Connect 313 Campaign and the Rocket Mortgage Classic
Connect 313 announced a citywide campaign to streamline access to the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). This is a federal program that subsidizes the cost of Internet and technological devices for every eligible household. The program was kicked off on June 7, 2021, at media day for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
EBB provides a monthly discount of $50 for Internet access, as well as a one-time discount of $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or a tablet for residents that qualify. Detroit is one of the most disconnected major cities when it comes to Internet, and with more than 250,000 Detroit residents qualifying for the program it will help them get back on track with the rest of the nation. This program works alongside the United Way on getting refurbished devices to residents who cannot afford or have a device of their own.
Connect 313 is a collaboration between the City of Detroit, Rocket Mortgage Classic, Rocket Companies, Microsoft, and the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, to help close the digital divide that we have here in the city. The Rocket Companies will operate a central call center that will help Detroit residents who do not have access to the Internet to help them understand their options when it comes to the EBB program and identify which service provider will work best for them. Since the associates who are working the call center cannot directly apply for the residents, each will inform qualified residents where they can go to complete the application process if they do not have Internet access. Local nonprofits will help any resident who does not have access to the Internet to help them complete the application process.
The goals of the Connect 313 partnership focus on four pillars:
- Collecting accurate neighborhood-level data on technology, Internet access and digital resources.
- Building and supporting neighborhood technology hubs by investing in trusted community centers to grow technology resources.
- Empowering and financially supporting residents across the city to become digital literacy ambassadors in their neighborhoods.
- Coordinating city wide fundraising and public advocacy for systematic change in digital inclusion.
The Rocket Mortgage Classic will play a huge role when it comes to Connect 313 and the EBB Campaign. In 2020, the Rocket Mortgage Classic announced its multi-year “Changing the Course” initiative, partnering with their main sponsor Rocket Mortgage. The Changing the Course initiative aims to ensure that every Detroiter has access to the Internet, technology, and digital literacy programming within a 10-minute walk of their home. During the first year of the initiative, the Rocket Mortgage Classic was able to invest 2.4 million dollars to launch the Connect 313 campaign.
With the Rocket Mortgage Classic growing every year, some of golf’s biggest names come to play. In fact, this past year Bryson Dechambeau decided to come play in Detroit. Not only did he win the entire tournament, but he fell in love with the city of Detroit, and what they are trying to do to end the digital divide. Bryson was so inspired by the campaign that he decided to partner with Rocket Mortgage on a corporate sponsorship deal. This deal will bring him back to the city of Detroit to help with the Connect 313 campaigns and compete in the Rocket Mortgage Classic each year.
“The Rocket Mortgage Classic is all about building an exciting event in our home city that simultaneously creates opportunity for Detroit residents. Internet and technology are critical to everyday life, whether you are talking about education, employment, healthcare, or even building connections or staying in touch with loved ones. The EBB is an important step in fighting to bridge the digital divide.” said Jay Farner, CEO of Rocket Mortgage and Rocket Companies, and Chairman of the Connect 313 Fund.
The third annual Rocket Mortgage Classic will be held June 28-July 4, 2022, as the PGA Tour’s only tournament ever in the city of Detroit. Net proceeds will continue to be directed to the Connect 313 Fund through the Rocket Giving Fund, which manages the Rocket Mortgage Classic.