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.