Why would a health foundation care about the local economy?
Because we understand that building wealth is linked to improving health. So we convened a power-house group to do something about it.
In December 2017, the Health Foundation of South Florida, in partnership with Citi Community Development and Federal Reserve of Atlanta, held a convening for executives of South Florida anchor institutions—large organizations like health and education systems and local governments that are deeply rooted in our community.
The group demonstrated an interest in taking collective action towards building community wealth, and it identified two key areas of opportunity: supplier diversity and workforce development. In other words, how could the anchors come together to drive more of their multi-billion-dollar annual business spend toward local, small, diverse businesses? In addition, how could they ensure anchors were investing in local hiring and talent development?
That first convening concluded with a clear call to action: take meaningful steps toward building a coalition that would have a positive impact on South Florida’s economic vitality and resiliency.
That’s how the South Florida Anchor Alliance was born.
Armed with a new idea and a decisive direction, by early 2019 leaders from Health Foundation, the Alliance’s backbone organization, began reaching out to anchor institution CEO’s and Presidents, and human resource and procurement staff members at their respective organizations. Within a few months, workgroups for each Miami-Dade and Broward counties were established and began meeting. These meetings were attended by anchor staff members and leaders, who could provide invaluable institutional knowledge about strategic areas of opportunity and collaboration.
The result of those meetings: the creation of A Blueprint For Action, an ambitious, forward-thinking plan that has potential to be truly transformational for the South Florida local economy. In September 2020, the Alliance officially launched with the Back to Business Forum, designed to help local small and minority-owned businesses access more contracts and opportunities with the anchors. The groups continue to meet to identify more areas of collaboration and more opportunities.
If you are interested in learning more about the South Florida Anchor Alliance, please contact Vice President of Operations and Strategy Janisse Schoepp.