Inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic Provides More Than $1.1 Million to Local Nonprofits

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Detroit Golf Club, Detroit, MI — January 15, 2020

PGA Golf Tournaments provide an unparalleled level of excitement on the course as the world’s best golfers vie for championships. But, the real thrill produced from PGA Tour Golf is the charitable contributions to the community. After all the shots are played, the trophy presented and the post-tournament chores are completed a final tally shows the benefit to local charities. Such was the case today for the Rocket Mortgage Classic held this past year at the Detroit Golf club.

The Rocket Giving Fund, the 501(c)(3) that manages the Rocket Mortgage Classic, today announced more than $1.2 million in disbursements to its seven primary beneficiaries, Birdies for Charity recipients and other nonprofits. More than $1.1 million was directed to nonprofits based in the city of Detroit.

The Rocket Mortgage Classic, the first-ever PGA TOUR event in the city of Detroit, achieved unprecedented success through numerous sold-out days, dramatic play and sustained excitement throughout the region during the tournament season. Today, the inaugural event continued its impact by announcing disbursements that will allow primarily local organizations to increase programming, enhance neighborhoods and benefit Detroiters.

Rocket Mortgage Classic announces total contributions to Detroit Non-profits from the inaugural tournament in 2019 / Lasco Press Photo

Non-Profit Beneficiaries Announcement

At an event held by the Rocket Mortgage Classic and Rocket Giving Fund, donations totaling $912,340 to the tournament’s primary beneficiaries were announced. These include:

$225,000 to Midnight Golf, which helps under-served young people transition from high school to college and into a professional career
$200,000 to the Detroit Children’s Fund, which makes high-potential investments to expand successful schools, greatly improve lower-performing schools, and discover and develop talented educators so that every child in Detroit has the opportunity to receive an excellent education
$150,000 to the Greater Palmer Park Community, a collection of seven neighborhoods around Palmer Park and the Detroit Golf Club dedicated to the holistic improvement and advancement of the entire area
$125,000 to First Tee of Greater Detroit, which impacts the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf
$100,000 to the Rickie Fowler Foundation, which handles the philanthropic work of Rocket Mortgage spokesman Rickie Fowler
$92,340 to the Detroit Police Athletic League (Detroit PAL), a Rocket Mortgage partner that builds character in young people through athletic, academic, and leadership development programs
$20,000 to the Detroit Golf Club Caddie Scholarship Foundation, which help their caddies achieve their higher educational dreams

Non-Profit participants in benefits from the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic / Lasco Press Photo

“The Rocket Mortgage Classic gives us the opportunity to highlight the city we call home. We are especially proud of how the tournament is a vehicle to engage and benefit many local organizations and their ability to impact the residents of Detroit,” said Rocket Giving Fund Board Chairman Jay Farner, CEO of Quicken Loans. “We are thankful to all the fans and sponsors who supported the event and helped us maximize our work through the Rocket Giving Fund, which will benefit thousands of Detroiters.”

In addition to the $900,000+ donated to primary beneficiaries, $310,204 was provided to Birdies for Charity and other nonprofits. The Rocket Mortgage Classic’s Birdies for Charity program supported more than 170 verified nonprofit organizations, a turnkey program that allowed them to use the Rocket Mortgage Classic as a vehicle to raise awareness of their organizations and funds to support their missions.

“Beyond the exciting play, awards, and attendance that punctuated the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic, today we recognize the success of the tournament through its impact on organizations across Detroit,” said Rocket Mortgage Classic Executive Director Jason Langwell. “There are amazing things happening in our city, and to be able to meaningfully contribute to nonprofits that are doing such valuable work in our own neighborhoods is incredibly rewarding.”

One beneficiary, Midnight Golf, uses golf education as a platform to connect Detroit students to committed mentors, build life and career skills training and provide social-emotional support. This commitment starts in the students’ senior year of high school and lasts throughout their college careers. Midnight Golf’s industry-leading program is designed to serve and empower students every step of the way and has impacted nearly 3,000 students. Their $225,000 disbursement from the Rocket Giving Fund will allow them to take on more high school students in 2020 and provide more resources to graduates of the Midnight Golf program who need support throughout their college career.

