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Economic Engine for Philadelphia

“Drexel is a powerful engine for neighborhood improvement and regional economic growth, striving to be the most civically engaged university in the nation.”


-John Fry, President, Drexel University

By The Numbers

Over the last 25 years, Drexel has grown to become an economic engine for Philadelphia, serving as one of the city’s largest employers, contributing millions of dollars in wage taxes, attracting external funding for research and key real estate development projects, investing in public schools, and supporting important community organizations.

Employment

$365.5 million annually in wages and taxes

Innovation

$123 million annually in funded research

Education

$13 million in full-tuition scholarships for low-income Philadelphia students annually

Public Schools

$42 million to build a new school building in West Philadelphia; $30 million 5-year grant to support neighborhood schools

Community

$2 million annually to support community organizations

Construction

$600 million in third-party development since 2010

Opportunity

$95 million in local and diverse procurement annually

Major Employer

Mario the Magnificent the bronze statue of the school mascot

Drexel University employs more than 10,000 faculty and professional staff, making it one of the top 10 largest employers in Philadelphia. The University pays more than $350 million in wages to employees from the tri-state region each year.

Annually, Drexel employees pay $17.5 million in wage taxes to the city of Philadelphia. Wage taxes are a major funding source for the city, providing nearly half of the city’s revenue.

Innovation

students working in a Drexel lab

Drexel was named the most innovative mid-sized research university in the country in 2020 in a report by the George W. Bush Institute and Opus Faveo Innovation Development. Research at Drexel generates more than $123 million in annual expenditures for sponsored projects and thousands of scholarly and creative works. To date, the University has generated more than 100 inventions as well as over 44 U.S. patents and Drexel ranked 51st in the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association’s list of the world’s top 100 universities for patents granted in the country in 2018.

Education

Drexel is committed to providing full-tuition scholarships for low-income students from Philadelphia and supporting Philadelphia students in grades pre-K through 12.

Liberty Scholar Students
Drexel has invested almost $90 million over the past decade in the Liberty Scholars program, which helps low-income residents of Philadelphia attend Drexel for free. Full tuition scholarships are offered to 50 new students each year at a cost of $13 million.
Members and partners in the SLAMS/Powel facility initiative break ground
Drexel raised close to $42 million for a new K-8 school building on the former University City High School site in West Philadelphia to house students from Samuel Powel Elementary and the Science Leadership Academy Middle School. Opening in 2021, both schools will continue to be owned and operated by the School District of Philadelphia.
Map of Promise Neighborhood
In collaboration with the city of Philadelphia and the School District, Drexel secured a $30 million U.S. Department of Education Promise Neighborhood grant in 2016. The five-year grant provides $6 million annually to support seven neighborhood schools in the Promise Zone.
Drexel has also raised close to $8 million for the West Philadelphia Action for Early Learning (AFEL) Initiative, a collaboration led by Drexel with local educational and social services agencies and community stakeholders to support early childhood education for children and their families in the 19104 ZIP code.

Community

Dornsife Center Building

Drexel upholds its civic responsibility and accountability by maintaining deep partnerships with local organizations and through dedicated financial resources and volunteerism.

Drexel contributes $2 million annually to community organizations that provide safety, streetscaping, business development, neighborhood cleanup and other services. Some of these include the University City District (UCD), The Enterprise Center (TEC), Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association (LA21) and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC).

Drexel’s Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services offers behavioral health, dental, physical therapy, and other health services to low-income families and residents of public housing. Physicians and other health care professionals provide more than $1 million in uncompensated care for uninsured or underinsured Philadelphia residents.

The Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships is a community-based resource center for West Philadelphia residents and partner organizations. Drexel invests directly in staff and programming, attracts private investment dollars, and works closely with an advisory board of community members to direct programs and services that best meet the needs of residents. The community center was established in 2012 with a gift of $10 million from alumna Dana (’83) and David Dornsife. The Dornsife Center hosts community development programs and Drexel’s institutional economic inclusion initiatives that create a bridge between local needs and ambitions and Drexel’s sphere of influence with its suppliers and business partners, faculty, staff, and students.

Local and Inclusive Procurement

person riding a bike in philadelphia

Drexel prioritizes local purchasing and small business support for Philadelphia-based businesses, and in FY2019 Drexel directed $95 million to the effort. Drexel committed $35 million of its total spend to a variety of diverse businesses.

The Drexel Supplier Inclusion Program is a University initiative to support and promote the growth and development of small, minority, women, veterans, LGBTQ+ owned businesses. The program uses strategies to open the supply chain to more local businesses, provide opportunities to learn how to acquire institutional contracts, and ways for neighborhood organizations to encourage business success.

Construction

Drexel Academic Tower

New academic and commercial building projects create local jobs and business opportunities for residents.

Drexel University has completed roughly $600 million in third-party real estate development since 2010. In 2017, Drexel and the developer Brandywine Realty Trust broke ground on the Schuylkill Yards project, a $3.5 billion, 14-acre development that will include commercial laboratories as well as residential, retail, office, academic, and green space.

Also underway in uCity Square is the construction by Wexford Science + Technology of a new academic tower that will house Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, as well as some divisions of the College of Medicine. Local workforce and contracting opportunities are included in all of these initiatives.