Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, this document accompanies Achieving the Anchor Promise: Improving Outcomes for Low-Income Children, Families and Communities, and provides infomation on dashboard indicators connected to anchor institutions. 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 ties link institution well-being with the well-being of the community in which it is anchored. As a result, anchor institutions are leveraging more of their economic, human and intellectual resources to better the long-term welfare of the communities in which they exist. 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.
The role of anchor institutions is increasingly important as a result of globalization
Findings & Stats
Ways to Engage
The ways anchor institutions engage with their communities are numerous and multifaceted. They hire staff, produce goods and services, partner with local organizations, collect and disseminate important research findings and share an array of resources.
Although most assess their impact at the level of individual programs, anchor institutions need agreed-upon methods for measuring or evaluating their broader impact in community economic development, public health, education and the environment.
Challenges to Measuring Impact
Measuring community impact is challenging due to: inconsistent definitions of “community” across and within institutions, isolating the impact metrics from collaborative projects between institutions and the slow pace of community economic development work in general.
While there is no such thing as a perfect set of indicators, many anchor institutions involved in this study expressed interest in developing “good enough” indicators and metrics. These would help to facilitate transparency, accountability and learning across and within institutions.
There are 12 outcomes that participants wanted to see measured as part of a dashboard instrument. Leaders of anchor institutions who were surveyed as part of this report agreed that these outcomes were the most important to measure in order to monitor impact and fuel success of their “anchor missions.”
The Next Step
The dashboard is only a first step. An important next step will be to refine the selection of indicators, test them and report on the results.