Community Economic Development refers to actions taken locally by a community to provide economic opportunities and improve social conditions in that community in a sustainable way. Universities and other large institutions play an important role in these kinds of activities, leading to their designation as "anchor institutions" for their communities.
At UChicago, the Office of Civic Engagement designates "anchoring" as one of the four principal roles of the University of Chicago for the mid-South Side and across the Chicagoland region. UChicago is the largest private employer on the South Side, purchases millions of dollars in goods and services from area vendors, and is deeply involved in community development and reinvestment strategies throughout the city. Our UChicago Local initiatives, in particular, employ a community economic development strategy.
Throughout Chicago, many communities are supported by not-for-profit chambers of commerce (like the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce) that promote economic development for their neighborhoods. In some areas, like Woodlawn, their efforts are complemented by community development organizations (like the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation) focused on one or more specific aspects of development, e.g. housing.
Want to learn more about how you can support the local community economic development efforts of the University? Visit the Office of Civic Engagement website!