Over the last two decades, anchor institutions (hospitals, universities, etc.) have become vested in the vitality of surrounding communities, which in many cases include impoverished neighborhoods. But institutions as a whole rarely measure the impact made on the welfare of low-income families and communities. To help establish common ground, find collective impact areas and develop measurement potential for both the institution and the community, 75 interviews were conducted with institution, nonprofit, government and community leaders. The findings and implications of this study comprise this report.
Anchor institutions are only as strong as the neighborhoods in which they are located.
Findings & Stats
U.S. hospitals and universities combined spend over $1 trillion a year, have endowments in excess of $800 billion, and employ 8% of the labor force.
The decline of neighborhoods close to hospitals and universities is affecting their ability to attract workers and students/patients.
What vs. How
The challenge is not just finding what to measure, but how to measure it.
Community groups focus on their relationships with anchor institution rather than evaluating institutional performance in making changes.
Statements & Quotations
Universities and hospitals regularly issue community and economic impact reports that document their activities. But even the best of the current strategies leave much to be desired when it comes to identifying the impact of their economic and community development activities on low-income neighborhoods.
While measurement may be challenging, this does not mean that useful and informative indicators cannot be developed that can, over time, help anchor institutions improve the quality of their work with community partners and hence improve the well-being of children, families and communities.
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