The national collaboration is designed to develop and share new strategies for deploying higher education’s intellectual and place-based resources to enhance the economic and social well-being of the communities they serve. Georgetown University, John Hopkins University, Marquette University, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis are among the 31 colleges and universities serving as inaugural members.
Members of the initiative are local economic engines and mission-driven organizations inextricably linked to the long-term well-being of their local communities, and uniquely positioned and incentivized to play a more active role in supporting the local economy. UA Little Rock’s participation in the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative will help deepen the university’s existing commitment as a community partner and provide a national platform to accelerate this work.
“We are excited about the inclusion of UA Little Rock in the national Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative,” Chancellor Andrew Rogerson said. “Our university’s history is built on a solid foundation of outreach and service to our community. The anchor mission initiative will allow us to expand on the discussion of our role as a critical partner in the city of Little Rock and the central Arkansas region. We will benefit from learning best practices for engagement from 30 of our peer institutions. From this process wehope to learn how to measure our impact, broaden our partnerships, and use the university’s resources for the benefit of the greater community.”
As part of the initiative, a team of UA Little Rock faculty and staff members will undergo training on engagement approaches and methods, networking opportunities, and compilation of a data set that will allow the institutions’ benchmarking potential.
The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative is a joint project of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), a national organization dedicated to connecting urban universities and their partners, and The Democracy Collaborative (TDC), a national research institute developing strategies for a more democratic economy, and is supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
“Colleges and universities in the U.S. collectively employ over 4 million people, spend over $43 billion each year, and hold over half a trillion dollars in their endowments, which means their potential impact as community wealth building anchor institutions is enormous,” said TDC President Ted Howard.
Recognizing this potential, CUMU has worked with The Democracy Collaborative to select higher education institutions from its membership to join the initiative as inaugural members.
“Whether public or private, CUMU member institutions are anchored by place and recognize an obligation to their communities to address challenges and work with partners to find creative, equitable solutions,” CUMU Executive Director Bobbie Laur said. “This initiative will guide universities across the country to expand current collaborative work and to form more strategic partnerships that benefit the economic and social well-being of their communities.”