Leveraging Our Strength to Benefit Our Community
Medical research is increasingly clear: The root causes of many diseases and chronic conditions that shorten the lives of West Side residents link back not to genetics or poor choices, but to social, economic and environmental factors.
Rush University Medical Center is the largest employer on Chicago's West Side and spends millions of dollars on goods and services each year. Our Anchor Mission Strategy outlines the ways in which we channel that economic power to improve the economic vitality of West Side neighborhoods and help residents achieve better health. We strive to address the causes of poor health, not simply treat the symptoms of disease.
The strategy, which incorporates the following four commitments, drives our efforts to concentrate the impact of how we hire, purchase, invest and volunteer in 12 of the West Side communities we serve.
- Hire locally and develop more local talent: We are steadily increasing the number of new employees we hire from these 12 neighborhoods by partnering with citywide community-based organizations to align our hiring needs with job candidates' skills. We are also developing programs that help our current entry-level employees advance their careers within Rush.
- Buy and source locally: We know that the Medical Center's purchasing power can maximize economic development at the neighborhood level. Our purchasing managers are connecting with local vendors to increase the amount of goods and services we source directly from the West Side.
- Invest locally: In partnership with local community development finance institutions, we have begun to invest capital in community-based organizations and projects that lack access to traditional lenders but have demonstrated the ability to create the wealth communities need — for example, affordable housing. These "impact investments" are not donations or grants; they are business loans that we expect will return a small profit and an even greater social impact.
- Volunteer locally: Rush employees and students have always volunteered thousands of hours for dozens of organizations each year. We put in place a volunteer time-off policy that allows them to be paid for some of this volunteer time, which will enable even more people to contribute to community-building work.