By Funders Collaborative
"The role of Anchor Institutions in local economies is having a resurgence of sorts according to research done by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner-City (ICIC), which focuses attention on the natural competiveness of location and infrastructure provided by our nation’s inner cities. With the Central Corridor under construction, the Twin Cities offers a platform to explore the role of local anchors – especially in relation to the aligned efforts of the “Corridors of Opportunity”. On November 3, the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative and other collaborating partners including the Met Council explored how the educational and health care institutions (“eds” and “meds”) located along and near the Central Corridor can work together in a more coordinated way to enhance their self-interest while benefiting the neighborhoods along the corridor. (Program materials available here.)"
At the event, Mary Kay Leonard, president and CEO of Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), presented the idea of “creating shared value”, or the blending of anchor competitiveness and community vitality, as a way anchor institutions can positively impact cities across the country. The way in which medical and educational campuses and arts/cultural institutions are often geographically clustered offers the ability to collaboratively develop common workforce, purchase goods and services, and build community.
The big question for the Central Corridor, according to Leonard, is threefold: what are the anchor institutions, what do they do currently, and how can we leverage their location and attributes? An Environmental Scan of the corridor commissioned by the McKnight Foundation addressed these questions. The approach of the Environmental Scan was to concentrate on “the three Ps;” Placemaking, Personnel and Procurement. Perhaps most striking was a simple map of the Twin Cities illustrating the proximity of its anchor institutions to transit, which highlights nine medical facilities (“meds”) and seven college campuses (“eds”) along the Central Corridor alone, accounting for 67,000 jobs and 111,500 students overall.