Virginia’s 2019 American Evolution commemoration produced nearly $200 million in economic impact

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., /PRNewswire/ — An economic impact study released by the 2019 Commemoration confirms that historical anniversaries are big business for the Commonwealth, bringing not only dollars, but also awareness of Virginia’s vital role in the evolution of America.
Conducted by Richmond-based Chmura Economics & Analytics, the study shows that American Evolution, a multi-year, statewide commemoration, generated $197 million in total economic impact for the Commonwealth, supported nearly 2,000 jobs in Virginia, and increased awareness of Virginia history and tourism with 28 billion media impressions. The study was commissioned by the 2019 Commemoration, a sub-agency of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, which coordinated the commemoration of important events that occurred in Virginia during 1619 that continue to influence the nation.
Chmura Economics & Analytics measured spending at commemoration-related events as well as the economic benefits of legacy projects and national awareness related to the anniversary. Overall, the 2019 Commemoration and strategic partner organizations invested approximately $49.5 million. The Commonwealth of Virginia contributed $23.3 million and corporate as well as individual donors contributed an additional $4.3 million in direct support for American Evolution.
“The 2019 Commemoration exceeded our expectations on all levels,” said Delegate M. Kirkland Cox, co-chair of the 2019 Commemoration Steering Committee and Chair of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. “The final economic report showcases the indelible impact that the numerous events, programs and exhibitions had on Virginia’s economy.”
The 2019 Commemoration engaged more than 305 Virginia institutions and national partners to convene 20 signature events and nearly 400 events, legacy projects, educational initiatives, performances, exhibitions, and statewide community programs. An estimated 2.7 million individuals participated in an event or visited an exhibition, while millions more throughout the world connected with the commemoration through print, online and broadcast media. As a legacy, tourism and educational products and videos of the signature events are available online.
The 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution reinforced the Commonwealth’s leadership in education, tourism and economic development. A five-year effort of planning, promotion and implementation established by the Virginia General Assembly in 2013, under the direction of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation as lead state-agency, the 2019 Commemoration showcased pivotal 1619 Virginia events that set America on a course toward the ideals of democracy, diversity and opportunity. The events included the First Representative Legislative Assembly in the New World, the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers, the first official English Thanksgiving, and the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the Virginia colony.
To view the full report, please visit
About the 2019 Commemoration
The 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution highlighted events that occurred in Virginia during 1619 that continue to influence America today. Featured programs, events and legacy projects reinforced Virginia as a leader in education, tourism and economic development. Dominion Energy was an American Evolution Founding Partner and Altria Group and TowneBank were Virginia Colony Partners.