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Anchor institutions are place-based entities such as universities and hospitals that are tied to their surroundings by mission, invested capital, or relationships to customers, employees, and vendors. These local human and economic relationships link institution well-being to that of the community in which it is anchored. Increasingly, anchor institutions across the nation are realizing this interdependence and are expanding their public or nonprofit mission to incorporate what we call an "anchor mission." In other words, they are consciously applying their long-term, place-based economic power, in combination with their human and intellectual resources, to better the long-term welfare of the communities in which they reside.
Chester, Pennsylvania, a small, formerly industrial city located on the Delaware River, not far from Philadelphia, exemplifies the problems and possibilities faced by older manufacturing cities across the United States, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. Chester's problems of poverty, stagnation, and unemployment stem from the late 20th-century decline of an industrial economy in the United States - which in Chester was primarily centered on automobile manufacturing and shipbuilding - and the flight of the more affluent residents to the suburbs. The remaining residents face high poverty, high unemployment, a crumbling infrastructure, lack of services and businesses, and underperforming schools. There is hope, however. Although the Federal Reserve Bank classifies Chester as a "struggling city," Chester also embodies the possibilities in the concept of resilience defined as "the individual and collective capacity to respond to adversity and change." The project of turning Chester around is a work in progress, but Chester is also a community that has taken intentional action "to enhance the personal and collective capacity of its citizens and institutions to respond to and influence the course of social and economic change." In fact, Chester, and one of its key partners in community revitalization, Widener University, can serve as a case study of what building resilience can look like in the face of daunting challenges.
Anchor institutions (often referred to as \"eds and meds\") are place-based enterprises, firmly rooted in their locales. In addition to universities and hospitals, anchors may include cultural institutions (such as museums), health care facilities (such as nursing homes), and municipal governments. Typically, anchors tend to be nonprofit corporations. Because they are rooted in place (unlike for-profit corporations that may relocate for a variety of reasons, such as lower labor costs, more subsidies, or fewer environmental regulations), anchors have, at least in principle, an economic self-interest in helping ensure that the communities in which they are based are safe, vibrant, and healthy.
A report examining the University of Pennsylvania's economic imapct on Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.
For generations, cities have been places where people of every background have sought opportunity. But as urban economies have evolved in recent decades, our cities have experienced sharp growth in economic disparities, and many communities have suffered. Addressing these disparities requires leveraging cities' economic assets in order to better create, prepare people for and connect them to economic opportunity.
This report evaluates California's looming retirement crisis. The study finds most California seniors are unprepared for retirement facing high costs of living and with low pension or 401K attainment.
As the community foundation field reaches the century mark and faces growing pressure on its business model, many communities at the same time are struggling with economic distress. To meet these converging challenges, an innovative group of community foundations are beginning to deepen and shift how they work - adopting an anchor mission that seeks to fully deploy all resources to build community wealth. They are calling on all assets at their disposal - financial, human, intellectual, and political - in service of their communities' economic well-being. Moving into territory relatively uncharted for community foundations, they are taking up impact investing and economic development - some in advanced ways, others with small steps. This report offers an overview of how 30 representative community foundations, large and small, urban and rural, are working toward adopting this new anchor mission.
In the past quarter century, universities have committed themselves to greater engagement in their communities. They are increasingly seen as "anchor" institutions - whose physical presence is integral to the social, cultural, and economic wellbeing of the community. Urban-based universities in particular have recognized the many challenges facing their - and the nation's - cities. Understanding that their fortunes are tied in part to those of their neighbors and physical surroundings, many have expanded their efforts to engage new partners and address pressing community issues. In the process, they are broadening the education of students, improving neighborhoods and cities, helping strengthen other anchor institutions, and informing and advancing the larger society.