Anchor Institutions Toolkit: A guide for neighborhood revitalization

Posted by on March 9, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to inform you about a new publication by the Netter Center for Community Partnership’s at the University of Pennsylvania, Anchor Institutions Toolkit: A guide for neighborhood revitalization.  It is available at our website,

The Anchor Institutions Toolkit was developed through support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

This is a Toolkit for Anchor Institutions to use as a guide to rebuild, revitalize, strengthen and improve their local communities.

Each of the tools in this kit was developed and implemented by the University of Pennsylvania working with stakeholders of West Philadelphia, Penn’s local geographic community, including neighborhood associations, city officials and city agencies, local businesses, nonprofits and higher education institutions as appropriate.

The toolkit provides an overview of Penn’s trajectory in recognizing and acting upon its role as an anchor institution; prior to  and including the launching of a major effort in 1996 –  the West Philadelphia Initiatives.  The toolkit draws from Penn’s work in West Philadelphia focusing primarily on the initiatives that were launched under the leadership of then President Judith Rodin.  The toolkit’s goal is to help other anchor institutions understand the steps that were taken by Penn, the challenges the institution faced and the results.  The initiatives embody the tools utilized by Penn to effect significant major transformation and revitalization in West Philadelphia. The toolkit follows the work up to 2007, under the current leadership of President Amy Gutmann, whose Penn Compact challenges Penn to engage locally to advance central values of democracy: life, liberty, opportunity and mutual respect.

When an anchor institution considers beginning a process of engagement to improve their community, a number of questions arise. Some of which may include: how does an institution determine if it is an anchor? How does an anchor determine its capacity for engagement? How does an anchor get started?  And how does an anchor work best with its adjacent neighbors?

We look forward to your comments on the toolkit.


Joann Weeks
Associate Director, Netter Center for Community Partnerships
University of Pennsylvania

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