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Economic Impact Report

Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017

Dear VCU and VCU Health Community:

This morning, we released a comprehensive report of Virginia Commonwealth University’s impact on our city, region, and state. This report, titled “VCU’s Impact on the Region: Talent, Innovation, and Collaboration,” highlights our economic and cultural impacts and our role as a regional steward.

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 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.”

In the years since, we have proudly done exactly that: focused on doing what’s difficult, on tackling complex problems for Richmond and beyond. We want our legacy to be that people’s lives are better because VCU is here.

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 in which 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.

Among the report’s highlights:

  • VCU has a $1.5 billion impact on Richmond, with $2 returned to the local economy for every dollar we spend. VCU creates 18,000 jobs in the city.
  • Our impact on the Greater Richmond Region is $4 billion, with a $3.70 return on every dollar, and 47,000 jobs.
  • Our impact on the Commonwealth of Virginia is nearly $6 billion, with $3.20 returned for every dollar, and 63,000 jobs.
  • 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.

You may access the full report here.

We learned a lot from this report about what VCU has been and what we should become. Our focus must be the people behind the 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. 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.

Thank you for all that you do on behalf of VCU and for the people who depend on us.


Michael Rao, Ph.D.
President, VCU and VCU Health