Structural change requires broad community coalitions. But organizations can also take steps independently to adopt equitable business practices, invest in economic development, and demonstrate their commitment to the community, ultimately serving as a true anchor institution.
Rush University Medical Center started by determining how they could better serve their “first community”—their staff. Internal champions, including Dr. David Ansell, the SVP of Community Health Equity, successful advocated for an organization-wide $15 minimum wage and the creation of career pipelines for local residents and entry-level incumbent staff.
Rush also realized they could channel their resources to strengthen locally owned businesses. Leaders re-engineered their supply chain processes to ensure they purchase from as many local businesses as possible. They also dedicated $6 million in social impact loans by partnering with Community Development Financial Institutions.