Anchor Institutions Funders’ Group

New Publication!
Anchored in Place: How Funders Are Helping Anchor Institutions Strengthen Local Economies, a new report issued by the Funders’ Network as part of our Anchors Institution Funders’ Group, examines the potential these deeply rooted local enterprises hold to create lasting and sustainable change—and illustrates how funders are working with anchor institutions to create healthier, more equitable, and economically vibrant places to live and work.

Read the full report below, or download a copy here.

Our Purpose

The Anchor Institutions Funders’ Group exists to leverage the power of anchor institutions to create economic opportunities and stronger communities for low-income workers and small businesses.


Anchor institutions are rooted in their communities by mission, invested capital or relationships to customers, employees and vendors. While many people think of universities and hospitals when they think of anchors institutions, many anchor institutions are moving beyond that narrow definition and are expanding to include entities such as sports stadiums, libraries, museums, school districts and municipal governments.

In recent years, place-based and national funders have come to recognize the power of anchor institutions to create economic opportunity in their communities by purchasing, hiring and investing locally. While individual anchor institutions hold enormous influence within their communities, networks of anchor institutions hold tremendous potential for making large-scale change.  In addition, some anchor institutions are using their influence and resources to build healthier communities through such things as addressing the social determinants of health, especially in lower-income communities.  Funders from around the country are directing human and financial capital toward the development of anchor networks that can realize their potential as change-makers in their communities.

About Us

The Anchor Institution Funders’ Group began with a small group of funders who are making grants and investments in anchor institutions. Interest in the AIFG has recently surged as more funders are recognizing the role that anchor institutions can play in spurring greater economic opportunity in their communities. Our strategies include:

  1. Connecting funders to learn together about why and how funders can catalyze and support individual anchor institutions and networks of anchor institutions.
  2. Exploring opportunities for funders to work together to build the emerging field of anchor institutions.
  3. Sharing knowledge with funders to advance their awareness of best practices in providing leadership in the anchor institutions field and high-impact ways to financially support and invest in anchor institutions.

Participation in the AIFG is open to public and private foundations and corporate grantmakers who support the mission. Government funders that demonstrate a deep commitment to the work of the AIFG also may participate. Funders are encouraged to support the AIFG by being a member of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, as well as through program-specific contributions and grants that directly support implementation of the AIFG work plan

Steering Committee Members

Charles Rutheiser, Chair
Senior Associate, Center for Civic Sites and Community Change, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Shawn Escoffery 
Program Director for Strong Local Economies, Surdna Foundation

Eric Muschler
Program Officer, The McKnight Foundation


Contact Alicia Kitsuse
(305) 667-6350