AITF’s Anchor Fellows Program

Request for Applications for 2021 Cohort

The Anchor Institutions Task Force (AITF) is seeking applications for the second cohort (the current cohort include five Fellows) of The Anchor Fellows Program.  This program adds a dimension to existing training of future leaders of anchor institutions by preparing a next generation committed to AITF’s values to successfully navigate the engagement of anchors in their local communities.  Anchor institutions are enduring organizations that remain in their geographic places, and play a vital role in their communities and economies.  These institutions include a wide range of types of institutions representing different fields.  Each neighborhood, city, or region includes an ecosystem of various kinds of anchor institutions such as colleges and universities, hospitals, libraries, museums, community foundations, businesses, and other entities that are somewhat rooted in place.  These institutions, therefore, have a vested interest in the future of their surroundings; they are interdependent with the quality of life of their localities and their inhabitants.  AITF is particularly interested in how anchor institutions can engage democratically in their communities in the pursuit of equitable growth and increased opportunities and access for historically underserved and vulnerable populations.  AITF’s values include a commitment to place, democracy, collaboration, equity and social justice.

The Fellowship period spans the calendar year.  Training during this period highlights the competencies required to build and maintain the commitment and infrastructure to sustain an anchor institution’s comprehensive commitment to local engagement.

During the period, Fellows will design a series of visits, preferably no fewer than three (two individual and one group visit among all members of the fellowship cohort), to the campuses and communities of leaders of anchor institutions across AITF’s membership.  During these brief visits, Fellows will have an opportunity to receive insights from a host leader, and gain exposure to the internal and external structure of the particular institution’s community partnerships.  On each trip, Fellows will also engage relevant stakeholders in the institution and the community in order to provide a comprehensive view of how a particular anchor institution builds and sustains a commitment to its community, as well as the unique role of anchor leaders in these processes.  These visits would emphasize both how the institution contributes to its community and how the institution is transformed by its engagement in the community.

In addition to these visits, Fellows are expected to attend AITF’s Annual Conference, which takes place during the fall.

The fellowship includes some financial support for travel expenses.

After each visit, Fellows would submit a brief written reflection after each visit.  Upon the completion of the fellowship period, Fellows are expected to submit a brief overview (approximately five pages) summarizing learning from various visits, as well as a vision for how to apply this learning in one’s evolving role in institutional leadership.  We hope that Fellows will remain engaged in AITF beyond the completion of your fellowship.

In order to apply, please submit the following:

  • A statement of approximately one to two pages discussing why you are interested in the program, your experience with anchor institutions to date, and your leadership intentions into the future (that includes how you wish to contribute to the engagement of anchor institutions in strengthening their communities and transforming themselves as institutions in the process).
  • A letter of endorsement from a supervisor and/or an existing President or CEO of an anchor institution.

Please send this information to: by May 1, 2020

We expect to notify Fellows selected for the program by June 30, 2020.  We expect that selected Fellows will attend to AITF Annual Conference on November 5 and 6 in New York City.