Rocket Mortgage ‘Changing the Course’ for Black Detroit Residents During PGA TOUR Event

As competition in the classic heated up, officials have continued to embrace the mission of giving back to Detroit and the city’s predominately Black neighborhoods.

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Even as Tony Finau, Taylor Pendrit, Cameron Champ, and others stormed atop the leaderboard, officials were again making sure that the PGA TOUR’s Rocket Mortgage Classic continued its four-year-old tradition of being more than just about golf.

As competition in the classic heated up, officials have continued to embrace the mission of giving back to Detroit and the city’s predominately Black neighborhoods. In 2020, the Rocket Mortgage Classic announced the program, “Changing the Course”, to ensure every Detroit resident would have access to the internet, technology, and digital literacy training within a ten-minute walk of their home.

Officials promised that the event would become an awareness vehicle highlighting the urgent need for digital inclusion and direct proceeds toward Connect 313—a partnership between the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Rocket Community Fund, Microsoft, and United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the City of Detroit.

Connect 313 seeks investments to increase access to technology, the internet, and digital literacy resources.
“‘Changing the Course’ is really the way we’ve all come together through this PGA TOUR tournament to drive generational change in Detroit,” said Laura Grannemann, the vice president of the Rocket Community Fund and a board member of the Rocket Giving Fund.

“In everything we do, we try to layer that authentically,” Grannemann stated.
She continued:
“We wanted to drive systemic change, and we started in 2020 right after the pandemic began when the world was upended. We were sitting here deciding whether we should continue with the PGA TOUR tournament.
“The question came down as to whether we were going to be able to be impactful in the Detroit community and if we should produce the tournament with or without guests.”

During the height of the pandemic, Rocket Mortgage decided to produce the classic without guests, and Grannemann said challenges in the community came to light.
“We saw the true depth of the inequities through the course of the pandemic,” she asserted.
And that proved the impetus behind the launch of Changing the Course.
“The goal is to bridge the digital divide. To make sure that every resident is digitally connected,” Grannemann contended.

“Coming into the pandemic, we only had 40 percent digitally connected, and with Detroit being a largely Black city, it became clear that this is stark along racial lines,” she said.
“We are pushing an equity agenda on how we drive digital inclusion and that it looks like not just distributing digital devices, but building trust with community partners, and ensuring that residents have a community space they can go to and ask questions on how to use their devices.”
Grannemann emphasized that the Changing the Course mission is largely executed by the Connect 313 Fund.
She pointed out that the Fund has tirelessly worked to impact the outcome for Detroit residents, even ensuring that residents can access job training, education, telemedicine, and other necessities.

As of May, the efforts have allowed 67.5 percent of Detroit households to become digitally included after only 30 percent enjoyed that status three years ago.
“We started distributing devices to every Detroit Public School student – 51,000 students,” Grannemann stated.
“We expanded that to seniors, particularly those with challenges connected to health care providers, and so far, we’ve distributed 70,000 devices across the city, which has really moved the needle.”

Additionally, Rocket Mortgage increased the number of partners from 5 last year to 22, enabling officials to get the word out about the federal Affordable Connectivity Program.
“We’ve been proud to support the network to drive about 90,000 families to access that subsidy. So it’s been a huge number of folks to access those resources,” Grannemann said.
She noted the “true and deep equity issues” faced primarily by Black residents in Detroit and across the country.

However, Grannemann sees promise.
“There’s hope in that equity issue if you can be intentional about it and bring together a group of passionate leaders who understand that equity issue. Then, we can truly drive systemic change here,” she stated.
Grannemann concluded:
“We have an ‘ism’ that says, ‘you’ll see it when you believe it,’ which is the opposite of believing it when I see it. The more I do this work, the more I realize that it’s pretty incredible what you can do with a group of passionate people.

“The only way to make change happen is by believing you can do it, having the vision, and sticking with it. It’s not easy, and there are hurdles, big hurdles. It will take a lot of time, but we are committed to taking that time and moving this forward.”

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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