Report shows university’s cultural, economic and charitable contributions in Savannah and Atlanta on an annual basis
22 percent of SCAD graduates remain in Georgia, significantly increasing the state’s earning potential and productivity across creative industries
SAVANNAH, Georgia — The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) today announced the results of a new economic development and impact study, detailing the university’s tremendous positive influence on the communities and economies of Savannah, Atlanta, and the state of Georgia. Conducted over the course of six months by Tripp Umbach, the leading national consulting firm for not-for-profit, arts, and tourism sectors, the report confirms SCAD’s transformative contributions to Georgia through education, cultural enrichment, jobs, public safety, and urban renewal during fiscal year 2017.
For nearly 40 years, SCAD has helped change the face and future of Georgia. Through entrepreneurialism and innovation, community-facing events and charitable endeavors, the university’s students, faculty, staff and alumni have increased the economic vitality of SCAD’s hometown communities. Over the past four years (2012-2017), the university’s total economic impact grew more than 20 percent. With two of its four global campuses located in Georgia, offering more than 100 preeminent degree programs in more than 40 disciplines, SCAD has helped create a diverse and thriving economy for the state.
“We have never seen an institution with a greater transformational impact on its local community than SCAD,” said Paul Umbach, founder of Tripp Umbach. “SCAD is the cultural heart of Savannah, and the engine driving Georgia’s new economy.”
With nearly 40,000 alumni worldwide — 22 percent of whom remain in Georgia — SCAD graduates not only increase the state’s earning potential and productivity, but also serve as anchors for the neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and cultural institutions of their communities.
“Most visible are the buildings SCAD has transformed, and most important are the lives SCAD has transformed,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace. “Just last week, I heard from an alumnus who had planned the surprise of a lifetime for his longtime girlfriend, also a SCAD grad. In the midst of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, in their ‘beloved place of meeting,’ he orchestrated an intimate marriage proposal, carried out with the help of many other SCAD alumni who returned for the occasion. Stories like this fill the book of SCAD, where the lives of our students and alumni become so preciously entwined with SCAD and the communities we call home.”
SCAD has fostered the revitalization of entire neighborhoods in Savannah, transforming and adaptively repurposing forgotten historic structures into residence halls, classrooms, office buildings, theaters, and museums — such that these award-winning heritage conservation projects of SCAD have contributed to the city’s rising real estate values, an average of 5 percent per year compared to the overall U.S. average of 2.8 percent annually. Beyond its architectural and creative influence, the university has helped reduce crime and create safer communities through public safety initiatives such as Community Patrol Officers and notable security investments like ShotSpotter.
Key findings from the study are included below. For more information about SCAD’s economic impact in Savannah, Atlanta and Georgia, and the link to the full report, visit www.scad.edu/impact.
For nearly four decades, SCAD has shaped the economy, culture, built environment and reputation of Georgia. With prestigious accolades and a commanding presence, SCAD fosters more prosperous communities.
- $603.3 million in annual economic impact
- 6,689 jobs in diverse industries (real estate, retail, and tourism)
- $28.1 million in annual state and local government tax revenue
SCAD made its first home in Savannah and has worked to elevate the renown of this historic city, pioneering safety and security initiatives, establishing a strong legacy of community service, and annually attracting tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff, families and visitors.
- $438.6 million in annual economic impact
- 5,360 jobs in diverse industries (real estate, retail, and tourism)
- $23.6 million in direct, indirect, and induced tax payments
SCAD opened its Atlanta campus in 2005, amplifying the educational and professional opportunities in this major U.S. market, and building the character of the city alongside major companies like Delta, Turner, and Coca-Cola. Today, SCAD stands at the center of Atlanta’s growing design, fashion and entertainment industries, with career-focused and cultural features like SCADFILM, SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film, and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium Art Collection.
- $122.6 million in annual economic impact
- 1,130 jobs in diverse industries (real estate, retail, and tourism)
- $5.1 million in direct, indirect, and induced tax payments
Internationally renowned SCAD events draw tens of thousands of guests from around the world. Contributing to cultural and economic enrichment regionally and statewide, SCAD events further affirm Georgia as a premier destination for cultural and creative engagement.
- $21.0 million associated with SCAD admission events and campus visits
- $15.6 million associated with SCAD community event visitors
- $1.5 million associated with SCAD museum visitors in Atlanta and Savannah
- $38.1 million associated with spending by visitors to SCAD admissions, cultural, and community events
Approximately 22 percent of SCAD graduates remain in Georgia to work after completing their degree, launching careers with Fortune 500 companies, increasing the state’s earning potential and establishing their own businesses.
- $10.3 million in additional earning power for members of each graduating class
- $3.5 billion in increased earning potential by SCAD undergraduate alumni who remain in Georgia, over a lifetime of employment
- $707 million in increased earning potential by SCAD graduate alumni who remain in Georgia, over a lifetime of employment
- $4.2 billion in increased earning potential over 40 years
SCAD gives generously — in time, resources and donations — to the communities it calls home. In addition to the university’s partnerships and initiatives — Adopt-A-School, Union Mission, SCAD Buzz Bus, Stuff the Container — SCAD students, staff and alumni dedicate themselves to supporting the communities in which they live.
- $3.6 million in charitable donations across the state of Georgia
- 701,100 volunteer hours (equates to $17.1 million) in Georgia communities, including Book Buddies, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, and SCAD Kids Café
- This total of $20.7 million in charitable donations and volunteer hours supplements SCAD’s $603.3 million in economic impact
SCAD has pioneered public safety technology and programs in Savannah and Atlanta to provide students, visitors and citizens with a safer, more secure city experience. These initiatives, in addition to foot traffic generated by virtue of SCAD buildings and events, help engender greater community engagement and enjoyment.
- Emergency call boxes with a 24-hour security dispatcher, and installation of hundreds of security cameras
- SCAD was the first university in the U.S. to use ShotSpotter technology, and has implemented outdoor sensor technology in downtown and midtown Savannah
- Helped local authorities to decrease crime in Savannah by 41% between 1986 and 2014