Anchors and coops
An “anchor institution” is a large non-profit institution, classically a university or hospital, that is bound by place–unlike a corporation which has a lot of resources, but can easily move. Anchor institutions have more job creation potential and stability than most corporations, which local governments are always trying to lure away from their neighbors with sweeter tax deals. Supporting the community economy can come to be seen as a basic part of being such an institution.
In Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood—which is a poor, mostly black neighborhood with high unemployment and an average income of about $20,000—there now exists a complex of worker-owned and environmentally conscious companies called the Evergreen Cooperatives. The greenhouse, the laundry and the solar installation company employ over 80 community members, and all serve the three anchor institutions in the neighborhood—two major hospitals and a university. Those anchor institutions, which together purchase about $3 billion in goods and services a year, did their purchasing until recently almost entirely outside the community.
by Pamela Haines