How University Hospitals Led $1.2B Cleveland Growth Plan


Thomas Zenty (photo by Justin Knight)

Vision 2010, a $1.2 billion strategic-growth plan spearheaded by Cleveland’s University Hospitals (University Hospitals was No. 1 on DiversityInc’s Top 10 Hospitals in 2013), was highlighted this week as a model of public-private cooperation to generate local wealth, economic opportunity and jobs. Of the $1.2 billion earmarked for Vision 2010, $750 million was generated from major construction projects throughout Northeast Ohio, utilizing minority- and women-owned local businesses.

At an event held at MIT on May 8, University Hospitals CEO Thomas Zenty III and Chief Administrative Officer Steven Standley presented the results of Vision 2010, which has been developed into a case study by MIT and the University of Maryland.

Zenty said he wanted to make a difference not just for University Hospitals, but for the Greater Cleveland community in which the hospital’s employees and patients live and work. “It’s about our values—excellence, diversity, integrity and compassionate teamwork. It’s what this project represented,” Zenty said at the event.

When University Hospitals officials decided to embark on the project, they went to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who was more than happy to back the effort. “[University Hospitals wasn’t] required to do anything—they did this voluntarily. For the first time in my career, there was someone who wanted to be a real partner, was a great corporate citizen, and had the good of the community at heart,” Jackson said at the MIT event. He noted that Vision 2010 has become a model for other projects in Cleveland, including the soon-to-be opened Cleveland Medical Mart, a casino and other urban-development initiatives. The Cleveland Foundation and local trade unions were also partners on the project.

Steven Standley (photo by Justin Knight)

Vision 2010 has also “changed the conversation” at University Hospitals around supplier diversity, according to Standley. The hospital this year implemented a new sourcing policy: Every bid of more than $20,000 must be put out for three bids, one of which must be from a woman- or minority-owned vendor. With spending of more than $800 million, Standley says, this policy will have a significant impact.

Titled “The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth”, the case study concludes that place-based anchor institutions—like hospitals and universities—can commit to a comprehensive business approach that goes beyond the narrow framework of corporate philanthropy to create a sustainable economic advantage for their regions. Their analysis provides the framework for other organizations to engage with business, government and foundations to create healthier, stronger urban areas.

Vision 2010 included the construction of five major medical facilities that generated more than 5,000 jobs in construction and related fields, with salaries totaling $500 million over the five-year period. UH adopted a strategy in which its executives established aggressive goals pertaining to diversity, procurement and hiring local residents. Successful strategies included the use of an innovative Project Labor Agreement that resulted in 92 percent of spending staying in Northeast Ohio and the awarding of 24 percent of contracts to minority- and female-owned businesses.

In February 2013, Mayor Jackson, along with representatives from business, civic, labor and trade organizations, signed a unique public-private community-benefit agreement that will drive investment in Cleveland. The agreement includes a commitment to direct training opportunities and jobs to local residents and to increase the utilization of minority-, female- and locally owned businesses.

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