Local and national funders can play a powerful role in helping anchor institutions build stronger communities, a new report funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds.
The report, Anchored in Place (39 pages, PDF), reveals how foundations across North America are partnering with anchor institutions — large institutions such as hospitals and universities — to drive economic development locally. The report also explores case studies in five metro areas — Albuquerque, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, and the Twin Cities — and shares lessons and recommendations for funders.
According to the report, funders can help anchor institutions create healthier and more equitable neighborhoods by providing support beyond grants, including financial leverage and strategic co-investments, capacity building and leadership development opportunities, and research and evaluation assistance. To advance such efforts, the foundation aims to create partnerships with anchor institutions, communities, and local governments.
"Anchor institutions are an important chapter in our nation's long history of community development approaches," said Charles Rutheiser, a senior associate at the Casey Foundation. "We're seeing that it's possible for these institutions to use their intellectual, social and financial assets to better residents' lives without sacrificing their bottom line....It's about more than just money. Sometimes the most important roles that funders can play are providing technical assistance, convening stakeholders and sharing lessons and results."