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What is an anchor institution?

Boston Children’s is an “anchor institution” for our local community.

What does it mean to be an anchor? How does it benefit residents in our community? Being an “anchor” refers to a framework for making business decisions around hiring, purchasing, and investing that consider the impact on the health of an institution’s local community.

Since 2018, Boston Children’s has been a committed and proud member of the Healthcare Anchor Network, a national network of more than 70 hospitals and health care systems working to build more inclusive and sustainable local economies.

Four focus areas

The anchor strategy puts corporate goals and business practices in place to address economic and racial inequities, and aims to help improve community conditions that contribute to poor health. There are four pillars:

  1. Hiring and Workforce Development. Boston Children’s partners with community organizations to recruit, hire, and train individuals from neighboring communities to ensure that employees are reflective of the communities we serve.
  2. Purchasing. Boston Children’s supports community businesses by buying locally whenever possible, with a focus on increasing the participation of minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.
  3. Investment. Boston Children’s is investing in local projects that can produce significant health and social returns for our community. This includes projects that address affordable housing, early childhood education, youth engagement, and mental health efforts.
  4. Sustainability. Boston Children’s is implementing approaches to advance reductions in hospital-generated greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to local climate resilience.

The Boston Children’s anchor strategy builds upon and amplifies the work of the hospital’s community mission to improve the health and well-being of children and families.

A collaborative internal effort

The hospital’s anchor strategy is a collaborative effort. The Office of Community Health convenes a work group with staff from the President’s Office, Investment Office, Facilities, Human Resources, Patient Services, Purchasing, Supply Chain Management, and the Office of General Counsel to coordinate and align this work.

Human Resources advances the strategy by partnering with community-based organizations to actively recruit from underrepresented communities, developing programs to engage job seekers for high-demand positions at Boston Children’s, providing English skill development training when needed, and working with staff on building career paths.

Supply Chain Management has increased the number of contracts with minority- and women-owned business vendors. It hosts Supplier Diversity Days to give suppliers an opportunity to present products and services, and it’s mentoring others on securing certification with minority and women business councils.

With support from the hospital’s Investment Office and a Community Investment Advisory Committee, the Office of Community Health is pursuing “impact” investments in affordable housing, local minority business development, and early childhood facilities.