Rocket Community Fund, Local Initiatives Support Corporation Launch $2 Million Rocket Wealth Accelerator Program in Four Cities to Grow Financial Stability for Underserved Residents
- Program launching in Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Atlanta
- Eligible clients will receive up to $500 in one-to-one savings account match
DETROIT, December 8, 2022 – The Rocket Community Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) today announced the creation of the Rocket Wealth Accelerator Program, which will serve resident clients in Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Atlanta. The Rocket Wealth Accelerator, through a $2 million investment by the Rocket Community Fund, will provide clients with coaches who will work with them to improve their ability to meet emergency needs, build their credit and grow generational wealth.
Over the next 12 months, LISC staff will onboard and train coaches, connect with community members eager to build savings, establish incentives programming and develop the necessary infrastructure to launch and roll out the program in each market through local community partners.
In addition to coaching, the program also provides matching dollars for participants’ savings plans, with up to $500 for people with large-dollar goals such as purchasing a home or vehicle, and up to $300 for those with short-term or emergency savings goals.
“The Rocket Wealth Accelerator is a small step toward leveling the playing field for Black and minority families who have endured a system that prevents them from accumulating wealth, or passing that wealth onto the next generation,” said Laura Grannemann, Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund, the philanthropic partner of Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT). “By providing residents with coaching, as well as directly investing in their futures through our one-to-one savings account match program, the Rocket Wealth Accelerator will help put participants on a sustainable path to homeownership.”
The Rocket Wealth Accelerator is available to any income-qualified family, but specifically aims to address systemic racism and racial injustice that have decimated Black wealth. Nearly half of all Black and Hispanic households are unbanked or underbanked, and Black Americans are twice as likely to be denied for credit. The Rocket Wealth Accelerator additionally hopes to put participants on a path to homeownership, combating the Black-white homeownership gap that is wider today than it was when race-based discrimination against homebuyers was legal.
The Rocket Wealth Accelerator leverages the infrastructure of LISCs Financial Opportunity Center® (FOC) network in Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta and Milwaukee. LISC has a network of more than 130 centers embedded in community-based organizations across the country, which offer job training and placement services, financial coaching and education, income supports and other services aimed to help families boost their savings, build credit, reduce expenses and make sound financial decisions that increase assets.
The Rocket Wealth Accelerator will be offered at existing FOC sites in each of the four cities, including:
- SER-Metro Detroit, Wayne Metro Community Action Agency and International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit in Detroit.
- May Dugan Center and Urban League of Greater Cleveland in Cleveland.
- Jobs Work MKE in Milwaukee.
- Atlanta Center for Self-Sufficiency in Atlanta.
“For far too many, the American dream of financial security feels out of reach,” said LISC CEO Lisa Glover. “Our partnership with the Rocket Community Fund, which is focused on pairing financial coaching with products designed to accelerate savings, is exactly the kind of investment in economic empowerment that can help close our country’s widening wealth gaps and equip more families of color to build generational wealth.”
The Rocket Wealth Accelerator will focus primarily on building savings in the short-, medium- and long-term. In the short-term, the Accelerator will provide coaching and matching incentives to help clients prepare for emergency needs. It will then increase opportunities for savings and credit counseling to facilitate and complement savings goals. Finally, it will lay the groundwork for long-term planning, including retirement, estate planning and more that will aid in the generational transfer of wealth.
This is especially critical as more than 40% of Black households have no emergency savings, almost 45% have less than a month of income saved, and only 15% have at least one month of income saved, the lowest among all racial demographics.
“Unemployment in Detroit is at its lowest levels in 20 years and household incomes for families in our city are rising. As Black Detroiters generate more income, it’s important that they understand how to save and to build generational wealth,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We are fortunate to have great community partners in LISC and the Rocket Community Fund to provide not only training but also financial incentives to help program participants build their savings or make important life purchases such as a vehicle or home.”
Participants in the Rocket Wealth Accelerator will also receive access to a free, three-month subscription to Rocket Money, a part of Rocket Companies. Rocket Money, formerly known as Truebill, empowers people to live their best financial lives by managing subscriptions, lowering their bills, building budgets and other valuable services saving them time and money. With Rocket Money, Rocket Wealth Accelerator participants will have a better understanding of their current economic situation while they work with coaches to improve their outlook on their path to homeownership and wealth creation.
How to Participate
Once the program is launched in each of the Rocket Wealth Accelerator cities, those interested in becoming potential clients can visit one of the participating FOC locations and sit with a financial coach, who will work with them to understand their long-term goals. Qualified clients include those who are striving toward homeownership, a car purchase or increasing emergency and short-term savings.
One of the participating LISC FOC locations, SER Metro Detroit, is a LISC partner and employment placement agency dedicated to giving clients the resources needed to create a life of self-sufficiency and self-fulfillment.
“As a proud member of LISC’s Financial Opportunity Center network for over 14 years, SER Metro Detroit knows the power of integrating financial coaching, income support and employment services. This new grant will provide a needed boost for our community members already doing their all to meet this challenging economy,” said SER Metro Detroit President and CEO Eva Garza Dewaelsche. “The Rocket Wealth Accelerator will provide our community with new avenues to build income and credit – necessary keys for long-term wealth-building opportunities.”
Over the next three years, the Rocket Wealth Accelerator aims to:
- Serve more than 2,000 clients, including 80% of people of color
- Have 1,000 clients create a spending plan with their financial coaches, building their financial know-how and creating savings goals
- Assist 500 clients in increasing their credit score
- Work with 750 clients in increasing their short-term savings, with 60% of those increasing their savings by at least 25%.
Future details about Rocket Wealth Accelerator’s community impact will be shared on www.lisc.org.
About the Rocket Community Fund
The Rocket Community Fund aims to simplify complex and inequitable systems to ensure that every American has access to stable, healthy housing. It also invests in people and practices that provide meaningful opportunities for education and employment.
Through its For-More-Than-Profit model, the Rocket Community Fund recognizes that business and community are inextricably linked, and it purposefully harnesses team member talent, technology, policy advocacy and philanthropic resources to invest in comprehensive community development in Detroit and across the country.
Alongside financial investments, the Rocket Community Fund has organized Rocket Companies, Bedrock and other affiliated team members to provide more than 865,000 volunteer hours nationwide, including 430,000 in Detroit.
For more information, visit RocketCommunityFund.org.
LISC is one the country’s largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so that people and local economies can thrive. Since our founding, LISC has invested $26.7 billion to create more than 463,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 78.5 million square feet of retail, community and educational space and help tens of thousands of people find employment and improve their finances.
For more, visit www.lisc.org/.