Anchored in Our Community
At UMass Memorial Health, we understand that a person’s health isn’t solely a result of seeing a doctor for a checkup once a year. While physical health care is a contributor, a person’s overall health is dependent on many different factors – from having a home to live in, to having food on their table, to having a job and access to health care and education.
Our caregivers do a great job of keeping our community members well and nursing them back to health when they hit a bump in the road. But what happens when our community members don’t have fresh fruit and vegetables to eat; they don’t have a job, and therefore the money to buy clothes for their families; or they don’t have a safe and comfortable place to lay their heads at night? We know these factors contribute greatly to poor health, so we view it as our responsibility as an institution truly anchored in our community to do something about it. Well, that is where Anchor Mission comes in.
What’s an Anchor Mission?
Pursuing an Anchor Mission is a very different way of thinking about our organization. Like our Community Benefits program, it aims to improve the health and welfare of our community beyond our hospital’s walls, particularly in those areas suffering pervasive inequality and social disadvantage. But unlike our Community Benefits program, it does so by leveraging and redirecting the full economic and intellectual power of our organization. In this way, it can have a much larger impact and encourage other like-minded organizations to do the same. Our goal as an Anchor Mission Institution is to make sure our community members have access to resources that will improve their overall social, physical and financial health. So, how will we do so?
The Four Pillars of Our Anchor Mission
Our Anchor Mission work focuses on four areas, known as pillars:
- Investing – We will redirect 1% of our long-term investment portfolio, or $4 million, to invest in local projects to improve the welfare of our community. These may be projects that address affordable housing, homelessness, food insecurity and the like.
- Hiring – We will work with other workforce organizations in our community to intentionally hire individuals from some of the most disadvantaged areas of our community. In this way, we will not only help to transform neighborhoods, but we will also ensure our employee profile is truly reflective of our community.
- Purchasing – We will support local businesses by buying locally whenever possible, with a focus on areas of social disadvantage or ongoing inequality within our community.
- Volunteering – We will offer our employees volunteer opportunities where they can get involved and contribute to the mission of our organization outside of their traditional roles.
Additional Anchor Mission initiatives:
- Food is Medicine – This program includes a medically-tailored food pantry that will provide patients with personalized prescriptions for the healthy food they need, and also education to self-manage their chronic disease.