Anchor Institutions

Can Hospitals Heal America's Communities?

Ted Howard and Tyler Norris

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.  

Healthcare Small Business Gap Analysis

Jessica Bonanno, Steve Dubb, and Ted Howard

Our newest report, Healthcare Small Business Gap Analysis, prepared in partnership with New Orleans based DMM & Associates on behalf of the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), outlines procurement practices and supply chain needs of New Orleans healthcare institutions and the capacity local business to fulfill those needs. The report provides recommendations on how to leverage New Orleans’ hospitals’ $1.5 billion in procurement spending to promote greater local procurement and economic inclusion in a city where only 48 percent of African American adult males are in the formal labor force. This report is based on interviews with nearly  50 representatives from area hospitals, additional anchor buyers, technical assistance organizations, small businesses, and other public stakeholders.

The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs

Steve Dubb, Sarah McKinley and Ted Howard

This study seeks to introduce a framework that can assist anchor institutions in understanding their impact on the community and, in particular, their impact on the welfare of low-income children and families in those communities.

Download the report and learn more about our work to help anchors measure their impact on community wealth.


The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth

Farzana Serang, J. Phillip Thompson and Ted Howard

This report from The Democracy Collaborative and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT focuses on the path-breaking Vision 2010 Program implemented in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio by University Hospitals System. Over a five year period, the initiative targeted more than $1 billion of procurement locally to create jobs, empower minority- and female-owned businesses, and create a “new normal” for responsible, community-focused business practices in the region.

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. 

Durham People’s Alliance

Founded in 1976, Durham People’s Alliance (PA) is a grassroots, membership organization working to foster a more just and equitable Durham and North Carolina.  Committed to broad participation and democratic decision-making, PA makes all major decisions at its full membership meetings and encourages members to lead new organizing efforts.  PA is credited with being the driving force behind Durham’s “livable” wage ordinance and securing funds to support free tax preparation services. To incentivize private employers to pay a living wage, PA developed the Durham Living Wage Project, which certifies and publicly recognizes employers that pay at least the City’s current livable wage to all full- and part-time workers.  PA currently has over 1,000 members.

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.

Health Anchor Institutions investing to support community control of land and housing

Bich Ha Pham and Jarrid Green
Build Healthy Places Network

Many anchor institutions are also major landowners in their communities, and many are already engaged in housing programs such as employer-assisted housing. Anchor institutions can and should employ CLTs to maximize the impact of their long-term investments in housing for their workforce, and utilize and support CLTs to help build more inclusive communities around their institutions more generally. 

The Role of Healthcare Institutions in Building Community Wealth

David Zuckerman and Bich Ha Pham
The Wharton Health Care Quarterly

A growing number of forward-thinking healthcare anchor institutions have taken up an “Anchor Mission” to realign all institutional resources to fight long-standing inequities at their root by building community wealth.

What Anchor Institutions Can Do by Working Together

Justine Porter and Bich Ha Pham

Anchor collaboratives are stronger and can accomplish goals that once seemed out of reach by combining efforts and resources. However, forming an anchor collaboration isn’t automatic; it takes effort and time to get institutions to see their common interests and potential alignment. The article discusses some ways it can work.

Fulfilling the Anchor Mission and Building Community Wealth: Local Credit Unions Leverage their Assets to Build Strong Communities

Latino Community Credit Union

This case study profiles how the Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU), based in Durham, North Carolina, partners with anchor institutions to invest locally and build community wealth. Local anchors like Duke University, the Museum of Life and Science, and the cooperatively owned Weaver Street Market have made deposits with LCCU, which in turn expands access to affordable financial products and loans.

Anchor Opportunity Network: Strategic Action Plan for the NY-NJ-CT Region

Regional Plan Association

The Regional Plan Association, which operates in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut metropolitan region, published recommendations for developing the Anchor Opportunity Network, with an aim to leverage anchor institution assets to drive equitable economic growth. The Network will work to foster relationships between anchors, municipal leaders, and local neighborhoods to better coordinate and accelerate practices such as inclusive, local purchasing.

Cornell University Division of Financial Affairs Procurement and Payment Services

The Cornell University Division of Financial Affairs Procurement and Payment Services aims to ensure the University’s procurement dollars support diverse and sustainable businesses.  Through its Supplier Diversity program, the Division works to maximize procurement opportunities for small, local, and diverse businesses—efforts that have helped increase its total “diversity spend” from $27.2 million in FY 2012 to $36.8 million in FY 2017.  The Division also supports the University’s Sustainable Campus Initiative by incorporating principles of green purchasing into many contracts and procedures, and requesting that suppliers rely on sustainable practices.