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Economic impact report press conference

Jan. 10, 2017
BioTech One Atrium

Thank you, Carrie [Roth], for that introduction. And Mayor Stoney, thank you for joining us and for bringing such energetic leadership to our city. I look forward to working closely with you to drive Richmond forward.

As the mayor mentioned, the growth and progress of VCU and our community are inextricably linked. Our university is focused on catalyzing the economy of our region so that all people have opportunities, on shaping the culture so that all people have a place, on building engagement so that all people have a voice.

We commit ourselves to being a force of good for Richmond.

For almost 180 years, the story of VCU has been the story of Richmond, and we have always committed to having a positive impact on our community. In 1838, a team of physicians founded what would become MCV to address a doctor shortage in the commonwealth. In 1917, RPI opened to serve the higher learning and service needs of our city.

When the two merged in 1968, VCU was born with “an obligation to relate itself to the community … and to participate in the solution of existing problems.”

This has been our driving mission ever since: to build a stronger university in a more vibrant city. We are proud to do what’s difficult, to tackle complex problems for Richmond and beyond. We want our legacy to be that people’s lives in Richmond are better because VCU is here. And we want to find measurable ways to show just how we do that.

We hear over and over again that VCU is a catalyst for Richmond, and that has never been truer. But what is more important is to capture that feeling with data so we can highlight the ways we have the greatest impact on our community, and see where we need to invest our resources to have the greatest return for the people of Richmond and the commonwealth.

For example, this report shows us that:

  • In the city of Richmond alone, VCU has a $1.5 billion impact, with $2 returned to the local economy for every dollar we spend. And we create 18,000 jobs in the city.
  • Move beyond the city, into the metro region, and our impact is $4 billion, with a $3.70 return on every dollar, and 47,000 jobs.
  • And our impact on the commonwealth of Virginia is nearly $6 billion, with $3.20 returned for every dollar, and 63,000 jobs.

We also found that:

  • VCU’s tax impact exceeds $40 million for Richmond, $165 million for our region, and nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars for the commonwealth.
  • Additionally, our students contribute more than a million and half hours of volunteer work equal to about $32 million.

All of this is significant. But it’s only part of the picture this report highlights. Just as important, just as impactful, are the university’s contributions to Richmond’s culture, diversity, regional stewardship and health care.

For example, our hospitals and clinics serve every patient from every background with every pathology, with the highest quality in the nation. And our focus on community health in particular helps make Richmond a stronger, healthier community.

We learned a lot from this report about what VCU has been, and what we should become. Our focus will be the people behind these numbers — the people of Richmond — and how we can continue to use our expertise, talents and resources to help solve some of the most challenging issues our city faces, including K-12 education, health disparities, housing and others.

These are the pressing issues the community has told us that VCU should help address — should help lead the community in solving. We have already begun work on these complex issues, and this report is a call to action to forge ahead in helping achieve what’s difficult.

Of course, we will not be alone in this. And I want to thank our partners in the community who contribute so much to VCU and help make us the exceptional university we are.

Among them is Barry Matherly, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership. He is indeed a great partner, and I’m happy to ask him to say a few words now.

Thank you.