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There is a new hospital being built, a university expansion project, or a large public agency housed in your neighborhood, what is at stake for your community? What could these ‘anchor institutions’ have to do with solving extreme inequality and lack of opportunity? As a community organizer, how can you develop a strategy to transform an anchor institution?

From 2013 to 2016, community leaders organized for a community benefits agreement with the Berkeley Global Campus development in Richmond, CA. Their visions for change have translated into a massive mobilization of Richmond’s community through dedicated organizing and strategy-building. This toolkit includes video interviews, short guides, and presentation slides sharing some of the lessons learned about transforming the policies and practices of anchor institutions.

Introductions and Context Video

This toolkit arises from reflection on experiences from Richmond, California, where community member organized around the development of a major new university campus. This video introduces the people, place, and campaign.


What’s at stake for communities?

“Anchor institution” is not a common term, and often communities don’t realize the profound effect these institutions can have on local communities and economies. What are these effects? What can come out of concerted community organizing to transform an anchor institution? 

Download the “What’s at Stake” guide here.

What does it take?

Much of what it takes to organize a successful anchor institution campaign is similar to the key strategies for any campaign, but there are some unique aspects too. Here is what is unique about organizing anchor institution campaigns.

Download the "What does it take" guide here.

Coalition Building

Anchor institutions are oftentimes large institutions that can be hard to influence. Forming a coalition is a powerful way to build movement across communities, go beyond your usual allies, and increase your collective leverage in an anchor institution campaign. Here are tips on organizing a coalition to transform an anchor institution.

Download the "Coalition Building" guide here. 

Technical Assistance and Research

What kind of technical assistance is needed for a powerful community-driven campaign to transform an anchor institution? Where can a community go to get the right technical assistance? How can community groups and technical assistance providers work together to support a community-driven process? Here are strategies and tips on these questions, including a list of principles and tools for technical assistance, key topics and research questions, and some resources for gathering the needed information.

Download the "Technical Assistance and Research" guide here. 

Building Power and Understanding Leverage

Why is it important to think about power when working to transform an anchor institution? How do you analyze power with respect to building community-driven campaigns? Here are tips and strategies for analyzing power and identifying leverage points to transform an anchor institution.

Community Capacity Building

What are the key capacities that community residents must have to be part of and lead an anchor campaign? How do you ensure that residents who are the most impacted can meaningfully engage in decision-making? Here we provide strategies for building community capacity to transform anchor institutions.