“These funds will allow us to continue to provide our students resources and expanded opportunities that will enhance their foundation for a successful future in college, their careers and beyond,” said Reneé Fluker, Founder and President of the Midnight Golf Program. “As a primary beneficiary of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, our students received access to a world-class event in their hometown which included career and networking opportunities. We are grateful to the Rocket Giving Fund, Quicken Loans and the entire Rocket Mortgage Classic team for their support, leadership, and generosity.”

The Rocket Giving Fund engaged seven community groups from in and around Palmer Park throughout the Rocket Mortgage Classic planning process. This community engagement was critical in order to make the event itself a positive experience for the community and ensure that the Rocket Mortgage Class is directly investing in the lives of local residents. In 2019, Palmer Park was the site of a KaBOOM! playground build sponsored in part by the Quicken Loans Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of Quicken Loans, which also provided dozens of volunteers. Their $150,000 donation will allow the Greater Palmer Park community to improve facilities and infrastructure in Palmer Park that will benefit Detroiters from around the city.

“The way the Rocket Mortgage Classic and the entire team at Rocket Mortgage involved the Palmer Park Community really made this feel like the collaborative partnership it is,” said Nancy Varner of the Greater Palmer Park Community. “We are all so appreciative of the Rocket Giving Fund for this significant donation, which will benefit the residents of this community as well as those who experience what these amazing neighborhoods have to offer.”

The Rocket Mortgage Classic is a continuation of the “For More Than Profit” philosophy of its title sponsor, Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. Believing in doing well by doing good, the company’s philanthropic arm, the Quicken Loans Community Fund, has invested $200 million into Detroit-based organizations and programming since 2010. Additionally, its volunteers have provided 400,000 volunteer hours in its hometown of Detroit. In 2019, the Quicken Loans Community Fund organized volunteers from Quicken Loans and the Rock Family of Companies, who came together with neighborhood residents to paint, plant flowers, weed and mow in areas surrounding Palmer Park.

“Through the Rocket Mortgage Classic, we are able to showcase Detroit to the world,” said Rocket Giving Fund Board Member Laura Grannemann, Vice President of the Quicken Loans Community Fund. “These beneficiaries and nonprofits work tirelessly to make Detroit an inclusive, thriving and resilient city. We are grateful that one week of exciting tournament play can provide a lasting, year-round impact here in our hometown.”

In addition to the Rocket Giving Fund disbursements, national nonprofit Community Solutions received $200,000 through the Shot for Heroes activation at the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic. Community Solutions founded the acclaimed Built for Zero program, which seeks to reduce the number of veterans and individuals chronically experiencing homelessness, The tournament’s title sponsor, Rocket Mortgage, recently launched a national marketing campaign to drive awareness around Built for Zero. The Shot for Heroes activation has raised over $1.2 million in the last five years at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and Quicken Loans National.

The second playing of the Rocket Mortgage Classic is scheduled for May 25-31 at Detroit Golf Club, with a new Memorial Day start. Tickets and more information are available at www.RocketMortgageClassic.com.

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 Nate Lashley added to the historic feel of the week by winning for the first time on the PGA TOUR and becoming the tournament’s inaugural champion. Embodying the spirit of Detroit, the week-long event featured great entertainment, cuisine, and social activities on and off the course.

The Rocket Mortgage Classic was the most awarded event during the 2018-19 PGA TOUR season, being recognized for “Best Special Event” (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. The Rocket Giving Fund is the primary charitable beneficiary of the tournament and will support many local charities. More information is available at RocketMortgageClassic.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@RocketClassic).

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Steve Sweitzer
Steve is the Sports Editor for the Lasco Press and highlights our coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series. Steve is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association and a nationally published author of automotive related articles for industry trade magazines. He is also a freelance technical writer and accomplished photographer. A 25-year resident of Southeast Michigan, Steve’s passion for reporting on our community, it’s residents, and our automotive connections allow us to use his skills to cover a number of events. Steve’s ability to seek out the unique behind the scenes accounts that tell the often-overlooked aspect of a story makes for entertaining reading. Follow Steve at thelascopress.com with weekly NASCAR updates and featured articles.