Gilbert offers Detroit $500 million in assist, some Cleveland leaders hope for a similar


CLEVELAND – Some leaders in northeast Ohio are hoping the Rocket Companies founder and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert Cleveland will give Cleveland a charitable infusion similar to the unprecedented $ 500 million he gave the city of Detroit on March 25th.

Rock Ventures announced that the Gilbert Family Foundation will provide $ 350 million to Detroit and the Rocket Community Fund will provide $ 150 million over a 10-year period. Philanthropic efforts include helping approximately 20,000 Detroit homeowners repay their property taxes.

Michael Polensek, Councilor for Ward 8 in Cleveland, praised Dan Gilbert’s massive contribution to his hometown, but hoped Gilbert would do the same for the greater Cleveland area, particularly after Northeast Ohio spent roughly $ 70 million renovating the Rocket in 2018 Mortgage Field House had provided.

“You don’t pay property taxes when you look at what we’ve done for him and his subsidiaries,” said Polensek. “Some people tell me we’ve done a lot more than Michigan.”

“When you think about what the people of Ohio, Cuyahoga County, and Cleveland have given them, it’s no wonder they’re all billionaires.”

“I love what you did in Detroit, and I urge you to think about doing something in Cleveland as well.”

“They’re making a difference in Detroit, they’re trying to stabilize this city and God bless them, but we also need stabilization in Cleveland.”

Basheer Jones, councilor for Ward 7 in Cleveland, also recognized Gilbert’s efforts in northeast Ohio, saying it was up to the Cleveland leadership to make the right decisions to pave the way for more assistance.

“After he helps at home, I hope he helps his other home,” said Jones. “We need a lot of help here and the City of Cleveland needs to learn how to do better business.”

“When City Hall does better business, does better business, and puts people first, you will see we get the support we need.”

“Mr. Gilbert understands very well that no one has supported him more in his business than Cleveland.”

Rock Ventures responded to our story by exclusively telling News 5 that there would be a major announcement for Cleveland but did not say when or what it would address.

It also outlined its financial and philanthropic commitment to Northeast Ohio since 2005, making the following statement:

  • Since 2005, Rocket Mortgage and the Rock Family of Companies have invested more than $ 2 billion in real estate and community investments in the Cleveland area.
  • Since 2012, our Cleveland-based team members at Rocket Companies have volunteered more than 18,300 hours.
  • In 2020, our Cleveland team members donated $ 169,028 during our annual Community Challenge, a month-long fundraiser where team members nominate, collect, donate, and advocate for nonprofits that they feel personally connected to. The top three Cleveland nonprofits include the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Ronald McDonald House in Northeast Ohio, and Empower Sports.
  • Rocket Mortgage has partnered with Cleveland Habitat since 2016, contributing nearly $ 2 million to the organization as well as thousands of volunteer hours for team members who have worked with Habitat to build and renovate properties that make it Cleveland – Empowered families to become brand new homeowners. Most of that investment and volunteer hours went into revitalizing the Buckeye neighborhoods.
  • Rocket Mortgage was recognized as the Biggest Company in in 2019 and Top Workplaces des Plain Dealers 2020 and # 1 in the Medium Category.
  • Our organization plans to create 700 jobs by the end of 2024, representing an annual wage increase of $ 52.5 million and generating more than $ 1.31 million in income taxes for the city annually.

Former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis paid tribute to Rock Ventures’ efforts and pointed out its influence in helping bring $ 272 million in federal disease aid to Northeast Ohio in 2016 in a much more difficult financial situation, as it continues to deal with 55,000 to 60,000 vacant houses.

“I salute my former college colleague Mike Polensek for speaking out,” said Rokakis. “But thank goodness we’re not Detroit, Detroit is so much more desperate.”

“There they left property taxes and water bills bad for years, shame on Detroit, shame on their leadership. When they decided to pick them up, they were really forced into a position of foreclosures, not on vacant lots but on occupied buildings, people losing their homes and being forced onto the streets. “

Tony Brancatelli, Councilor for Ward 12 in Cleveland, also had high praise for Gilbert’s contributions to fighting the disease in northeast Ohio, and he hopes Gilbert will be back to help in the near future.

“What they are doing in Detroit is absolutely the right way to do it,” said Brancatelli. “They work with third-party nonprofits.”

“We allowed Gilbert to gamble on our town and the casinos when they opened and hopefully he’ll gamble and invest on us again like they do in Detroit.”