The Transformative Power of Anchor Institutions


  • Emily Sladek The Democracy Collaborative



anchor mission


Everyone knows by now that colleges and universities are “anchor institutions”: important place-based engines that play key roles in local economies. But the raw facts of size and place are just the beginning of the story; what matters is not just the fact that anchors have an impact on communities, but what kind of impact they have, and on what terms. It is one thing to be an anchor institution. It is another to consciously and intentionally adopt an anchor mission, leveraging all available institutional and operational resources for community benefit.

Author Biography

Emily Sladek, The Democracy Collaborative

Manager of Higher Education Engagement
The Democracy Collaborative
1200 18th Street NW, Suite 1225
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 559-1473 x127

Ms. Sladek is the Manager of Higher Education Engagement at the Democracy Collaborative. She leads the Collaborative's higher education programming and in partnership with the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, manages the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative that includes over 30 public and private universities and colleges from across North America. She earned a Master of Public Administration from The Evergreen State College with a focus on research and evaluation for academic bridge programs (TRiO) as well as the Gateways for Incarcerated Youth program, which provides education pathways to youth in the juvenile offender system. Previously, she interned with the Peace Economy Transitions program at the Institute of Policy Studies identifying best practices in community-led economic development in converting the defense industry to civilian uses.