The term ‘anchor institutions’ originates in Cleveland, Ohio, in the USA. Large non-profit organisations with a long term stake in the place committed to: work together, buy from local businesses and, when opportunities arise, set up ‘Evergreen Co-ops’ to deliver services, employing people disadvantaged in the local labour market. By doing this they hope to make their operations more sustainable whilst supporting the local community. Preston Council has adopted this model, including setting up worker co-ops to help create community wealth.
In fact the Cleveland project resulted from an analysis of the immensely successful Mondragon Corporation. Mondragon is a corporation and federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain. It was founded in the town of Mondragoe in 1956 by graduates of a local technical college. Its first product was paraffin heaters. Now it has diversified over man sectors and has assets of €24.7billion. At the link is a report by the MIT Community Innovators Lab identifying the similarities and differences between the co-operative economies of Mondragon and Cleveland, and setting out key ingredients for a “Sustainable Economic Democracy”:
- Sustainable Economic Activity – MIT Community Innovators Lab – Oct 2010
In August 2013, Preston City Council, UK and the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) worked in partnership to see if by drawing on the Cleveland example, the local Anchor Institutions could be mobilised to help build community wealth and well-being in the city and in Lancashire as a whole. At the link is a report on their undertakings:
- Creating a Good Local Economy – CLES – Apr 2015