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Philanthropies target anchor institutions to support place-based prosperity

August 24, 2017

Numerous foundations are investing in and partnering with anchor institutions to support inclusive and equitable community and economic development, according to a new report from the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Community. The report, Anchored in Place: How Funders Are Helping Anchor Institutions Strengthen Local Economies, stems from a study by the Anchor Institutions Funders’ Group (AIFG), a working group established by the Funders’ Network.  The report also includes case studies on how funders are working with anchor intuitions in Albuquerque, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The report includes a survey of foundations working with anchors, which found that the majority of foundations – more than 80 percent – emphasized support for thriving local and minority business communities and employment opportunities for low-income community members as their top priorities.  While many foundations are working with local institutions toward this goal in multiple ways – including but not limited to grant-making – most do not label this work as part of an “anchor” strategy, according to the report.