University & Community Partnerships

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.


Urban and Metropolitan Universities: The Transformative Power of Anchor Institutions

Emily Sladek, Guest Editor

‘Urban and Metropolitan Universities: The Transformative Power of Anchor Institutions’ focuses on the role of urban and metropolitan universities as anchor institutions in their community to address long standing inequities. Anchor institutions are nonprofit or public institutions that are rooted in place. These institutions have a mission to serve and are the largest employers and purchaser of goods and services in many communities. Also, they have other assets and capacities that can be leveraged to support reciprocal community development, including local hiring, procurement, and investment practices. Anchor mission strategies involve the entire university, including the business, community partnership, administrative, research and academic divisions.

Metropolitan Universities journal (MUJ) is the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities’ quarterly online journal. This special issue, guest edited by The Democracy Collaborative's Emily Sladek, is an initiative of TDC and CUMU's Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative.

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. 

Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (Duke I&E)

Aiming to help entrepreneurial leaders and scholars turn knowledge into action while pursuing innovative solutions to the world’s pressing problems, the Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (Duke I&E) serves as a hub for entrepreneurship at Duke University, building programs and collaborating with colleges, institutes, centers, and initiatives across Duke and the Duke Health System.  Through its Innovation & Entrepreneurship Academy, Duke I&E offers free sessions to students, faculty, staff, and community members designed to expand innovation and entrepreneurial skills.  The Initiative also includes the Duke Angel Network, which is credited with investing $6.1 million into 16 companies affiliated with the university.

Duke Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE)

Based at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) aims to help leaders and organizations develop the business skills needed to achieve lasting social change.  Since 2002, CASE has educated thousands of MBA students and worked with thousands of organizations, funders, government agencies, and researchers to define, connect theory and practice, and advance the field of social entrepreneurship.  Most recently, CASE has expanded its work from supporting social entrepreneurs to building an ecosystem through which social entrepreneurs can succeed and scale their operations.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County

Launched in 1913, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County works to increase New York State’s economic vitality, ecological sustainability, and social well-being by connecting local experience with Cornell University’s research-based knowledge and resources.  With an annual budget of over $7.3 million, the Extension has 200 employees and more than 2,000 volunteers who provide a range of community programs and trainings focused on agriculture and horticulture; consumer and financial education; environmental issues; family and community development; nutrition, health, and safety; and youth development.

Center for Transformative Action

Launched in 1971, the Center for Transformative Action (CTA) is a nonprofit affiliated with Cornell University that aims to foster communities that are socially just, ecologically sound, and work for everyone.  To do so, CTA offers educational programs that further the practice and understanding of social entrepreneurship and transformative action, and provides fiscal sponsorship services to projects working to reduce inequities.  CTA currently supports 24 programs, which include a local investing resource center and a Cornell student-run grocery created to ensure all students can access nutritious, affordable food.

BR Microenterprise

Launched in 2009, BR Microenterprise (BRM) is a student-run organization that connects the human capital and resources of Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management with community entrepreneurs, with a focus on individuals earning less than 80 percent of the county's median income and those with limited access to the conventional financial system.  Support provided to entrepreneurs includes technical assistance, coaching, and customized, affordable loans that are made in partnership with Alternatives Federal Credit Union.

University of San Diego

As part of its 2024 Strategic Plan, University of San Diego (USD) publicly committed to embrace an anchor mission by engaging communities in deep, democratic, and meaningful partnerships that reflect a shared vision and collaborative effort.  A large part of the University’s current community engagement work is led by its Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness, and Social Action and focused on the nearby community of Linda Vista, where over 80 students support community organizing efforts, serve as mentors and tutors, and provide community-based health care.  In 2011, the University launched its Changemaker Hub to help students, staff, and faculty develop skills needed to foster solutions that can create positive social impact.  From 2016-17, the program sponsored 20 events that empowered 1,255 students to develop new ways to solve pressing local and global challenges.

Temple’s Fox School of Business Small Business Development Center

Established in 1983, Temple’s Small Business Development Center helps start-ups and small businesses gain the knowledge and assistance needed to grow and succeed.  Programs include free consulting services and a range of training classes designed for entrepreneurs and small business owners.  The Center also houses an incubator through which it can provide consulting, training, intern support, and affordable space to area start-ups and small enterprises.

Bridges to Wealth

Catalyzed to increase the wealth-generating capabilities of families living in Philadelphia’s underserved neighborhoods, Bridges to Wealth (B2W) provides free educational classes and wealth building opportunities for underserved communities.  The program’s curriculum was developed by University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and Graduate School of Education faculty who are also engaged in teaching the classes.  After completing the program’s business literacy curriculum, participants can join self-governed savings groups (whose members pool investments and lend to one another) and investment groups.  To increase its impact, B2W also provides training and support to community leaders so that they can direct business literacy efforts in their neighborhoods.  To date, B2W’s programs have engaged over 2,700 adults and students attending 6 schools.

Act Six

Catalyzed in 2002 by the Northwest Leadership Foundation, which was frustrated that many Tacoma residents were not completing college, Act Six aims to better support emerging community leaders so they can be agents of change following graduation.  Program participants are provided full scholarships to faith- and social justice-based colleges, and receive support and leadership training before and during college to inspire and equip them to serve their home communities.  The program’s success has led to its expansion across the Northwest and Midwest regions to 13 partner colleges.  Since 2002, Act Six has provided leadership support and nearly $43 million in grants and scholarships to over 615 students.