Reliable access to high-speed internet, digital devices and digital training is essential in today’s society. Virtually every aspect of our lives requires some degree of digital connectivity, from education and employment to healthcare. Unfortunately, far too many Detroit residents are caught in a “digital divide,” excluding them from opportunities afforded to those with the ability to get online.
As part of our mission to create equitable opportunity for residents in our community, the Rocket Community Fund has made digital inclusion a centerpiece of our education and employment strategy. In the past two years, we have been proud to support wide-ranging programs to bridge Detroit’s digital divide, from the Rocket Mortgage Classic’s “Changing the Course” initiative to providing low-income seniors with digital devices to raising awareness of the Emergency Broadband Benefit through the “EBB 313” campaign.
One of our key partners in tackling this important work is Human-I-T, a nonprofit with the mission to shrink the digital divide one piece of technology at a time. Human-I-T, which opened its Detroit warehouse with the support of Rocket Communtiy Fund in August 2020, takes a creative approach to addressing the digital divide.
As they explain on their website, “We tackle two problems with one solution—reducing e-waste and shrinking the digital divide—by refurbishing and refreshing donated devices, and distributing them to local communities through targeted programs and initiatives. We also make the devices available through our low-cost store that’s accessible to eligible individuals across the country—creating more equitable access to the technology our neighbors need to thrive.”
This approach, which not only connects the community but keeps dangerous e-waste out of landfills, is a perfect example of being “Obsessed with Finding a Better Way” (one of our favorite core philosophies, or ISMs).
At Rocket Companies, technology is essential to how we help our clients navigate life’s complex moments with confidence, and we use a lot of it! That’s why, in addition to providing support for Human-I-T to open its first warehouse in Detroit, we are also proud to be Human-I-T’s largest e-waste partner in the Midwest.
Through our partnership, Human-I-T picks up around 10 to 20 pallets of e-waste from our Detroit offices every 6 to 8 weeks. We also work with Human-I-T to schedule pickups in our other office locations. Each pickup varies, but some of them can exceed more than 11,000 lbs!
It is immensely gratifying to know that this technology is not going to waste, but is helping connect the community. In May of this year, Human-I-T officially kicked off its Empowering Digital Detroit initiative. We were honored to support Human-I-T at their announcement of this major investment and are excited to continue to support them as we collaborate with other partners on ending Detroit’s digital divide for good.