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Boston Children’s: Anchor Institution

What is an anchor institution? And what does it mean for Boston Children’s? 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. In 2018, Boston Children’s joined the Healthcare Anchor Network, a national collaboration of 65 hospitals and health care systems working to build more inclusive and sustainable local communities. This commitment amplifies the community mission of Boston Children’s by incorporating into business practices a commitment to address economic and racial inequities in community conditions that are social contributors to poor health.

There are three pillars to an anchor mission:

  • Hiring and Workforce Development: Intentionally hiring and retaining individuals from neighboring communities to ensure that our employee profile is truly reflective of the community we serve and contributes to local economic well-being.
  • Purchasing: Supporting nearby businesses by buying locally whenever possible, with a focus on increasing participation of minority-owned businesses.
  • Investments: Investing in local projects that may have a below-market financial rate of return but that offer a social return such as projects that address affordable housing, food insecurity, and early childhood education.

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

Human Resources advances the strategy by partnering with over 20 community-based organizations to actively recruit from under-represented 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 minority- and women-owned business vendors the hospital has contracts with. It hosts Supplier Diversity Days to give suppliers an opportunity to present products and services, and mentoring others on securing certification with minority and women business councils.

With support from the hospital’s Investment Office, the Office of Community Health is pursuing some “impact” investments in affordable housing and minority business development. Read more on this here.

More updates on Boston Children’s as an Anchor Institution will be shared through Scope 360 and Look Now in the months ahead. Be sure to follow us on the Community channel.