June 30, 2022
June 28, 2022
The Connect 313 Fund – a collaborative partnership formed to bridge the digital divide in Detroit and founded by the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Rocket Mortgage, City of Detroit, Microsoft and United Way for Southeastern Michigan – today announced the creation of 17 new neighborhood technology hubs across Detroit.
At least one tech hub will be located in each of Detroit’s seven council districts, ensuring citywide access to these trusted community spaces that provide internet connectivity, technology and digital literacy programming. Detroit will go from five neighborhood technology hubs to 22 overall, a drastic improvement in a city that, in 2019, was ranked as the least connected large city in the country. Thanks to the efforts of Connect 313 and other digital inclusion efforts, 67.5 percent of Detroit residents are now considered digitally included.
“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,” said Bob Walters, chief executive officer of Rocket Mortgage, the title sponsor of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “These additional neighborhood tech hubs will help even more Detroiters connect to education and employment opportunities, unleash their potential and grow community.”
The announcement took place at the Rocket Mortgage Classic Media Day. The PGA TOUR event, which will be held July 26-31 at the Detroit Golf Club, began its “Changing the Course” mission in 2020 to help bridge Detroit’s digital divide. The goal of Changing the Course is to ensure every Detroiter has access to the internet, technology and digital literacy programming within a 10-minute walk of their home.
“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,” said 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.”
Since 2019, the Rocket Mortgage Classic has invested more than $5.25 million into local nonprofits, including $3.2 million through the Changing the Course initiative first launched in 2020. Additional philanthropic efforts include the Connect 313 Fund’s “EBB 313” campaign – launched at the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic Media Day – which connected more than 82,500 Detroit households to the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). This represented more than 30 percent of Detroit households.
The EBB, now the American Connectivity Program (ACP), originally provided a $50 monthly discount toward internet access for low-income households and a one-time $100 subsidy toward a technological device. Today, the ACP continues to provide a monthly $30 benefit.
The Connect 313 Fund also announced a new digital literacy curriculum, designed for learners, teachers and organizations who are new to digital literacy programming. The curriculum, based completely on open-source programming, covers basic digital literacy skills as well as tips on how to obtain internet service and a technological device. The playbook will be available in the coming weeks on the Connect 313 Fund website, where it can also be printed.
“The Connect 313 Fund’s new digital literacy curriculum will help residents develop the basic skills required to succeed in our modern, interconnected world,” said Joshua Edmonds, the City of Detroit’s director of digital inclusion and the chief advocate for Connect 313. “From understanding the basics of software programs, to social media and how to operate a device, this free, online curriculum will help level the playing field for every Detroiter.”
The following organizations, and their locations, were selected from a list of more than 40 applicants to become Connect 313 neighborhood tech hubs. They are expected to open by the end of the year.
Each of these tech hubs will receive grant support ensuring they are furnished with access to computers, high-speed internet, digital literacy programming capabilities and other essential technology tools. They will also provide critical in-person technology support and guidance.