One Year Later: Exciting Updates on our $500M Joint Commitment to Detroit

One Year Later: Exciting Updates on our $500M Joint Commitment to Detroit

April 5, 2022

One year ago, the Gilbert Family Foundation and Rocket Community Fund made a joint $500M philanthropic commitment to build economic stability and increase access to opportunity for Detroit residents. Now that we have passed the one-year anniversary of this milestone, we’re proud to share our progress and an exciting announcement about our latest investment.

The first investment from this joint partnership came from the Gilbert Family Foundation to establish the Detroit Tax Relief Fund, which is focused on breaking the cycle of tax debt for thousands of Detroit families at risk of property tax foreclosure. To date, the Detroit Tax Relief Fund has wiped out the back property taxes of 4,516 Detroit families, with nearly two thousand more in the pipeline.

The Detroit Tax Relief Fund was built on the foundation of innovative tax foreclosure prevention and reform investments from the Rocket Community Fund over the last decade and will be a critical tool in our ongoing efforts to support Detroit residents. Alongside the Gilbert Family Foundation, we aim to leverage programs like the Detroit Tax Relief Fund to stabilize housing for Detroiters at risk of tax foreclosure or eviction, then provide access to wraparound supports that increase their household income and assets, helping them achieve economic stability and build wealth.

To that end, we’ve invested over $7M in other housing stability programs such as Rehabbed & Ready and Neighbor to Neighbor, both of which have been integral in creating a pathway for Detroiters to access homeownership. With more stable housing, we can focus on building new pathways to education and employment for Detroit youth through partnerships with Urban Alliance and Grow Detroit’s Young Talent. Meanwhile, we are making incredible progress bridging the digital divide through the Connect 313 Fund, which was established as part of the Rocket Mortgage Classic to bring digital resources and high-speed internet to Detroiters. 

Between our joint philanthropic efforts, nearly $50 million has already been committed to community organizations and efforts to build economic opportunity and equity for Detroit families since our announcement one year ago.

In this video, Gilbert Family Foundation Co-Founder Jennifer Gilbert highlights what our organizations have accomplished together since we made our joint commitment. 

Motor City Contractor Fund Supports Minority Contractors

The Rocket Community Fund is building on that momentum today, as we announce our latest investment: the pilot program of the Motor City Contractor Fund. If you come downtown, the amount of development and construction underway is staggering. We love to see this development in Detroit, but we want to make sure that small contractor companies, primarily run by entrepreneurs of color, are able to compete with larger and non-minority owned contractors. Historically, they haven’t been able to, and among the most significant barriers is lack of access to financing. Additionally, small and minority-owned contractors often lack the digital presence and resources required to competitively advertise, bid and successfully complete projects.

That’s why we co-created the Motor City Contractor Fund with other partners including Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), Invest Detroit and Barton Malow Builders. We want to ensure that Detroit-based contractors have the capacity and capital to benefit from the rehab, repair, and construction that is happening around our city. This $10M pilot program will remove barriers and provide 20 Detroit-based contractors with a variety of services and training to grow their capacity and succeed in the increasingly competitive marketplace.“ Detroit-based contractors have historically been overlooked, but the Motor City Contractor Fund will increase access to financing for local contractors, empowering them to grow their business and create more jobs for Detroiters,” said Laura Grannemann, Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund. 

We are very proud of the progress we’ve made together. The Motor City Contractor Fund is just one of many programs we’re creating to build economic opportunity and equity in Detroit, and we look forward to seeing the outcome of this critical program. Together, we’ve shown that if you believe in something, we can make it happen.


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