While Ongoing Digital Inclusion Effort Achieves Major Milestone
· More than $620,000 allocated toward digital inclusion partnership Connect 313, bringing total for Changing the Course initiative to more than $3.8 million
· Campaign to enroll Detroit families into the Affordable Connectivity Program (formerly the Emergency Broadband Benefit) recently surpassed 100,000 households
· Formerly least digitally connected city in the country, Detroit is a model for digital inclusion and has highest rate of ACP signups nationwide
DETROIT (March 13, 2023) – The Rocket Giving Fund today celebrated 313 Day – an annual recognition of Detroit’s famous area code – by announcing that the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic raised $1.57 million to support local Detroit nonprofits. Connect 313, a collaborative partnership rooted in the City of Detroit’s digital inclusion strategy striving to bridge Detroit’s digital divide, will receive $622,555 of the proceeds.
Since 2019, the Rocket Mortgage Classic has invested more than $6.8 million into local charitable organizations, including more than $3.8 million through its landmark “Changing the Course” digital inclusion effort.
Connect 313 continues to be a national leader in driving digital connectivity. A partnership between the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Rocket Community Fund, Microsoft, City of Detroit and others, Connect 313 has recently surpassed its 100,000th household enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Detroit’s current ACP enrollment stands at 102,123 homes, representing more than 54% of qualified properties – the highest rate of enrollment nationwide for cities with more than 150,000 eligible households.
First launched at the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic Media Day and the only campaign of its kind in the country, this Connect 313 campaign assists residents in enrolling in the federal ACP, which provides a $30 monthly discount toward internet access, and a one-time $100 subsidy toward a technological device.
“Two years ago, at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, we set out to fundamentally change how Detroiters connect to the internet, technology and digital literacy resources,” said Connect 313 Board Chair Laura Grannemann, who is also a member of the Rocket Giving Fund board and serves as the Executive Director of the Rocket Community Fund. “Hitting this milestone of improving the digital connectivity of more than 100,000 households is an important reminder of how much we can accomplish when we work together as a community. The Rocket Mortgage Classic is proud to be a catalyst of both great golf and lasting impact.”
Thanks to the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic, the Rocket Giving Fund made the following donations in support of its “Changing the Course” initiative, the multi-year campaign first announced in 2020 to invest in programs and organizations helping bridge Detroit’s digital divide:
· $622,555 to Connect 313
· $100,000 to Midnight Golf, Detroit Police Athletic League and First Tee Greater Detroit
Of the money allocated for Connect 313, Rocket Mortgage – part of Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT) – invested $210,000 through the Rocket Mortgage Classic’s “AREA 313,” or holes 14-16 at the Detroit Golf Club. On the most charitable three holes in golf, celebrity scramble golfers and PGA TOUR professionals who scored a 3 on Hole 14 (an eagle) or a 3 on Hole 16 (a birdie) triggered a $2,500 donation toward Changing the Course, and golfers who scored a 1 on Hole 15 (a hole-in-one) generated a $10,000 donation.
“AREA 313 has consistently provided the most excitement at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, thanks to the fan-focused environment and excellent play from PGA TOUR pros that allow us to give back in a bigger way,” said Bill Emerson, Vice Chair of the Rocket Giving Fund Board and interim CEO of Rocket Companies. “We are proud that, year after year, we can continue investing in the futures of our residents across our hometown of Detroit.”
The Rocket Giving Fund also announced the following disbursements:
· $100,000 to the Greater Palmer Park Community
· $747,687 to Birdies for Charity, other charitable giving and non-cash donations
“Today, on 313 Day, we are proud to share how we are Changing the Course in Detroit by using the Rocket Mortgage Classic as a powerful force for good,” said Jason Langwell, Executive Director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “While the last few years have provided us different experiences and challenges hosting the Rocket Mortgage Classic, today’s announcement should demonstrate that our commitment to our hometown is unwavering.”
Last year’s event marks the final year of the Birdies for Charity program at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and an exciting new charity program will be announced over the coming weeks that will take its place.
Last year saw Connect 313 expand the amount of neighborhood tech hubs – trusted community centers where residents can access technology and digital literacy training – from five to 22. Alongside these and other efforts, Connect 313 has helped Detroit transition from the least digitally connected city in the country to a city where more than 67.5% of households are considered “digitally included,” where at least one member in the household has a reliable broadband connection, a working non-smartphone computer/tablet and the knowledge of how to use it.
Connect 313 and the City of Detroit will be sharing additional progress related to the comprehensive digital inclusion efforts across the city, including an annual report and other announcements, next quarter.
“Closing the digital divide is one of the most important things we can do as a city to give Detroiters access to opportunity, and the Rocket Giving Fund has been a great partner in that effort,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Thanks to its efforts with Connect 313 and others, more Detroiters of all ages are getting connected, at home and at 22 neighborhood tech hubs across the city.”
The fifth-annual Rocket Mortgage Classic will be held June 27 – July 2 at the historic Detroit Golf Club.
About the Rocket Mortgage Classic
The Rocket Mortgage Classic made history in 2019 as the first PGA TOUR event ever held in the city of Detroit, and has continued to make a positive and lasting impact on the city and its residents through its multi-year Changing the Course campaign, established in 2020 to end the digital divide in Detroit and ensure digital accessibility for all city residents. The Rocket Mortgage Classic was the most awarded event during the 2018-19 PGA TOUR season, being recognized for “Best Special Event” (then known as the AREA 313 Celebrity Challenge) and “Best Tournament Sales” as well as being honored with the first “Fair Way Award” for its diversity and inclusion initiatives. More information is available at RocketMortgageClassic.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@RocketClassic).
About Rocket Mortgage
Detroit-based Rocket Mortgage, the nation’s largest home mortgage lender and part of Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT), enables the American Dream of homeownership and financial freedom through its obsession with an industry-leading, digital-driven client experience. In late 2015, it introduced the first fully digital, completely online mortgage experience. Since its founding in 1985, Rocket Mortgage has closed $1.5 trillion of mortgage volume across all 50 states. Rocket Mortgage moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit in 2010. The company generates loan production from web centers located in Detroit, Cleveland and Phoenix.
Rocket Companies, Rocket Mortgage’s parent company, ranked #7 on Fortune’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2022 and has placed in the top third of the list for 19 consecutive years.
For more information and company news visit RocketMortgage.com/PressRoom.
About the Connect 313 Fund
The Connect 313 Fund was formed in 2020 to coordinate and support city-wide digital inclusion efforts with a data-driven, community-based philosophy. It was launched at the Rocket Mortgage Classic PGA TOUR event as part of the tournament’s “Changing the Course” initiative.
Through the contributions of Rocket Mortgage and other tournament partners, the Connect 313 Fund was developed to support the strategy of Connect 313. The Connect 313 Fund is administered by United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
For more information visit https://connect313.org.