Rockwell Hall seen through a sculpture

What Is an Anchor Institution?

Anchor Institutions are large institutions, such as universities, hospitals, nonprofits, and corporations that are rooted in place and serve as economic engines in the communities they serve. 

Western New York examples of Anchor Institutions include Buffalo General Medical Center, Mercy Hospital, and of course, Buffalo State.

Buffalo State as Anchor Institution

Since its founding as a normal school in 1871, Buffalo State has always been an anchor in the Buffalo community. From our early days of training teachers who educated youth throughout our urban community to our current role as one of the largest comprehensive schools in the SUNY system, Buffalo State is proud to be embedded in our rich and vibrant neighborhood.

We have a long history of programs that contribute to the health and well-being of neighbors and benefit economic, educational, health, and civic practices and programs throughout the neighborhood, city, and region.

Buffalo State's Anchor Impact

West Side Promise Neighborhood
West Side Promise Neighborhood (WSPN) has brought together 16 organizations across all sectors such as WEDI, City of Buffalo, WNY United, and Citizens Bank to facilitate conversations on strengthening opportunities for underserved children and families.


Burchfield Penney Art Center
The Burchfield Penney commits to inspire, invest in, and celebrate historical and contemporary artists; energizing the WNY community and Buffalo State through meaningful and educational experiences; and will sustain and enhance our culture and environment.


Anne Frank Project
The Anne Frank Project (AFP) uses storytelling as a vehicle for community building, conflict resolution, and identity exploration. AFP has provided 50 visits to local schools and organizations annually and implemented National Social Justice Festivals for thousands of attendees.


Voter Registration Drives
Buffalo State is committed to helping develop civically-engaged students. 1,260 students were registered during voter registration drives in 2019 alone. The Civic and Community Engagement Office hosted a “Voting 101: Why and How” virtual webinar in partnership with Student Leadership and Engagement. Sixteen faculty/staff members were trained to help register students to vote.

Voter-Friendly Campus

Tax Preparation Assistance
In partnership with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Buffalo State became a location where students and community members can complete and file their taxes for free, using online software with support from a small team of volunteers. In its pilot year (2019), 100 individuals attended over three sessions. This is now an annual initiative – sign up for free tax help.

Free Tax Help

Business Incubation
SUNY Buffalo State’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is one of the largest business incubators in Western New York that actively works to help, launch, and grow small businesses across our community. The office aims to support a more equitable WNY economy helping to launch more than 100 minority and women-owned businesses in 2019 alone.


Institutional Procurement
SUNY Buffalo State also supports the Buffalo economy by directing procurement to local, women, and minority-owned businesses whenever possible. In 2019, Buffalo State purchased $1.4M in goods from local small businesses. On a much broader level, it is estimated that Buffalo State contributes $680M to the local economy.

Local & Equitable Hiring
SUNY Buffalo State is also committed to equitable hiring practices. As of 2019, 35.3% of faculty and staff were Buffalo residents and 22% of all employees are of minority descent. 

Community Academic Center (CAC)
The CAC provides reciprocal, high-quality learning opportunities for Buffalo State faculty, students, staff, and community members of all ages. Since opening in 2011, the Community Academic Center has engaged more than 3,489 Buffalo State students, faculty, and staff to support over 12,980 youth and adults on Buffalo’s West Side.


Service Learning
Since 2004, 15,431 students have participated in 820 service-learning courses taught by 137 faculty members from numerous academic departments with 250 community organizations. Over 360,000 hours of service have been completed through service-learning and 103 volunteer events from programs across our Alternative Break programming

Service Learning

Professional Development Schools (PDS)
Professional Development Schools has partnered with more than 45 schools locally, regionally, and internationally. The consortium has expanded its commitment to developing children, teachers, and faculty as global citizens and increasing the capacity of schools to improve educational outcomes.

Professional Development Schools

Urban Teacher Academy
The Urban Teacher Academy is designed to develop a diverse generation of educators for the Buffalo Public Schools. A collaboration between Buffalo State and Buffalo's McKinley High School (both located on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, NY), this supportive program for high school students will take an innovative approach to educating future educators.

Urban Teacher Academy

Adult Education
Buffalo State’s graduate program in adult education teaches best practices for improving the way adults live and work through advanced learning and prepares individuals to serve in leadership roles in both adult education and human resource development fields.

Adult Education

Institute for Community Health Promotion (ICHP)
ICHP supports the expansion of the continuum of health care in the areas of prevention, health promotion, and chronic disease management with a range of activities directed toward populations and individuals across the lifespan. Those activities include community-based universal prevention and programs targeting health risks, social services, schools, and businesses. The institute also works to create strong affiliations with Buffalo State academic departments.


Center for Health & Social Research (CHSR)
The Center for Health and Social Research (CHSR) facilitates the initiation, implementation, and continuation of research and education at Buffalo State on health and social issues, especially related to alcohol and drug abuse. To achieve this, CHSR competes for and attracts external resources to expand the overall capabilities of SUNY Buffalo State to provide quality education, scholarship, and service. CHSR studies both basic and applied research issues in which community-based collaborations with service organizations, various governmental agencies, health professionals, and academics at other institutions are an integral component.


West Side Youth Development Coalition (WSYDC)
The WSYDC has two main objectives: to enhance the capacity of the coalition and to reduce the use of illegal drugs by youth. WSYDC strategies include coalition meetings, public events (festivals, fairs, walks), print and multimedia campaigns, trainings (TIPS, Graffiti, NARCAN, etc.), curriculum development, policy development, and community group sponsorships.


Get Involved

Student and President Conway-Turner looking at a poster
Students Join Our Mission!
Faculty member and student at a forum
Faculty & Staff Engaging Students
Students looking at a laptop
Community Think Globally, Act Locally
CUMU logo

Anchor Learning Network

Founded by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), the Anchor Learning Network (ALN) facilitates rapid and effective advancement of the anchor mission within member institutions, in home communities, and across the higher education sector. 

The ALN currently includes 30+ schools with Buffalo State being one of the initial six institutional cohorts named in 2014. 

About the ALN