Crain’s Detroit Business
June 27, 2022
In the run up to next month’s Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament, a partnership of corporate and philanthropic entities is expanding “technology hubs” around the city of Detroit.
The Connect 313 Fund, which consists of Rocket Mortgage, the city of Detroit, Microsoft, and United Way for Southeastern Michigan and aims to “bridge the digital divide in Detroit,” announced the expansion of the hubs in a news release on Monday.
The technology hubs offer Detroit residents access to computer hardware, internet access, and digital literacy training initiatives.
The expansion will add 17 hubs, bringing the effort to a total of 22 technology hubs, according to a news release. The expansion aims to put at least one hub in each of Detroit’s seven City Council districts.
“We set a goal two years ago to provide Detroiters vital access to the tools and technology they need to thrive. The opening of these new technology hubs is a huge step toward that goal,” Bob Walters, CEO of Detroit-based Rocket Mortgage, said in the release. “These additional neighborhood tech hubs will help even more Detroiters connect to education and employment opportunities, unleash their potential, and grow community.”
The expansion is part of Rocket’s “Changing the Course” initiative, now in its third year, and aims to ensure that every Detroit resident will have access to the internet, technology, and digital literacy programming within a 10-minute walk of their home.
Since launching in 2019, the Rocket Mortgage-sponsored PGA golf tournament, held at the Detroit Golf Club, has invested more than $5.25 million into local nonprofits, including $3.2 million through the Changing the Course initiative, which was first launched in 2020.
“We are proud that the Rocket Mortgage Classic can continue its critical Changing the Course mission in such an impactful way, moving Detroit one step closer to closing its digital divide,” stated Jason Langwell, executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “The Rocket Mortgage Classic is about more than golf – it’s about giving back to the city we call home and each resident across Detroit’s neighborhoods.”
Joshua Edmonds, the city of Detroit’s director of digital inclusion, said the technology hub initiative thus far represents a total investment of $300,000, which includes $15,000 grants for the neighborhood locations and $45,000 for various marketing initiatives for the program.