The Rocket Community Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) recently announced the creation of the Rocket Wealth Accelerator Program, which will serve resident clients in Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Atlanta. The Rocket Wealth Accelerator, through a $2 million investment by the Rocket Community Fund, will provide clients with coaches who will work with them to improve their ability to meet emergency needs, build their credit and grow generational wealth.
Over the next 12 months, LISC staff will onboard and train coaches, connect with community members eager to build savings, establish incentives programming and develop the necessary infrastructure to launch and roll out the program in each market through local community partners.
In addition to coaching, the program also provides matching dollars for participants’ savings plans, with up to $500 for people with large-dollar goals such as purchasing a home or vehicle, and up to $300 for those with short-term or emergency savings goals.
“The Rocket Wealth Accelerator is a small step toward leveling the playing field for Black and minority families who have endured a system that prevents them from accumulating wealth, or passing that wealth onto the next generation,” said Laura Grannemann, Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund, the philanthropic partner of Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT). “By providing residents with coaching, as well as directly investing in their futures through our one-to-one savings account match program, the Rocket Wealth Accelerator will help put participants on a sustainable path to homeownership.”
The Rocket Wealth Accelerator is available to any income-qualified family, but specifically aims to address systemic racism and racial injustice that have decimated Black wealth. Nearly half of all Black and Hispanic households are unbanked or underbanked, and Black Americans are twice as likely to be denied for credit. The Rocket Wealth Accelerator additionally hopes to put participants on a path to homeownership, combating the Black-white homeownership gap that is wider today than it was when race-based discrimination against homebuyers was legal.
The Rocket Wealth Accelerator leverages the infrastructure of LISCs Financial Opportunity Center® (FOC) network in Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta and Milwaukee. LISC has a network of more than 130 centers embedded in community-based organizations across the country, which offer job training and placement services, financial coaching and education, income supports and other services aimed to help families boost their savings, build credit, reduce expenses and make sound financial decisions that increase assets.
Once the program is launched in each of the Rocket Wealth Accelerator cities, those interested in becoming potential clients can visit one of the participating FOC locations and sit with a financial coach, who will work with them to understand their long-term goals. Qualified clients include those who are striving toward homeownership, a car purchase or increasing emergency and short-term savings.
One of the participating LISC FOC locations, SER Metro Detroit, is a LISC partner and employment placement agency dedicated to giving clients the resources needed to create a life of self-sufficiency and self-fulfillment.
“SER Metro-Detroit is proud to be a Center for Working Families/Financial Opportunity Center since 2008. We have helped almost 2,000 Detroiters with their financial goals since 2018, including offering a variety of saving and credit-building products, said Veronica Sanchez Peavey, Sr Assistant Vice President at SER Metro-Detroit. “The Rocket Wealth Accelerator funding will support the expansion of these efforts and allow us to offer funds to meet our participant’s emergency needs and establish longer-term savings for essential 3–6-month expenses or for purchasing a car or a home. SER’s ultimate goal is to help our participants and their families build assets and wealth and become financially healthy.”
The Rocket Wealth Accelerator will focus primarily on building savings in the short-, medium- and long-term. In the short-term, the Accelerator will provide coaching and matching incentives to help clients prepare for emergency needs. It will then increase opportunities for savings and credit counseling to facilitate and complement savings goals. Finally, it will lay the groundwork for long-term planning, including retirement, estate planning and more that will aid in the generational transfer of wealth.
“Unemployment in Detroit is at its lowest levels in 20 years and household incomes for families in our city are rising. As Black Detroiters generate more income, it’s important that they understand how to save and to build generational wealth,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We are fortunate to have great community partners in LISC and the Rocket Community Fund to provide not only training but also financial incentives to help program participants build their savings or make important life purchases such as a vehicle or home.”
Participants in the Rocket Wealth Accelerator will also receive access to a free, three-month subscription to Rocket Money, a part of Rocket Companies. Rocket Money, formerly known as Truebill, empowers people to live their best financial lives by managing subscriptions, lowering their bills, building budgets and other valuable services saving them time and money. With Rocket Money, Rocket Wealth Accelerator participants will have a better understanding of their current economic situation while they work with coaches to improve their outlook on their path to homeownership and wealth creation.
Future details about Rocket Wealth Accelerator’s community impact will be shared on www.lisc.org.