Detroit’s Rocket Mortgage Classic Contributes $1.61 Million to Local Non-Profits

0
1104
Detroit Golf Club, Detroit, MI — January 13, 2024
The Rocket Giving Fund has announced that the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Classic raised $1.61 million to support local Detroit nonprofits. Connect 313, a collaborative partnership focused on bridging Detroit’s digital divide that was founded at the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic, will receive $581,400 of the proceeds.
  •  More than $581,000 was allocated to Connect 313 as part of the tournament’s signature “Changing the Course” initiative to bridge Detroit’s digital divide
  • More than $8.4 million has been raised by the tournament in total, with $4.3 million supporting “Changing the Course”
  • For the second time, Rocket Mortgage Classic earns PGA TOUR’s “Fair Way Award,” which recognizes the tournament that excels at diversity, inclusion and social responsibility

Since 2019, the Rocket Mortgage Classic has invested more than $8.4 million into local charitable organizations, including $4.3 million in contributions to the event’s landmark “Changing the Course” initiative to connect Detroit residents to high-speed internet, digital devices, and digital training. In addition to its monetary investments to bridge the digital divide in the city, the Rocket Mortgage Classic was recently honored for the second time with the PGA TOUR’s “Fair Way Award for its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. The award recognizes the event’s staging of The John Shippen National Invitational, Detroit Community Days, and Youth Golf Clinic.

2023 Winner Ricky Fowler

Connect 313 

As a part of its ongoing commitment to the community, Connect 313 continues to coordinate city-wide digital inclusion efforts with a focus on connecting as many Detroit residents as possible. One key element of this strategy is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP is a federal initiative that provides $30 in monthly support for internet access and a one-time $100 subsidy for the purchase of a device. Through the efforts of Connect 313 and supporting partners, the Detroit Metro Area has the highest rate of enrollment nationwide with 65% of eligible households enrolling so far, which is more than 20% better than the national average. 

However, an estimated 90,000 Detroit households remain eligible for the program, which is expected to run out of funds in 2024. Though the Biden administration has asked Congress to reauthorize the program, Connect 313 is working hard to enroll as many people as possible. With funding from the Rocket Mortgage Classic and United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Connect 313 is launching a multi-channel awareness campaign to help drive signups for the ACP.

“With the support of the Rocket Mortgage Classic’s ‘Changing the Course’ initiative, more than 141,000 Detroit households have enrolled in the ACP. But that’s just the beginning,” 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. “Through our partnership with Connect 313, we are working hard to provide every Detroit resident the resources they need to connect and thrive.”

In October, Connect 313 hired Vittoria Katanski as its Director. Katanski was formerly the Executive Director of Hatch Detroit and brings more than 20 years of experience in community development and nonprofit leadership to Connect 313. Under Katanski’s guidance, and with the support of a robust Community Governance board, Connect 313 is also making enhancements to its network of 22 neighborhood technology hubs.

“Connect 313 starts with the premise that an internet connection is no longer a luxury but a needed utility for success in the 21st century,” Katanski said. “Detroit residents deserve access to affordable high-speed internet, appropriate digital devices, and the opportunity to learn critical digital skills. With the support of our partners, we have strategically placed neighborhood tech hubs across the city to provide these services free of charge within a short walking distance for any resident.”

2023 Tournament Disbursements

Thanks to the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Classic, the Rocket Giving Fund made the following donations in support of its “Changing the Course” initiative:

  • $581,400 to Connect 313
  • $70,000 each to Midnight Golf, Detroit Police Athletic League, and First Tee Greater Detroit

Of the money allocated for Connect 313, Rocket Mortgage invested $167,500 through the tournament’s AREA 313 – which is lauded as the most charitable three holes in golf. This friendly 3-hole competition generates donations for Changing the Course when celebrity scramble golfers or PGA TOUR professionals score a 3 on Hole 14 (an eagle) or a 3 on Hole 16 (a birdie) to trigger a $2,500 donation. Those who score a 1 on Hole 15 (a hole-in-one) generate a $10,000 donation.

“The Rocket Mortgage Classic is more than just a golf tournament. It creates a lasting impact for Detroit while offering fans and world-class golfers unique and exciting experiences, like AREA 313,” said Bill Emerson, President of Rocket Companies. “We take great pride in hosting a premier PGA TOUR event every year and using it as a catalyst for good in our communities.”

The Rocket Giving Fund Also Announced the Following Disbursements

  • $75,000 to the Greater Palmer Park Community
  • $888,105 to Golf & Give, as well as other charitable giving and non-cash donations

“It is hard to believe that we have already celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and the one thing that we are most proud of, as we look back at everything we have achieved so far, is the incredible impact this event has made on Detroit,” said Jason Langwell, Executive Director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “This year’s tournament was made even more special by being recognized as a second-time recipient of the ‘Fair Way Award’ from the PGA TOUR.”

DEI Recognition from the PGA TOUR

The Rocket Mortgage Classic was named the recipient of the PGA TOUR’s “Fair Way Award”. The accolade recognizes the tournament that excels at diversity, inclusion, and social responsibility programs promoting equity, fairness, respect, and openness in the local community. Examples of such activities include fostering a tournament culture of inclusiveness, partnering with diverse charitable partners, and engaging in the community around underrepresented and underserved groups. The Rocket Mortgage Classic also won the inaugural “Fair Way Award” in 2019.

One of the reasons the Rocket Mortgage Classic earned this accolade is because of its hosting of The John Shippen National Invitational. This unique event is a tournament designed to showcase Black amateur and professional golfers. All airfare and hotel costs for participating players are covered to ensure that any financial barriers are removed. The event is held annually at Detroit Golf Club the weekend prior to the Rocket Mortgage Classic and the winner receives a sponsor exemption to the PGA TOUR event. Chase Johnson won the third annual John Shippen in 2023 and became the first John Shippen winner to go on to make the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, finishing T64.

In addition to the John Shippen, the “Fair Way Award” was also a result of Rocket Mortgage Classic’s Detroit Community Days and Youth Golf Clinic – which align with the PGA TOUR’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. The tournament’s Detroit Community Days, held Tuesday and Wednesday of tournament week, offers complimentary admission and parking to bring everyone in the community together and offer them a chance to watch their favorite PGA TOUR players. The Youth Golf Clinic provides children in the community an opportunity to learn fundamental golf skills and tips from PGA TOUR professionals and First Tee coaches.

The sixth-annual Rocket Mortgage Classic will be held June 25-30, 2024, at the historic Detroit Golf Club.