New “Anchor Opportunity Network” Will Link Municipal Governments, Higher Ed, Healthcare, Cultural, Civic Institutions Across Tri-State Area for Community Development

New “Anchor Opportunity Network” Will Link Municipal Governments, Higher Ed, Healthcare, Cultural, Civic Institutions Across Tri-State Area for Community Development

Communities Across the Nation are Engaging with these Institutions as Enduring Community Anchors; Launched by RPA and Dovetail, the Regional Anchor Opportunity Network Will Bring this Practice to Scale Here 
Implementation of Recommendations in RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan, a Once-in-a-Generation Vision for the Equity, Health, Sustainability & Shared Prosperity of the Region

New York, NY — The first official meeting of the newly formed regional Anchor Opportunity Network (AON) was held on Wednesday at Lehman College in the Bronx. The group’s steering committee consists of representatives from leading healthcare and higher education institutions as well as municipal and community leaders from across the Tri-State area. Its purpose is to help “anchor institutions,” including hospitals, universities, cultural organizations and other place-based entities, leverage and align their investments, advancing community well-being and promoting equitable economic growth. The network will serve to accelerate and strengthen efforts that have already been happening on an ad hoc basis around the region and nationwide, organizers from Regional Plan Association (RPA) and Dovetail announced today.  

“One of the benefits of this Network is the opportunity to get our individual organizations and communities to see that the seemingly intractable challenges we are taking on not only defy traditional, siloed approaches, but that many of those challenges are, in fact, regional in nature and can be more effectively addressed with cross sector, regional solutions,” said AON Steering Committee Member Peter Englot, Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff, Rutgers University-Newark.

“Anchor institutions have deep roots in the communities they serve and are uniquely capable of leveraging the capital and human resources that will improve their neighbors’ quality of life,” said Tom Wright, President of the Regional Plan Association. “If we give anchor institutions in the Tri-State area the tools they need to collaborate strategically and unlock their full potential, we will make significant progress in addressing the growing health, educational and wealth disparities in our region.”

“Hospitals and universities in our region are growing their investments in local communities using innovative models and forming new partnerships in a ‘win–win’ dynamic. As meaningful collaboration develops between anchor institutions, local neighborhoods, community developers and municipal planners, neighborhoods will become healthier and more economically connected.” Vincent J. Tufo, CEO, Charter Oak Communities & Executive Director, Dovetail: SIP, Inc.

The new Anchor Opportunity Network (AON) currently includes representatives from healthcare institutions, colleges and universities and place-based cultural institutions and the group is actively recruiting to expand its membership. AON will ultimately comprise representatives from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and the three sectors critical to this effort: anchor institutions, municipal government and local community stakeholders.

AON’s Steering Committee is comprised of representatives from the City of New Rochelle, City of Stamford, Columbia University, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey, Lehman College, Montefiore Health System, Newark Alliance, the Office of the Bronx Borough President, Rutgers University-Newark and Stamford Hospital.

In the immediate term, the Anchor Opportunity Network will pursue member engagement activities to strengthen its connection to the individuals and organizations who participated in initial roundtables, convenings and working group meetings, while attracting interest from new members. They will conduct site visits, webinars and other convenings; host subject-specific, facilitated focus group discussions and one-on-one meetings to engage regional leaders; and launch a web-based presence as the “place to go” for network resources and information.

RPA and Dovetail, a Connecticut-based organization that supports civic participation and collaboration, will provide backbone support for AON as the network is formalized.

The Anchor Opportunity Network grew out of recommendations in RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan, a once-in-a-generation vision for the equity, health, sustainability and shared prosperity of the region, published in November of 2017.

For more information on AON’s strategy, value and impact, please see the full report. To join the Anchor Opportunity Network, please contact Melissa Kaplan-Macey, Vice President, State Programs- [email protected].

About Regional Plan Association 

Regional Plan Association is an independent, not-for-profit civic organization that develops and promotes ideas to improve the economic health, environmental resiliency and quality of life of the New York metropolitan area. We conduct research on transportation, land use, housing, good governance and the environment. We advise cities, communities and public agencies. And we advocate for change that will contribute to the prosperity of all residents of the region. Since the 1920s, RPA has produced four landmark plans for the region, the most recent was released in November 2017. For more information, please visit or

About Dovetail: SIP

Dovetail Social Innovation Platform is the Stamford-based incubator for interconnected communities. We help align institutions, providers, governmental entities, research partners and community members to demonstrate the impact that cross-sectoral collaboration can have on society’s most complex - and persistent - challenges.  While assisting communities at the local level, we’re developing tools to make the movement scalable nationwide. Dovetail is also working to promote and popularize this growing movement so more people can experience positive change right in their own neighborhoods.  For more information, please visit  

# # #