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Success Factors

This section defines key success factors that need to be present for an anchor collaborative to get started, build momentum, and be sustainable. The success factors were informed by the experiences of more than eighteen existing anchor collaboratives, the expertise of key informants and thought leaders, and the efforts of the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) and The Democracy Collaborative over the last decade to define the role of anchor institutions in building equitable local economies and community wealth. Many of these success factors also reflect HAN’s learnings since its inception in early 2017.

Success Factors for Anchor Collaboratives:

  • a shared imperative

  • activated champions

  • effective governance

  • collaboration with community

  • sustainable resourcing

  • quality data and impact measurement

  • strategic communications

Taken together, success factors reflect the importance of organizing and motivating anchor institutions and community partners, clearly defining goals and tracking progress, securing the resources necessary for the collaborative to function, and telling the story. These success factors are not necessarily unique to anchor collaboratives, and are consistent with guidance from practitioners in community and economic development circles who have thoroughly documented what it takes for place-based partnerships to succeed. In this section, we discuss these success factors within the context of the anchor mission framework.

The work of our peers and leading practitioners in community and economic development is referenced throughout this playbook, and resources for further reading are listed at the end of each subsection. While presented chronologically, the process of building the anchor collaborative and the success factors presented here are nonlinear, interdependent, and interconnected. For more information on foundational steps for collaborative development, see section 1.4: Getting Started: Forming the Collaborative and the Backbone.

For each success factor, we provide a brief definition of the concept and key takeaways from the section (called “What You Need to Know”). In each section, we also describe why the success factor matters to the collaborative’s success, offer steps for getting started, and share examples and perspectives from the field.

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