One year ago, the Gilbert Family Foundation and Rocket Community Fund made a joint $500M philanthropic commitment to build economic stability and increase access to opportunity for Detroit residents. Since then, the Gilbert Family Foundation has been proud to make a number of important investments under our new “Building Opportunity and Equity” pillar and we’re excited to share their impact.
Our first $15M investment as part of this commitment was the creation of the Detroit Tax Relief Fund, which aims to break the cycle of tax debt for thousands of Detroit families at risk of property tax foreclosure. To date, the Detroit Tax Relief Fund has wiped out the back property taxes of 4,516 Detroit families, and there are nearly two thousand more in the pipeline.
The ongoing success of the Detroit Tax Relief Fund is central to the success of our shared mission to support Detroit residents. Alongside the Rocket Community Fund, we aim to stabilize housing for Detroiters at risk of tax foreclosure or eviction, then provide access to wraparound supports that increase their household income and assets, helping them achieve economic stability and build wealth.
One example of an investment that creates pathways to greater economic stability and wealth is our support for the Apple Developer Academy. Last fall, the Gilbert Family Foundation proudly made an $11M investment to bring this innovative program to downtown Detroit, which will help participants cultivate the skills necessary for careers in the rapidly growing tech economy.
Since our announcement last year, our organizations have combined to commit nearly $50 million to community organizations and programming that will build economic opportunity and equity for Detroit families. Take a look at this video of our co-founder, Jennifer Gilbert, as she highlights the impact we’ve made together in the past year:
The Rocket Community Fund is building upon that progress with the establishment of a new fund to support job growth and economic development in the Motor City.
At a special press conference, the Rocket Community Fund announced the pilot program of the Motor City Contractor Fund, which was created by the Rocket Community Fund and other partners to ensure that Detroit-based contractors have the capacity and capital to benefit from the rehab, repair, and construction that is happening around our city.
“Development continues to exponentially increase across our city, which will catalyze economic impact, and it is critical that Detroit-based contractors are well-positioned to be a part of that growth,” said Laura Grannemann, Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund, which is investing the first $1 million into the program’s administration and operations. “Detroit-based contractors have historically been overlooked, but the Motor City Contractor Fund will increase access to financing for local contractors, empowering them to grow their business and create more jobs for Detroiters.”
Together, we’ve shown that if you believe in something, we can make it happen together. We will continue to realize this vision as we work together to build programs that meaningfully impact residents in our hometown of Detroit.