A recent study commissioned by Hope College points to the college as a major economic engine in West Michigan, contributing $213 million annually to the local economy.
Noting that 80.5 percent of the college's revenue comes from outside the area studied, the study estimates that $1 in every $40 spent in the region is spent because of Hope, and that one out of every 40 people is in the region because of Hope, which creates 1,000 jobs in the area. In addition to spending by the college, students and visitors to campus, the total includes the earnings impact of the alumni who live in the region, the value of the college's cultural events, and the value of the more than 120,000 volunteer-service hours contributed annually by faculty, staff and students.
The study, which covered Ottawa and Allegan counties and was conducted by an independent research firm, analyzed data for the year covering July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.
The college shared the results during "The Impact of Hope College," a presentation sponsored by the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with a luncheon in the Maas Center at Hope. The event also included an overview of the college's $175 million "A Greater Hope
" comprehensive campaign, which was announced in October and will add several new buildings to campus and major enhancements of the college's endowment.
Reflecting on both the study and the campaign, Hope College President Dr. James E. Bultman put the emphasis on what the statistics and goals reflect: the interconnectedness of the college and community and how they enhance each other.
"All of us in this room are in this together to make this community the best that it can possibly be," he said. "Hope is one part of that."
"And we are so very grateful to have this college located in Holland, Michigan - basically in downtown Holland, Michigan," he said. "It's a tremendous asset for us to be located here."
"We have before us a great opportunity to make Hope a better place," Bultman said. "And when Hope is better, the whole community will be better - and when the whole community is better, Hope is better. That's just kind of the way it works in Holland."
The report examines the college's economic impact across four general categories: spending, knowledge, service and local government. It also considers future impact in light of "A Greater Hope."
The report notes that direct spending from Hope, its employees, students and visitors, as well as secondary spending by businesses and governments, contributed more than $89 million in economic impact. Reflecting revenues from outside the area, the total includes more than $18 million in annual spending by the college itself as well as more than $3.4 million in spending by the college's students and more than $9.6 million by visitors to the college. In addition to the annual impact, across the past decade Hope contributed $92 million to the local economy through building projects.
The college's knowledge impact, nearly $120 million, includes the presence of the nearly 6,000 Hope alumni who live in the Holland region, whose earnings contribute $76 million to the community per year and whose presence benefits the community in other ways. The impact also includes the college's spending in hosting concerts, plays, athletic contests and other events, estimated at more than $1.4 million beyond the cultural value of the events themselves.
Volunteer service contributed by the college's students, faculty and staff is valued at nearly $2.5 million annually, including $1.4 million in Holland and $1.1 million in the rest of Ottawa and Allegan counties. Students contributed more than 102,000 hours of service, through activities ranging from volunteering with local organizations to campus-wide efforts like the "Relay for Life" for the American Cancer Society and "Dance Marathon" for Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. Hope employees spent more than 27,000 hours in community service, including among others volunteering in churches, in youth programs at schools and with many other organizations, and serving on area boards and committees.
In outlining local government impact, the report notes that the college contributes 2.8 percent of the City of Holland's revenues while causing 1.7 percent of the city's expenditures, for a net benefit of 1.1 percent to the city's budget. The net benefit is approximately $360,000, reflecting state shared revenue based on faculty, staff and students living in Holland, and property taxes paid by the college for its non-exempt properties and in property taxes by college employees.
The "A Greater Hope" comprehensive campaign includes $59 million for construction of new facilities, $93 million for endowment and $23 million for support of ongoing programs.
The endowment portion of the campaign includes $30 million for student scholarships, $20 million for faculty-student collaborative research, $20 million to support outstanding faculty in their teaching and research, and $10 million for initiatives in international and multicultural education and spiritual life. Major enhancements to the campus will include a concert hall and music building, a new student center, an art museum, an engineering addition and an outdoor tennis facility, in addition to the already completed Van Andel Soccer Stadium, Boeve Baseball Stadium and Wolters Softball Stadium.
The data for the Economic Impact Study was compiled and analyzed by Kevin B. Stokes of EconIMPACT. Stokes is one of the leading providers of economic impact studies for private colleges. His clients have also included DePauw University, Andrews University, Northwood University and Franklin College.