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Truly Tapping the Nonprofit Sector


We all know the impact the recession has had on communities across the nation, and the role nonprofit organizations played (and continue to play) in filling the gaps left by the economic downturn. What is less frequently discussed is the unique role large institutional nonprofits, like universities and hospitals, fill in creating economic vitality. Nonprofit Quarterly recently featured a study by Baltimore-based Living Cities Design Lab that analyzed the contributions of such “anchor institutions” to regional economies.

The study identified a number of ways anchor institutions contribute to the regional economy:

  • 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 activities
  • Exercising civic leadership

Check out the Nonprofit Quarterly summary, as well as the Living Cities report, “Harnessing the Full Economic Impact of Anchor Institutions” for more information and Living Cities’ tips for creating “regional alignment.”