Brown’s Economic Impact in Providence and Rhode Island

Brown University plays a vital role in the economy of Providence and Rhode Island — as a top employer, community partner, and driver of economic development. Brown is a leading nonprofit university that injects hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy each year. With a deep and longstanding commitment to investing in the community it calls home, the University is the largest voluntary financial contributor to the city.

Economic Impact Snapshot

$7.4M University scholarship support to Rhode Island high school graduates in 2022

$477M Annual payroll to faculty and staff living in Rhode Island in 2022

$218M Goods and services purchased from registered Rhode Island vendors in 2022

$13.3M Average annual spending locally by visitors to Brown

$341M Invested in Providence’s Jewelry District to date

$619M Spending on construction in Rhode Island between 2018 and 2022

$1.7M University scholarship support to Providence high school graduates in 2022

$249M Sponsored research spending annually

$80M Direct payments to the City of Providence between 2012 and 2022

Every year, Brown hires or purchases goods and services from more than 1,000 local companies and vendors. Learn how Brown helps local businesses thrive and, in doing so, helps drive economic growth in the region overall.

“As a fifth-generation business owner, Brown helps us reach new people to continue our family legacy and success.”
— Mary O'Brien
President and Owner, Saugy Franks
“Brown is one of our top customers, not just because of the dollars, it’s about the relationship and trust.”
— Kekin Shah
President and Owner, Shanix Technology, Inc.
“Selling in university cafeterias brought our company to the next level, and Brown paved the way.”
— Kelley McShane
CEO, Granny Squibb's Organic Iced Tea
“Brown is one of our largest wholesale customers, and having them on board helped make the move to a larger space possible.”
— Rik Kleinfeldt
President, New Harvest Coffee Roasters
“As a neighbor, it’s welcomed that Brown supports the local community.”
— Peter Evangelista
President, World Trophies
“As small business owners, we want to impact people’s lives positively, and Brown helps us do that.”
— Bud and Karen McCann
Owners, Allegra

Committed to Union Labor in Construction

With a commitment to employ union labor for all campus construction projects over $25 million, Brown is supporting thousands of men and women in the Rhode Island building trades. Campus development serves as a regional economic engine and builds careers for local workers.

“When Brown is building Brown, everybody benefits — not just Brown's campus, not just the contractors who win the work, not just the trades workers who perform the jobs, but disadvantaged community residents who need opportunities for genuine careers that can provide for families.”
— Andrew Cortés
Executive Director, Building Futures

Invested in our Community

Brown is a vital anchor institution in the City of Providence and Rhode Island that plays a significant role in the economic well-being of the state. As a nonprofit educational institution, Brown is tax exempt, but pursuant to agreements with the City of Providence, the University makes voluntary payments to the City each year. Through a new memorandum of understanding and memorandum of agreement with the City, both finalized in October 2023 to build upon prior MOU and MOA agreements, Brown will provide $303 million in voluntary payments and community contributions between 2024 and 2043. The University also pays $14 million in utilities to Providence Water, Rhode Island Energy and Narragansett Bay.

A Top Employer

Brown is the 8th largest employer in Rhode Island — employing approximately 5,440 residents living in Rhode Island, totaling $477 million of payroll, resulting in $20 million of withheld income tax paid to the state of Rhode Island.

$5 Billion in Health Sector Activity

Academic medicine in Rhode Island generates $5 billion annually in the state’s economy. Brown contributes to Rhode Island’s medical economy by attracting federal grants and commercial investments in biomedical and health research and innovation.

Public School Partnerships

For decades, Brown has worked closely with school leaders in Providence to support K-12 education through teaching, training and mentoring, research, volunteer efforts and financial investments aligned with the school’s priorities. In addition to awarding millions of dollars in scholarships to local students, Brown provides $1 million in support to the Providence Public School District every year.

Learn more about Brown’s Economic Impact in Providence and Rhode Island

Brown injects hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy each year through public-private development; research spending and innovation; support for schools and local organizations; staffing and contracting; purchased goods and services; investments in health and medicine; tourism and commerce; and more.

Download Factsheet (PDF)

Attracting Investors to Providence

“When we were introduced to this market, the primary reason we [came] here is really Brown University. Without Brown’s investment on this side of the river, there isn’t anything that you see around here that would be here today.”
Jim Berens Founder/CEO, Wexford Science + Technology

Catalyzing Entrepreneurship

“Brown helps connect entrepreneurs with world-class experts, researchers, students and faculty who are willing to help our local entrepreneurs to flourish and build their business here in Rhode Island.”
Annette Tonti Managing Director, RIHub

Powering Local Tourism

“Brown University is a big contributor to the success of Providence’s tourism industry. The University draws prospective students and their families, parents of current students, and visiting alumni, all of whom utilize our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores.”
Kristen Adamo President & CEO, Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau