· First day of PGA TOUR event – Thursday, June 29 – to recognize late son of Dan and Jennifer Gilbert and his courageous fight against neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1)
· Day will include numerous activations meant to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for the genetic disease
DETROIT (June 22, 2023) – The Rocket Mortgage Classic and the PGA TOUR event’s title sponsor, Rocket Mortgage, today announced that Thursday, June 29 will be known as “Bow Tie Day” at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Bow Tie Day will honor Nick Gilbert, the late son of Dan and Jennifer Gilbert, as well as raise funds for NF Forward, an organization committed to funding research to advance a cure for neurofibromatosis (NF).
NF is a genetic disorder with no present cure that causes tumors to grow on nerve pathways anywhere in the body. It impacts one in every 2,000 people across all populations throughout the world, including all races, ethnicities and genders. NF tumors can lead to blindness, deafness, bone abnormalities, disabling pain and cancer.
Nick Gilbert passed away in May due to complications from NF1. His legacy lives on through his family, those who were lucky enough to know him and through the work of NF Forward and the Gilbert Family Foundation (the personal foundation of Dan and Jennifer Gilbert). Both organizations fund projects that advance groundbreaking, cutting-edge NF research so that we can move toward a world without NF.
“Nick brought joy and light to every room he walked in and every person he met. Jennifer and I are grateful that he can continue impacting the world through initiatives like Bow Tie Day at the Rocket Mortgage Classic,” said Dan Gilbert, Nick’s father and the founder of Rocket Mortgage and Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT). “We hope that every person walking the grounds at the Detroit Golf Club or watching the Rocket Mortgage Classic at home will be inspired by Nick’s life, and get involved in the fight against NF.”
In 2011, Nick represented the Dan Gilbert-owned Cleveland Cavaliers at the NBA Draft Lottery wearing his signature bow tie, beginning a four-year span that saw the team win the #1 draft pick three times. In honor of their perennial good luck charm and his bow tie, the Cavaliers dedicated their entire 2022-2023 season to Nick, and designated March 15th as “Cavs Bow Tie Night.”
Bow Tie Day at the Rocket Mortgage Classic
Each caddy bib on Thursday will feature an image of the Rocket Mortgage Classic bow tie on the front. The back of the bib will display the name “Nick Gilbert” in place of each player’s name. Upon the conclusion of play, players will sign each bib, which will be given to NF Forward to raise funds for NF research.
“The entire Rocket Mortgage Classic team is honored to recognize the life of Nick Gilbert, who inspired all of us through his courage, strength and relentless optimism,” said Jason Langwell, the Executive Director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “Bow Tie Day at the Rocket Mortgage Classic will celebrate the life of Nick and raise awareness and funds toward finding a cure for NF. We are grateful to our friends and partners at the PGA TOUR for sharing our commitment to this important cause.”
Holes number 9 and 18 at Detroit Golf Club will have a special pin flag that shows only the Rocket Mortgage Classic bow tie. An additional flag will be placed at PGA TOUR player registration to be signed as golfers check in, and donated to NF Forward for future fundraising initiatives.
The first 10,000 fans on the Thursday of Rocket Mortgage Classic week will each receive a special bow tie pin upon entry. Golf fans will also be able to purchase a special bow tie cookie at concession locations throughout the course, with all proceeds going to NF Forward. All funds raised will be matched by the Gilbert Family Foundation.
Fight Against NF
Dan and Jennifer Gilbert have passionately supported NF research for decades, especially through the work of the Gilbert Family Foundation and NF Forward. NF Forward was established in 2017 to further advance NF research efforts.
Their vision is to eradicate NF by funding promising and innovative research and raising awareness of the disease. NF Forward’s signature event is the beNeFit, a gala held in downtown Detroit each year.
Since 2013, beNeFits I-X have raised more than $55 million for NF research and attracted more than 1,700 supporters annually to join the fight to end NF. beNeFit XI will be held November 18, 2023.
Overall, the organizations have invested more than $98 million toward NF research, focusing on three key initiatives: the Gene Therapy Initiative, Vision Restoration Initiative and Brain Tumor Initiative.
The Rocket Mortgage Classic returns to Detroit Golf Club for its fifth year June 27-July 2.
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 NF Forward
Dan and Jennifer Gilbert have been passionate advocates in the fight to end neurofibromatosis (NF) since their late son, Nicolas, was born with NF1.
In 2017, the Gilberts established NF Forward, a nonprofit 501c3 organization. It shares a vision with the Gilbert Family Foundation, which was established in 2015, to eradicate NF by funding groundbreaking, cutting-edge NF research. NF Forward strives to raise awareness about NF among a wide range of individuals and invite their support of this innovative vision.
NF Forward’s signature event is the beNeFit, a major gala held at TCF Center in downtown Detroit every November. Since 2013, beNeFits I-X raised over $55 million for NF research and attracted more than 1,700 supporters annually to join the fight to end NF.
NF Forward funds NF research with audacious, high-reaching goals to bring us closer to an end for NF, and focuses on co-funding pioneering research and fostering the creation of critical research tools needed to advance breakthrough science.