Introducing the Anchor Opportunity Network for the NY-NJ-CT Region

Our region is home to many esteemed colleges and universities, hospitals, libraries, museums and other public and non-profit institutions. From Rutgers to Yale, Mt. Sinai to Montefiore, from the Dia:Beacon to the Liberty Science Center, these institutions are enduring “anchors” in their community. Communities around the nation are engaging with these so-called anchor institutions as part of a holistic community development strategy. Now RPA is bringing together a group of leaders from local municipalities, anchor institutions and local neighborhoods to scale this powerful strategy across our region.

The  Anchor  Opportunity  Network (AON)  is engaging anchor  institutions, municipal  leaders and neighborhood stakeholders  across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to  create and sustain meaningful partnerships that are  leveraging financial and human resources to drive community  well-being and equitable economic growth. RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan highlights the unique  and powerful role that  partnerships  between anchor  institutions and  their local communities  can play  in creating  a virtuous economic  cycle that addresses the  growing health, educational  and wealth disparities in our  region, strengthening these institutions and  the communities they serve.

Together  as a connected regional Anchor Opportunity Network, we  are learning from one another and supporting regional  and local efforts to unlock opportunities in local hiring and workforce development; inclusive, local purchasing; coordinated capital investments; and investment in quality housing. What we’ve found in our region and across the country is that when  leaders from anchor institutions, municipalities and local neighborhoods sit at the same table to share information, build relationships, and work toward a shared mission, they can make real progress in moving the needle to solve the complex challenges facing our urban areas.

We’re seeing that the answers to many of the seemingly  intractable challenges we face as a region and in local neighborhoods  lie in the spaces between sectors and individual job descriptions.  By leveraging the human and financial resources of anchor institutions and their local neighborhoods we can address  the core challenges that perpetuate poverty and inequality- access to jobs, access to quality housing, access to quality education  and access to healthy neighborhoods. When we innovate and collaborate, we can unlock untapped opportunities that already exist in our local communities to meet these challenges.

We invite anchor institutions, municipal leaders and community voices from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to join the Anchor Opportunity Network and engage with a dynamic group of leaders who are learning from experience, shaping public policy and working together to create healthy, equitable and sustainable communities.


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