March 16, 2012; Source: Living Cities

Large nonprofits such as universities and hospitals sometimes have an uneasy relationship with their surrounding communities, enjoying tax-exempt status while competing for land, labor, donations and public investment. But according to a new study by the Baltimore-based Living Cities Design Lab, such “anchor institutions” are a key underutilized asset for regional economic vitality and equity. According to the authors, these anchor institutions can contribute to the regional economy in many ways, including:

  • Direct employment (hospitals or universities are the largest employers in approximately two-thirds of the nation’s largest cities)
  • Connecting a network of customers and suppliers on a scale that can influence spending patterns
  • Supporting and fueling industry clusters to tap emerging economic opportunities
  • Shaping the real estate market through investments in land and development activiti