If you’ve tuned into the news (or social media) these last couple weeks, you probably heard about the Rocket Community Fund and a huge philanthropic investment in Detroit. But who are they, what do they do, and why do they do it?
– For-More-Than-Profit Mission –
The Rocket Community Fund is the philanthropic arm for the Rock Family of Companies (FOC). Based in Detroit, their reach is not limited to the Motor City but rather all of the communities where the Rock Family of Companies has sizable footprints; more specifically, Detroit, Cleveland, Charlotte, and Phoenix. Their mission is to support inclusive, thriving and resilient communities by making data-driven investments in housing, employment, and public life.
In light of recent events, for this blog I will focus on the Rocket Company Fund’s investments in housing.
As America’s leading mortgage lender, Rocket Mortgage makes the dream of homeownership a pillar of their giving strategy, both locally and nationally. Four programs in Detroit are already changing the physical and economic make-up of the city’s neighborhoods, creating stable and secure housing.
– Rehabbed & Ready –
Rehabbed & Ready stabilizes Detroit neighborhoods by replacing vacant properties with homes ready for purchase on the traditional real estate market. These purchases in turn strengthen neighborhood housing markets, restoring home equity, and making it easier for future home buyers to access financing.
– Neighbor to Neighbor –
Neighbor to Neighbor is a property tax foreclosure census, initiated in 2019, taken to connect residents living in properties behind on property taxes with resources to avoid tax foreclosure. This effort resulted in a reduced number of occupied homes entering the Wayne County Tax Auction from 9,111 in 2015 to 521 in 2019—a 94% decrease overall.
– Make It Home –
Make It Home is a continuation of the Neighbor-To-Neighbor initiative. Through it, the City of Detroit purchases foreclosed properties before they are sold at
auction and then sells them to the United Community Housing Coalition with funding provided by the Rocket Community Fund and other sources. Then through
a payment plan, the homes are sold to existing occupants through a payment plan, whereupon completion, the homes are deeded, free and clear, to their residents.
– $500 Million Neighborhood Investment –
In partnership with the Gilbert Family Foundation, on March 25th the Rocket Community Fund announced a $500 million philanthropic investment in Detroit over the next ten years, to be accomplished through strategic contributions to community organizations that will build economic opportunity in the city’s
Part of the $500 million, an initial $15 million investment from the Gilbert Family Foundation will completely eliminate the property tax debt owed by an anticipated 20,000 low-income homeowners in the city of Detroit, preserving an estimated $400 million wealth and home equity in Detroit.
Jeff Brown is a Program Manager for Rock Ventures. Ann Arbor raised and East Lansing educated, Jeff has lived in Detroit since 2013. Follow @motownjeffbrown for his Motor City exposés and digital shorts.