Aims to begin a conversation about different community engagement areas that anchor institutions should focus on and ways to evaluate progress on the selected focus areas.

“It is widely acknowledged that hospitals and universities are anchor institutions—that is, place-based institutions that are tied to their location by reason of mission, invested capital, or relationships to customers or employees and hence have a vested interest in improving the welfare of their surrounding communities. A question that is increasingly arising, however, is to what extent are universities and hospitals conducting their work in ways that explicitly improve the lives of low-income children, families, and communities that are often proximate to the campuses of these institutions in major urban areas.

The multi-faceted nature of anchor institutions’ work in the area of community engagement poses an additional challenge. While program measures do exist, most institutions do not have a systematic method of measuring or evaluating the impact of their work in communities.

This study aims to begin a conversation that might result in some common focus areas—that is, areas of community engagement where anchor institutions agree to measure the effectiveness of their community work at the level of the institution—and indicators—that is, ways to evaluate progress on the selected focus areas. Developing such a set of focus areas and indicators is, we believe, an important step in helping move the anchor institution field toward a more concerted and strategic focus on equitable, inclusive, and place-based development.” This study is relevant to policy makers, hospital administrators, and college chancellors looking to for ways to better measure the impact of anchor institutions on community well-being (p. VII). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

We propose a dashboard with 12 key outcome areas designed to build knowledge in the field and ultimately increase the effectiveness of anchor institution work with and in communities. Those are 1) local and minority hiring, 2) local and minority business procurement, 3) housing affordability, 4) business incubation, 5) arts and cultural development, 6) community investment, 7) public health, 8) public safety, 9) environmental health, 10) pre-K-12 education improvement, 11) community capacity building and democratic leadership development, and 12) asset building and ownership” (p.vii-viii) (Abstractor: Author)