As part of its ongoing commitment to the city and the people of Geneva, Hobart and William Smith Colleges made their third significant payment as part of a multi-year commitment to the City of Geneva. Over the course of the next decade, the Colleges will provide the city with a total of more than $1.7 million in revenue to assist the city in balancing its budget.
President Mark D. Gearan presented the check for $166,464 to City Manager Matt Horn last week.
"We are grateful for the many opportunities the city has provided to the Colleges during our nearly two-century partnership," says Gearan. "The Colleges' annual contribution is one of many ways we are working together to ensure a bright future for this beautiful city we call home."
HWS President Mark Gearan and Geneva city Manager Matt Horn
Since the initial payment in 2012, the Colleges and City have collaborated on a number of projects. One of the most visible was in 2012 when HWS moved 70 staff members downtown in what was the single largest influx of employees into the City of Geneva in recent history. HWS leases more than 18,000 square feet of space on Seneca Street, which remains privately owned and on the tax rolls.
The Colleges have also partnered with the Geneva City School District on Geneva 2020, an initiative which seeks to harness the resources of the Colleges and the Geneva community to provide assistance in three key areas identified by GCSD as being critical to the future of Geneva's children: graduation rate, career and college preparedness, and literacy.
Three years since its launch, the program is already making a difference, helping to move the local high school graduation rate from 70 percent in 2010 to 82 percent in 2013, and to increase the number of local high school students entering college from 74 percent in 2009 to 76 percent in 2013.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges have made a number of investments in the City of Geneva in recent years including direct payments to assist the city budget, donations to non-profit organizations, and support of civic projects. The Colleges contribute on average about $2 million each year to the community.
Several years ago, the Colleges donated nearly $400,000 to help renovate the Geneva Recreation Complex Skating Rink, enclosing the rink from the elements and providing a first-class surface for Geneva Youth Hockey and HWS athletics. Last year, Hobart and William Smith partnered with the City of Geneva to create a new playground located near the lakeshore. To jumpstart the project, the Colleges donated $25,000 to the effort, a quarter of the total cost of the playground. The Colleges also led fundraising efforts for the remaining monies that made the playground a reality.
Additionally, HWS students and faculty regularly work on several initiatives that serve the broader community while providing valuable experiences for students both through Service Learning courses and independent projects. Those projects range from literacy programs and after-school initiatives to sustainability efforts and the creation of cultural events.
When Gearan and Horn met thisi week, Gearan also briefed Horn on a recent trip to Tulane University made by Gearan and members of the faculty and Board of Trustees.
"Tulane and New Orleans have built a unique relationship that provides opportunities and resources for both," says Gearan. "This trip allowed us to meet with officials and learn more about Tulane's commitment to the future of New Orleans. Our goal is to gather information on other successful models so that we can collaborate on innovations that propel both Hobart and William Smith and the City of Geneva."