INDIANAPOLIS – Joining 30 other colleges and universities across the United States, IUPUI has been selected as an inaugural member of the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative, a national collaboration designed to develop and share new strategies for deploying higher education’s intellectual and place-based resources to enhance the economic and social well-being of the communities they serve.
Higher education institutions like IUPUI are anchor institutions: local economic engines and mission-driven organizations inextricably linked to the long-term well-being of their local communities and uniquely positioned and incentivized to play a more active role in supporting the local economy. By intentionally implementing an anchor framework, the whole university – including the business and administrative divisions – will be able to better serve its public mission. The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative will provide a national platform to accelerate this important work.
The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative is a joint project of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, a national organization dedicated to connecting urban universities and their partners, and The Democracy Collaborative, a national research institute developing strategies for a more democratic economy. It is supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. According to Ted Howard, TDC president, “colleges and universities in the U.S. collectively employ more than 4 million people, spend over $43 billion each year, and hold over a half-trillion dollars in their endowments, which means their potential impact as community wealth-building anchor institutions is enormous.”
Recognizing this potential, CUMU has worked with TDC to select leading higher education institutions from its membership to join the initiative as inaugural members. “The initiative is invaluable to CUMU members,” CUMU Executive Director Bobbie Laur said. “Whether public or private, CUMU member institutions are anchored by place and recognize an obligation to their communities to address challenges and work with partners to find creative, equitable solutions. This initiative will guide universities across the country to expand current collaborative work and to form more strategic partnerships that benefit the economic and social well-being of their communities.”
IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar believes IUPUI’s participation in the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative will help deepen the institution’s existing commitment as a community partner.
“IUPUI has already invested in Indianapolis through transformational initiatives like the Anchor Housing Program with the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, groundbreaking partnerships like with the Madam Walker Legacy Center, and more,” Paydar said. “Such collaborations create opportunities for mutually beneficial conversations about how institutions of higher learning can be catalysts for positive change in our urban communities.”
The anchor housing program provides an opportunity for IUPUI employees to obtain a five-year, forgivable loan to purchase or repair a home within portions of three neighborhoods near the campus.
The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative builds on and expands the work of The Democracy Collaborative’s Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort, in which six urban universities – SUNY Buffalo State, Cleveland State University, Drexel University, Rutgers University-Newark, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Virginia Commonwealth University – collaborated in a multiyear process to pilot effective metrics for tracking anchor mission impact. The initiative will be informed by the best practices identified by this cohort, whose members will become members of the initiative.