As defined by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), an “anchor” institution is rooted in the local community in which it resides – rooted by mission, by invested capital, and by its relationships to students, employees, community partners, and vendors.  Anchor higher education institutions like MSU Denver are critical local engines and mission-driven organizations inextricably linked to the long-term well-being of those they serve.  They are socioeconomic ‘anchors’ in their metropolitan communities, in which they “intentionally apply their economic power and human capital in a long-term partnership with their local communities, to improve mutual well-being.”

Areas of focus for Anchor Institutions include:

[credit: CUMU & Democracy Collaborative, 2008]
14 Assets of Anchor Institutions
[credit: CUMU & Democracy Collaborative, 2008]


Center for Community Wealth Building (CCWB)

One of MSU Denver’s key partners in its anchor institution work is the Center for Community Wealth Building (CCWB).  As CCWB explains, community wealth building “lifts whole communities, both economically and socially. […it] encompasses a variety of efforts for empowering communities, creating and maintaining dignified jobs in locally grounded businesses, and reshaping and strengthening the framework of inclusivity.”  One aspect of CCWB’s strategies – and where MSU Denver directly partners with CCWB – is engaging with anchor institutions.  Namely, “Community Wealth Building works with place-based institutions such as hospitals, universities, and municipalities to craft and implement strategies that leverage institutions’ everyday business practices, think procurement, hiring, and endowment investments, to help close the racial wealth gap.”



Through a collaborative effort of twelve community organizations, ShopBIPOC was launched Fall 2022 with the goal of connecting buyers and sellers though a simple, easy-to-use online platform.

BIPOC is an acronym for Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color.  The term “acknowledge[s] that not all people of color face equal levels of injustice.” The ShopBIPOC website is designed to connect consumers who want to purchase from BIPOC-owned businesses with those businesses, and to allow BIPOC-owned businesses to expand their markets. Among other outcomes, this site aims to reduce the racial wealth gap.

Please visit ShopBIPOC.com to buy from local businesses and share the site if you know local BIPOC entrepreneurs.


Denver Anchor Network

The Denver Anchor Network (DAN), managed by the CCWB, is a group of anchor institutions who meet regularly to update one another about their anchor-related work, offer input and feedback, and discuss initiatives and projects.

Undergraduate Studies - Small Business Vendors

In collaboration with CCWB’s ShopBIPOC, Undergraduate Studies has created a list of caterers and vendors for MSU Denver faculty and staff to utilize as an option. All the vendors on the directory are Colorado Local, small businesses. Please visit the SharePoint for more information. 

Noteworthy News

March 2022

The MSU Denver Foundation has crafted a new Investment Policy Statement (“IPS”) in conjunction with efforts by the Foundation’s board to align its investment strategy with MSU Denver’s core values, especially diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.  To help implement the updated IPS, the Foundation is working with investment-management partner Syntrinsic.

This news relates to the University’s Anchor Institution work because Syntrinsic is a local company that works with an array of nonprofit organizations. Syntrinsic is a Denver-based, employee-owned investment-advisory firm focused on “an ethical, purpose-driven model for investing, using an environmental, social and governance lens to examine how corporations work on behalf of social goals beyond maximizing profits for shareholders.”