April 28, 2011
Whether in a small town or a booming metropolis, a college or university can bring a unique collection of assets to the community. With a spirited group of students and a highly educated faculty with unique perspectives, these academic institutions can provide added value and opportunity as it pertains to sports, culture, entertainment and economic growth. When these attributes—along with a willingness to cultivate a trusting partnership—are combined with a city's established neighborhoods, businesses and culture, the potential for further community enhancement is great.
For well over a hundred years, Rollins College and the City of Winter Park have shared this type of strong and collaborative relationship. Through its commercial enterprises, cultural contributions and distinguished scholarly presence in the Winter Park landscape, Rollins continues to enhance the lives of business people and residents both within the city and throughout the greater Central Florida community.
In order to fully appreciate the benefits Rollins has on its greater community, several years ago the College commissioned and released an Economic & Community Impact Study outlining its economic, social and cultural contributions to the Winter Park and broader Central Florida and state communities. Based on that study and updated information, here are some highlights of Rollin’s impact on the community:
Economic Development Impact
• Contributes more than $200 million to the Florida economy and supports more than 3,000 jobs.
• Generates more than $14 million in state tax revenue through its operations.
• Contributes over $60 million and is responsible for generating over $3.5 million in revenue for Winter Park.
• Promotes economic development within Central Florida by educating and connecting local business leaders and philanthropists through Rollins’ leadership and executive education programs.
• With the upcoming construction of the Alfond Inn at Rollins, the College anticipates adding 200 interim and 100 permanent full-time jobs to the local workforce.
• Since 1998, Rollins has paid nearly $4.5 million (cumulatively) in Orange County property taxes—over half of that was paid in the last four years (2007-2010).
• Although a nonprofit institution, the College pays a greater portion of its assessed value in taxes than any of the other top six exempt property owners in Winter Park.
• With the addition of the Alfond Inn (scheduled to open in 2013), the College projects property taxes to increase to more than $800,000 annually (a 1,000 percent increase over a 15-year period).
• The Olin Library collection features hundreds of thousands of volumes, serials, videos, media and electronic databases that satisfy an interest in virtually any subject. Through its archives and special collections, the Olin Library also maintains detailed historical records on Rollins College and Winter Park.
• Cultural venues and programs at Rollins—which are open to the public—include the Annie Russell Theatre, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter With the Writers, the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park and the Winter Park Institute.
• The College supports 23 varsity sports, intramural sports and fitness and recreational activities. In addition to drawing community spectators, Rollins hosts hundreds of participants in sports camps and tournaments each year.
• Rollins has worked in partnership with the Winter Park to finance the design and construction of athletic facilities as well as the enhancement of existing athletic fields throughout the City.
• It is estimated that on an annual basis, more than $8 million is contributed throughout Winter Park and Florida through volunteerism and direct donations provided by the campus community.
• Rollins employees serve Winter Park by sitting on the boards of many local service organizations and public charities, including the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, The Mayflower Retirement Community, Habitat for Humanity, Winter Park Rotary Club, Winter Park Land Trust, the Winter Park Health Foundation and Florida’s Blood Centers.
• The Corporation for National and Community Service named Rollins to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for exemplary service efforts and service to disadvantaged youth. This the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for commitment to service learning and civic management.
• Florida Campus Compact recognized Rollins for its commitment to being engaged on campus. Of the organization’s 51 member colleges and universities, Rollins was honored with the inaugural engaged campus Best in Class award in the independent colleges and universities category as well as the Overall Statewide Award. For the last four consecutive years, a member of Rollins faculty has also received the distinguished Service-Learning Faculty Award in the independent category.
• In 2010, Rollins was awarded Community Organization of the Year by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.
“What started as an economic and community impact study ended up becoming a very interesting exploration into the remarkable relationship between Rollins and the City of Winter Park,” said Paul Umbach, senior principal at Tripp Umbach, the marketing research firm in Pittsburgh, Pa., that conducted the study. “Rollins was a pioneer in the ’90s with its development of SunTrust Plaza and is more innovative and community oriented than most colleges and universities.”
Born from a philosophy that places great importance on community engagement, Rollins was founded as a small liberal arts college by New England Congregationalists in 1885; two years later, the City of Winter Park was chartered. Over the course of the last 125 years, the College and the City have “grown up” together, developing a mutually beneficial relationship that has enhanced life in the region.
“Rollins has always given back to Winter Park and the greater Central Florida community in countless tangible ways,” said Jeff Eisenbarth, vice president for business and finance and treasurer. “Sustaining and enhancing a ‘partnership’ spirit between the College and the Central Florida community has always been a very high priority for us; we want our neighbors to view us as true economic, cultural and social partners.”
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