The Anchor Institutions Task Force has been convened as an organization to develop and disseminate knowledge to help create and advance democratic, mutually beneficial anchor institution-community partnerships. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was recently advised by a national Task Force, coordinated by the University of Pennsylvania, on how HUD could increase its impact and strategically leverage anchor institutions, particularly higher education and medical institutions ("eds and meds"), to improve communities and help solve significant urban problems.
This Task Force functions as an ongoing think tank, developing long-term strategies, and making the case for the crucial role of anchor institutions in economic and community development. Communities cannot be revitalized and redeveloped without greater alignment across policy, institutions, civil society organizations (such as community based nonprofit organizations), and private resources (such as philanthropy). A new administration with a fresh vision presents an opportunity to develop and implement new strategies emphasizing partnerships that cross traditional boundaries.
Leveraging the resources of anchor institutions to address societal needs has recently gained increased attention, particularly with respect to community colleges, colleges, and universities, which bring a wide range of resources (e.g., financial, physical, and human) and maintain deep-rooted commitments to localities. As numerous communities have experienced capital flight, institutions of higher education have remained as critical anchors of stability.
The Task Force is an individual membership organization. Institutions will not be members. Individuals can join if they agree with the principles outlined in the statement of the Task Force. There are no dues. The Task Force is designed to develop and disseminate knowledge and function as an advocacy and movement building organization to create and advance democratic, mutually beneficial anchor institution-community partnerships.
More About the Task Force:
Thoughtful Pieces by Task Force Members:
Cooperating Across the Atlantic: Helping Realize Higher Education's Democratic Mission, by Sjur Bergan and Ira Harkavy
Anchor Institutions, by U.S. Department of Housing and Development
Recent Speech by AITF Chair, Ira Harkavy
Democratic Devolution: How America's Colleges and Universities Can Strengthen Their Communities by Rita Axelroth Hodges and Ira Harkavy
The Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads, new book by Rita Axelroth Hodges and Steve Dubb
"What should Universities Do for Their Cities?" Zócalo Public Square, Responses by Nancy Cantor and Ira Harkavy among others
"It's Graduation Time-- So What Do We Want from Universities?" Huffington Post (May 26, 2011) by Nancy Cantor
The Promise and Prospects of Anchor Institutions: some thoughts on an emerging field" HUD PD&R Edge (June 22, 2011) by Charles Rutheiser
Introductory Remarks at the Reimagining Democratic Societies Conference (June 27, 2011) by Ira Harkavy
Task Force Members on the Air:
Ted Howard's interview with America's Tomorrow