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Anchor institutions supporting place-based innovation

September 19, 2019
By: Mark Skinner

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently provided funding to establish the Anchor Learning Network, a three-year, joint project of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and The Democracy Collaborative as a means of sharing successful practices and lessons learned among the 31 member higher education institutions in their efforts to increase their local economic impact.  The partner institutions commit to participating in educational conferences and webinars to share experiences among member institutions and to maintain metrics regarding their community impact performance on a range of activities – hiring, purchasing, supplier diversity, affordable housing, community investing, workforce development, and small business and innovation centers. 

The community investing, workforce development and small business innovation center benchmark categories present the most direct opportunity to engage local innovation and TBED initiatives in the schools’ improved local impact.  Low hanging opportunities could include increasing partnerships with the institutions for pre-seed, accelerator and seed funds; expanding STEM internship and apprenticeship opportunities; and entrepreneurial mentoring for companies in the area.

Likely requiring greater investment and time would be relocating university innovation, incubation and business support services (e.g., federally funded Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs), women/minority business support centers) out of university buildings and into off-campus locations more centrally located to area neighborhoods and place-based initiatives.  Relocation would create greater visibility and accessibility for target populations while helping create a buzz of activity that might spur even more community impact from the anchor’s involvement.

The 31 member institutions of the new Anchor Learning Network are:

Augsburg University (Minneapolis, MN)

Buffalo State, SUNY (Buffalo, NY)

California State University, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)

Cleveland State University (Cleveland, OH)

College of Staten Island (Staten Island, NY)

Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)

Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL)

Georgetown University (Washington, DC)

Indiana University Northwest (Gary, IN)

IUPUI (Indianapolis, IN)

Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

Loyola University Chicago (Chicago, IL)

Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)

Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee, WI)

Metropolitan State University (St. Paul, MN)

Metropolitan State University of Denver (Denver, CO)

Rutgers University – Camden (Camden, NJ)

Rutgers University – Newark (Newark, NJ)

Towson University (Towson, MD)

University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

University of Denver (Denver, CO)

University of Louisville (Louisville, KY)

University of Maryland Baltimore (Baltimore, MD)

University of Michigan-Dearborn (Dearborn, MI)

University of Missouri-St. Louis (St. Louis. MO)

University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)

Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA)

Wagner College (Staten Island, NY)

Weber State University (Ogden, UT)

York University (Toronto, ON)

higher ed, economic impact