Dear AITF Members:

Welcome to this May issue of 2022 AITF News. As usual, feel free to share your thoughts on how AITF can be a useful resource.

Reminder: The deadline for applications to the 2023 Cohort of the AITF Anchor Fellows Program is May 31 See the Guidelines here

We look forward to receiving applications for the next cohort of Anchor Fellows. AITF continues to organize this program because it is crucial to demonstrate to future leaders of anchor institutions how the values of a commitment to social justice and equity, democracy and democratic practice, collaboration, and place are demonstrated in practice in the efforts of existing anchor leaders and their partners.

Social Determinants of Health

The COVID-19 pandemic led to numerous challenges that demanded responses from anchor institutions. AITF responded by continually chronicling how anchors have been responding in their communities, and published numerous volumes of case stories of these endeavors. The pandemic also influenced AITF’s expanded attention to policy (see policy briefs of Pursuing Just and Equitable Community and The Infrastructure Trust/Jobs initiative). Recently, AITF’s Health Professionals Subgroup has been exploring the significance of the social determinants of health looking forward beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, this subgroup published a paper on the social determinants of health and featured the efforts of the member institutions in the group.

The pandemic dramatically and tragically confirmed the significance of social determinants in shaping health outcomes, as we saw those living in substandard housing with limited resources, depending on struggling schools and public transportation, often people of color, were disproportionately impacted by a public health crisis of the magnitude of COVID-19. Only with a comprehensive approach to ensuring better overall conditions for traditionally underserved populations can we better prepare for the pandemics and other crises of the future. Anchor institutions have an essential role to play in navigating the path forward. The Health Professionals Subgroup has been serving as a forum for ongoing learning exchange in a community of practice on how anchor institutions, through extensive collaboration, can bring a social determinants of health lens to strengthening communities and reducing disparities. They are also discussing developing an updated paper that considers additional wisdom based on the pandemic experience to inform future strategies. Click to learn more about the Health Professional Subgroup.

Resources from the Field

Who Owns Newark? Transferring Wealth from NewarkHomeowners to Corporate Buyers

This report by Rutgers Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity (CLiME) shows that the national trend in investor buying of 1-4 unit homes in predominantly Black neighborhoods is most acute in Newark, New Jersey where almost half of all real estate sales were made by institutional buyers. The trend grew out of the foreclosure crisis that wiped out significant middle-class wealth in particular Newark neighborhoods. Click here to read the report.

Searching for Qualified Candidates: DC Community Anchor Partnership

The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development (CNHED) is a 501(c)(3) association for the community economic development sector in the District of Columbia, with more than 150 organizational members. CNHED seeks a driven, entrepreneurial professional to lead the DC Community Anchor Partnership. The Senior Director, DC Community Anchor Partnership will collaborate with, and report into, the President/CEO on the strategic direction of DCAP. Click here for the job description.

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting 2022 – Jun 21-24

The 2022 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement conference brings together faculty, student affairs professionals, students, senior campus administrators, and community partners. Together, these stakeholders ensure that students graduate from colleges and universities, both public and private, are prepared to be the informed, engaged citizens are communities and democracy need. This year’s event will take place from June 21 – 24, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Learn more about the conference, proposal request, and registration

News & Articles

Food Is Getting More Expensive. Libraries Are Helping People Grow Their Own – from VICE MEDIA GROUP

May 19 – The price of food is on the rise across the US. Surprisingly, one of the places where people are tackling the problem is public libraries, where volunteers are giving free resources and training to communities affected by food scarcity.

Health Care as an Economic Driver – from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

May 17 – According to a speech by Patrick Harker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and former President of the University of Delaware, in the coming months, the Philadelphia Fed is going to launch the Anchor Economy Dashboard. He said “I’m really excited about this. The Anchor Economy Dashboard will be a new, first-ever, national data set that captures the importance of anchor institutions to their regional economies. For the purposes of the dashboard, anchor institutions include higher-education institutions and hospitals”.

‘Huge lifestyle change’: How a Medical District Program Helped a Memphis Mom Get Her Dream Job – from Commercial Appeal

May 16 – Memphis Medical District Collaborative’s hire local program trains medical district residents for jobs at the district’s anchor institutions, like Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. The free program started in 2018 as a one-on-one job coaching program but expanded in 2020 into a multi-person class model as the need for employees continued to grow within the district. And the classes are tailored to training people for the jobs the medical district’s anchor institutions are most in need of.

Signs of Colleges on the Rise: What to Watch – from U.S. News & World Report

May 11 – Pasquerella, a former college president, says high levels of external engagement is critical now due to some distrust of higher education in general and concerns that a college degree may not be worth the investment. An increasingly significant factor of colleges on the rise is how they position themselves as anchor institutions in communities and demonstrate that their success is intertwined with the economic, educational, psychological and social well-being of those communities, she says.

Libraries Are Reimagining What Public Safety and Access to Resources Look Like – from PRISM

May 5 – “People think libraries have changed so much, but really, we’re still doing the same things. We are making sure people have access to information and resources… connecting people [with what] they need: food, wound care, connecting to the WiFi because the only device they have to access the internet is their phone… We’re providing resources to get people the next thing that they’re looking for, and I love it”, says Rachel Fewell, central library administrator for downtown Denver’s Public Library (DPL).

Major Downtown Institutions Come Together to Address Race Equity and Institutional Needs – from The Weekly Challenger

April 29 – Three major downtown institutions, St. Anthony’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, and Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, are joining with the City of St. Petersburg to embrace shared, collaborative, and intentional practices focused on moving the needle on race equity. “The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg introduced the idea to these institutions who developed this historic focused effort on their needs coupled with the aspirations of a healthier community by race,” Foundation President and CEO Randall H. Russell said.

Academic Journal Articles

Journal Article: Cunningham, N., Conner, D., Whitehouse, C., Blair, H., & Krueger, J. (2022). Beyond procurement: Anchor institutions and adaptations for resilience. Journal of Agriculture, FoodSystems, and Community Development, 11(3), 1-17.Link

Journal Article: O’Farrell, L., Hassan, S., & Hoole, C. (2022). The university as a Just anchor: universities, anchor networks and participatory research. Studies in Higher Education , 1-12. Link