UofL joins nationwide initiative to grow community partnerships

By Brandy Warren -

The UofL community volunteered with New Directions Housing Corporation to help area residents repair homes during the April 13-14 Day Of Service.

The University of Louisville is one of 31 colleges and universities in the U.S. to join as an inaugural member of the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative.

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, a national research institute developing strategies for a more democratic economy and supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Ralph Fitzpatrick, vice president for community engagement, said UofL’s membership will deepen its existing commitment as a community partner.

“The University of Louisville is uniquely positioned as a major community anchor to lend its expertise and voice in addressing many of the region’s, particularly metro Louisville, community-based educational, economic, civic and social challenges,” Fitzpatrick said. “Sharing our experiences and learning from one another through this initiative will enable us to do even more to help our communities.”

Fitzpatrick will travel to Virginia Commonwealth University in June for a kick-off for the new initiative. The member groups will work together to share ideas on community engagement and metrics for measuring success, and provide professional development opportunities.

CUMU Executive Director Bobbie Laur said the initiative will be invaluable to 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,” Laur said.

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 — SUNY Buffalo State, Cleveland State University, Drexel University, Rutgers University-Newark, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Virginia Commonwealth University — 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 by this cohort, whose six members will become members of the Initiative.

“Colleges and universities in the U.S. 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,” said Ted Howard, president of The Democracy Collaborative.

More information, including a full list of member schools, is available online

Source: UofL joins nationwide initiative to grow community partnerships (UofL News, April 17, 2018)