Three year partnership advances anchor mission for 31 CUMU members

The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) is pleased to announce the launch of the Anchor Learning Network, a three-year partnership with The Democracy Collaborative (TDC), an international research institute dedicated to developing new strategies for a more democratic economy. The partnership will allow participating CUMU member institutions to explore and advance an anchor mission—using their educational and operational place-based assets to advance the well-being of the communities they serve.

The Anchor Learning Network is supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, whose work focuses on strengthening families, building stronger communities and ensuring access to opportunity.

Higher education institutions are critical local economic and intellectual engines inextricably linked to the long-term well-being of their home communities. Because of their commitment to and investment in their communities, higher education leaders are positioned to play more active roles in supporting local economies, advancing racial equity, and reversing legacies of exclusion and disinvestment.

Understanding that all communities have different contexts and histories, participating members will explore opportunities to advance anchor mission strategies in multiple areas—hiring, workforce development, small business and innovation centers, purchasing, real estate, supplier diversity, affordable housing, and community investing—while also advancing racial equity through anchor work.

Members of the Anchor Learning Network will address these issues via a peer learning framework and will participate in facilitated learning exchanges as well as webinars that focus on the core theories and policies of developing and sustaining an anchor mission strategy. The group will also leverage the Anchor Dashboard to utilize data to evaluate outcomes and assess impacts. The first meeting for the group will take place October 20, 2019 at Drexel University during the 2019 CUMU Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA.

The CUMU conference theme, All In: The Urban Mission, serves as an ideal backdrop for the first convening of the Anchor Learning Network. The theme asks CUMU members to reflect on how the urban mission can be fully integrated, from real estate assets to college readiness pipeline programs, and into their operations, structure, partnerships and academic objectives. Dozens of anchor-mission presentations, many from Anchor Learning Network participants, will highlight how campuses are investing in and activating this important work.

The Anchor Learning Network builds on the success of the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative, a year-long pilot program launched in 2018 by CUMU and TDC. The pilot program brought together colleges and universities to explore how they could more rapidly and effectively advance an anchor mission strategy within their institutions, higher education, and the communities they serve.

The 31 CUMU members that have committed to the Anchor Learning Network are:

  • Augsburg University
  • Buffalo State, SUNY
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Cleveland State University
  • College of Staten Island
  • Drexel University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Georgetown University
  • Indiana University Northwest
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Marquette University
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Metropolitan State University
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Rutgers University–Camden
  • Rutgers University–Newark
  • Towson University
  • The University of Chicago
  • University of Denver
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • University of Michigan–Dearborn
  • University of Missouri–St. Louis
  • University of San Diego
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Wagner College
  • Weber State University
  • York University (Canada)

CUMU members interested in learning more about the Anchor Learning Network should email