News & Announcements

CSU Joins Anchor Mission Initiative

SkylineJoining 30 other colleges and universities across the United States, Cleveland State University has been selected as an inaugural member of the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative. The national collaborative 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.

Higher education institutions like CSU are anchor institutions: 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. By intentionally implementing an anchor framework the whole university, including the business and administrative divisions, will be able to better serve its public mission. The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative will provide a national platform to accelerate this important work.

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.

According to Ted Howard, TDC President, “colleges and universities in the US 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.”

Recognizing this potential, CUMU has worked with TDC to select leading higher education institutions from its membership to join the Initiative as inaugural members. For CUMU Executive Director Bobbie Laur, “The Initiative is invaluable to CUMU 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. 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.”

CSU’s participation in the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative will help deepen its existing commitment to the Cleveland community, exemplified by its numerous strategic partnerships with local hospitals, companies, schools and not-for-profit institutions. It will also further enhance the university’s Engaged Learning model of education, which provides experiential learning opportunities for students outside the classroom while providing workforce and research assistance to area businesses and organizations.

The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative builds on and expands the work of The Democracy Collaborative’s “Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort,” in which six urban universities, including CSU, collaborated in a multi-year process to pilot effective metrics for tracking anchor mission impact. The Initiative will be informed by the best practices identified and data collected through the Cohort project

For more information on the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative, visit