The Rocket Mortgage Classic, the first PGA Tour event held in the city of Detroit, in partnership with its sponsor Rocket Mortgage, unveiled “Changing the Course” this week — a multiyear campaign to bring access to the internet, technology and digital literacy to all Detroiters.
The development comes after the COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on an underaddressed issue in the city: lack of internet access. The initiative aims to close Detroit's digital gap by 2025.
Rocket Mortgage Classic As 'Driver Of Lasting Change'
“As we witnessed the heartbreaking toll that COVID-19 has had on our city, we knew we had to use the Rocket Mortgage Classic as a driver of lasting change,” Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner said in a statement.
“In talking to leaders and partners throughout the city, the issue of internet accessibility always came back to the top. Kids are falling behind because they can’t get to school, parents cannot search for jobs, and families were unable to get needed telemedicine. Detroiters deserve better.”
Farner Says Internet Access A 'Systemic, Generational Issue'
Detroit ranks as the least connected city in America, with nearly 30% of homes lacking access to broadband, according to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. With the onset of COVID-19, internet inaccessibility reduced civic engagement and created information asymmetries.
“Addressing this systemic, generational issue that Detroiters have been facing since the inception of the internet, is the kind of greater mission we targeted the moment we learned that the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic was moving forward,” Farner said.
“We thank our community partners and key leaders who have assisted us in honing our strategy to make a tangible impact for the better.”
This year's PGA tournament is scheduled for July 2-5 at Detroit Golf Club as a TV-only event sans spectators.
Detroit's PGA Tour Stop Helping Those In Need
Last year, the Rocket Mortgage Classic event raised and donated $1.2 million to nonprofit organizations and invested in Detroit. This year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic will serve as a vehicle for awareness, fundraising and further idea generation, according to the "Changing the Course" announcement.
The project’s roadmap will be released to the public in the coming weeks.
“When we announced the tournament’s new date, we said that we were flipping this event on its head,” said Jason Langwell, executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “Once out of the gate, our mindset for the 2020 event has been centered on how we can set the standard for how a PGA Tour event can galvanize an entire community to assist at-need populations.”
To learn more about the Rocket Mortgage Classic as well as initiatives that will help Detroit address the digital divide, visit RocketMortgageClassic.com.
Photo by Anon from Pexels.