Document Type

White Paper

Original Date


Date of Submission

August 2015


In 2014-2015 the Division of Community Engagement and the Office of Planning and Decision Making undertook an effort to explore Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) impact through an anchor framework. Anchor institutions are place-based entities that are, “tied to their surroundings by mission, invested capital, or relationships to customers, employees, and vendors.” As such, they are significant economic drivers in the region. Universities are unique anchors because they can also leverage their knowledge generating capacity and partnerships to improve community well-being.

This effort included a review of the concept of anchor institutions and how that concept has been applied to universities. Of particular interest was identifying best practices for assessment of the impact of academic anchor institutions. Based on the literature review, an assessment framework was applied to VCU as a means to pilot how VCU could use such a framework to describe and assess its role in the region.

Is Part Of

VCU Division of Community Engagement