May 08, 2008
Rollins College released an Economic & Community Impact Study outlining its economic, social and cultural contributions to the Winter Park and broader Central Florida and state communities.
"In addition to the economic impact, Rollins College enriches the quality of life in Winter Park and Central Florida," said George Herbst, vice president of finance and treasurer. "It’s beneficial to institutions and their communities to periodically update the information so there is a clear understanding of the many contributions not-for-profits make to the community."
Rollins College relationship with the City of Winter Park is 121 years strong. Rollins was founded as a small liberal arts college by New England Congregationalists in 1885 and Winter Park was chartered two years later.
The economic impact analysis of Rollins College was conducted by the marketing research firm Tripp Umbach of Pittsburgh, Pa. One of the leading providers of economic impact analyses in the nation, the firm has completed hundreds of studies for renowned academic institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania.
Paul Umbach presented the study May 9 to the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and offered some interesting insights based on his national awareness of "town and gown" relationships.
"What started as an economic and community impact study ended up becoming an interesting study about the remarkable relationship between Rollins and the City of Winter Park," said Umbach. "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. The economic opportunities will continue to grow in the next 10 years and we'll see the golden era for Rollins and the City of Winter Park."
Here are some of the highlights of Rollins’ impact on the community identified in the Economic & Community Impact Study:
• In 2006, Rollins contributed more than $204.9 million to the Florida economy and supported more than 3,300 jobs. The College’s operations also generated more than $14.3 million in state tax revenue. In the City of Winter Park, Rollins had an economic contribution of over $57 million and was responsible for generating $3.4 million in tax revenue.
• Although Rollins is a non-profit institution, the College pays a greater portion of its assessed value in taxes than any of the other top six exempt property owners in the City of Winter Park. In fact, Rollins has added more property to the tax rolls in the last 10 years than it has removed.
• Rollins’ leadership and executive education programs promote economic development within the Central Florida region by educating and connecting local business leaders and philanthropists.
• Opened in 1999, Rollins’ SunTrust Plaza, situated on land that was formerly exempt from all property taxes, now serves as a major source of property and sales tax revenue for the City of Winter Park.
• SunTrust Plaza added Class A office and retail space and much-needed parking capacity to downtown Winter Park. This development has acted as a catalyst for additional economic development in the southern Park Avenue district. The taxes paid over the past 10 years on this property alone exceed the City’s loss of tax revenues on all properties purchased by the College for educational purposes.
• In addition to the development of SunTrust Plaza, the College’s business operations have initiated numerous activities that have helped to stimulate the Central Florida economy.
• In 2006, Florida businesses invested a total of $30.3 million in real property developments created to support their business activities with Rollins College. Business inventories in the state of Florida that can be attributed to Rollins-related business activities have been calculated to be $25.4 million.
• The Olin Library offers a wealth of information to members of the College and Central Florida communities. The library collection features hundreds of thousands of volumes, serials, video media and electronic databases that can satisfy interests in virtually any subject. Through its archives and special collections, the library also maintains detailed historical records of Rollins College and the City of Winter Park.
• Cultural offerings at Rollins College include the Annie Russell Theatre, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Music at Rollins, Winter With the Writers series, and programs of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, as well as academic courses in the arts. In addition, the College regularly hosts presentations by visiting speakers and scholars that are open to the public.
• Rollins is committed to preserving its three historic landmarks: the Annie Russell Theatre, Knowles Memorial Chapel and Pinehurst Cottage. In 2008, the College received both local and state awards for its preservation efforts.
• Athletic activities are an important part of the Rollins experience, with one in four students participating in intercollegiate sports. The College supports 23 varsity sports, intramural sports, and fitness and recreational activities. In addition to drawing community spectators to its numerous varsity games, Rollins hosts hundreds of participants in sports camps and tournaments each year.
• In 2003, Rollins loaned the City of Winter Park $237,500 for three years, interest free, to finance turf, utility, irrigation, and lighting work for the construction of a softball field at Lake Island Park. In addition, the College paid $320,000 to design and construct the softball stadium facility, then transferred title of the facility to the City.
• Rollins makes significant social contributions to the Central Florida region by engaging faculty, staff and students in a broad range of community service efforts.
• It is estimated that $7.9 million was contributed throughout Winter Park and Florida through volunteerism and direct donations provided by the campus community in 2006. The majority of volunteer hours logged by Rollins undergraduate students were not required. Students in the MBA program are required to complete at least eight hours of community service.
• Rollins employees serve the City of Winter Park by sitting on the boards of many local service organizations and public charities, including the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, Mayflower Retirement Community, Habitat for Humanity, Winter Park Rotary Club, Winter Park Land Trust, and Winter Park Health Foundation.
• Established in 2001, Rollins’ Office of Community Engagement works in conjunction with the Vision Team and Community Partnerships to enhance leadership, diversity and social justice through community service, activism, civic engagement and social change.
• In 2008, the Corporation for National and Community Service named Rollins College to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll With Distinction for exemplary service efforts and service to disadvantaged youth. This is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for commitment to service learning and civic engagement.
• In October 2007, Florida Campus Compact recognized Rollins for its commitment to being an engaged campus. Out of the organization’s 51 member colleges, Rollins was honored with the engaged campus Best in Class award in the independent category as well as the Overall Statewide Award.
Read the complete Economic & Community Impact Study.