2016 CT Civic Action Summit Workshop: Anchor Institution
Anchor Institution, Melvyn Colón
The Anchor Institution Task Force, a national affinity group for “eds and meds” and other anchor institutions, describes anchor institutions as “enduring organizations that are rooted in their localities. It is difficult for them to leave their surroundings even in the midst of substantial capital flight.” They represent “stable local assets” that can “harness their resources in order to address critical issues such as education, economic opportunity, and health.” SINA, created 38 years ago, is a partnership between Trinity College, Hartford Hospital, and more recently, the CT Children’s Medical Center. These institutions worked together to build the Learning Corridor, a 16-acre campus that houses four magnet schools, a boys and girls club, and gallery, performance and community spaces, on what had been one of the most blighted and environmentally contaminated properties in the city. Currently SINA builds affordable housing for home ownership, promotes community engagement to improve quality of life, supports economic development efforts to link local residents and businesses to jobs and purchasing departments in the institutions, and encourages local high school students to pursue higher education.
Melvyn Colón – Executive Director of SINA
Before coming to SINA Melvyn served as Director of the Community Building and Organizing Initiative at NeighborWorks America, as the Loan Fund Director of YouthBuild USA, and as the Executive Director of Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation in Roxbury, MA. He has a long history of working constructively in multi-ethnic partnerships and coalitions. He joined the efforts of neighborhood residents, small business owners and agency directors to organize the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and served as board president of this coalition for two years. Melvyn also has teaching and administrative experience at Tufts University (Department of Urban and Environment Policy), University of Massachusetts (College of Public and Community Service), and as an assistant dean at Yale College. In addition, as an independent consultant, his projects have included work with The Community Development Collaborative in Pittsburgh; the Barr Foundation; the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, and Neighbor2Neighbor in Massachusetts. He has written for national journals on housing issues and in local Spanish language newspapers on transit oriented development. Melvyn earned a BA from Yale College, a Masters in City Planning from MIT and an Almost But Not Quite Ph.D. in Urban Studies at MIT.