economic Impact Guidelines

Zoë Ambargis, Charles Ian Mead, Stanislaw J. Rzeznik, David Swenson and Janet Weisenberger

Intermediaries in Integrated Approaches to Health and Economic Mobility

Prabhjot Singh and Stuart M. Butler

For individuals to achieve upward economic mobility they must live in a supportive neighborhood with, among other things, high quality primary care and good public schools. But even when the key ingredients of success are present, households often find it hard to navigate services. A variety of intermediaries help address that problem.

Some are “embedded” in such organizations as hospitals or schools and help clients to obtain a range of supplementary services. Examples include Health Leads, City Health Works, and Grand Aids, along with local community health workers and school nurse programs.

Others are the result of hospital-led population health systems. Examples include the Parkland Health system in Texas, the Montefiore and the Mount Sinai health systems in New York, and Washington Adventist Hospital in Maryland.

Others still are organizations linking together institutions focused on the same goal by providing data sharing services, financing, or organizational support. Examples include community development financial institutions, but also integrated service systems, such as the Harlem Children’s Zone that organizes wraparound services for the families of its school students.

While intermediaries help households and can add value, they also face challenges in their operations. Often they are underfunded because budgets do not reflect their broad community value. Many regulatory and technical barriers impede information sharing with intermediaries, which is necessary to credibly show improved outcomes. There can also be a clash of culture between intermediaries and other organizations.

Policymakers in both the public and private sectors need to address these challenges so that intermediary institutions can demonstrate their value and fulfill their crucial role. 

Community Foundations: What Do They Offer Community Development?

Jeffrey S. Lowe

This article provides case studies of the role of three community foundations in facilitating the establishment of community development collaboratives to galvanize support for local community development corporations (CDCs): the Cleveland Foundation, the Dade Community Foundation, and the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Sentiments about community foundation support or influence upon CDC activity captured from person-to-person interviews with CDC staff and community foundation personnel and board members are included, in addition to secondary data documenting the character and activity of community foundation assistance. The article offers lessons drawn from the three cases. Although it makes no broad generalizations, the article concludes with some recommendations for community foundations interested in community development collaboratives as a means of supporting local CDCs and identifies some areas for future research. 

Ripple: The Potential Power of Purposeful Purchasing

David LePage

Like a stone thrown into a pond, every purchase creates a ripple. Unintentionally or intentionally, every decision to purchase causes not one, but multiple transactions affecting the community’s capital, whether social, environmental, cultural, structural, human, or economic. 

Building a More Inclusive National Park System for All Americans

Nidhi Thakar, Claire Moser and Laura E. Durso

Work remains to build a system of national parks and monuments that tells the stories of all Americans by reflecting the full scope of the nation’s history and meeting the demands of a diverse population.