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Collectively Impacting Economic Development

Collectively Impacting Economic Development

Inaugural CASE conference explores how anchor institutions can impact their communities

Case Conference - smalllerCASE (Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy), WBC’s initiative that brings together Chicagoland anchor institutions committed to impacting neighborhood economic development, held its inaugural CASE Conference: Driving Collective Impact Through Anchor Collaborative at the University of Illinois-Chicago this month. The conference took an in-depth look into how institutions can collectively impact economic development.

The conference featured Ted Howard of Democracy Collaborative and Ben Hecht of Living Cities as keynote speakers for an audience of  170 attendees from 29 cities and 20 states. Four panels featured a variety of speakers from public and private sector institutions, non profits, hospitals and health systems, foundations, universities, and more. Leaders from throughout the country collaborated on new and innovative ideas and shared best practices on how large anchor institutions can impact their communities.

The event showcased how a group of anchors can commit to a inclusive economic growth. The event was hosted by UIC, sponsored by Surdna Foundation’s Strong Local Economies program, and supported by the Polk Bros Foundation and the fifteen CASE anchor institutions.

Each of the panels was summarized by Sketch Effect, a service that graphically records the sessions in real time to provide a visual recap:

Keynote: Ted Howard, Executive Director, Democracy Collaborative 


Panel: Decoding Anchor Supply Chains for Inclusive Economic Growth 

Panelists: Nim Chinniah, Executive Vice President, Northwestern University; Jeff Hornstein, Director of Financial & Policy Analysis, Office of the Philadelphia Controller; John Rogers, Founder and CEO, Ariel Investments; Robert Weissbourd, President, RW Ventures; MODERATOR: Omar Blaik, Founder and CEO, U3 Advisors

Panel: Leveraging Partnerships to Accelerate Small Business Impact 

Panelists: Jon Aram, Founder and CEO, Next Street Financial; Bill Krugler, President, Milwaukee JobsWork; Lindsay Mueller, Midwest Director, Small Business Majority; William Towns, Executive Director, Benefit Chicago MODERATOR: Kevin Boes, President & CEO, LISC’s New Markets Support Company (NMSC)

Keynote: Ben Hecht, President & CEO, Living Cities 

Panel: Collective Impact of Anchor Collaboratives

Panelists: Matt Enstice, President and CEO, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus; Nitika Nautiyal, Executive Director, Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE); Randy Royster, President & CEO, Albuquerque Community Foundation; Kurt Sommer, Director, Baltimore Integration Project, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers; MODERATOR: Ben Hecht, President & CEO, Living Cities

Panel: The Role of Anchors as Agents of Policy Change

Panelists: MarySue Barrett, President, Metropolitan Planning Council; Barbara Otto, Chief Executive Officer, Health & Disability Advocates; Julie Sinai, Policy Director, Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF); Joanna Trotter, Senior Program Officer, The Chicago Community Trust; MODERATOR: Erika Poethig, Director of Urban Policy Initiatives, Urban Institute

For more information on CASE visit

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