Rocket Community Fund hopes to bolster minority contractors in Detroit

Detroit — A $10 million pilot program launched Tuesday by the Rocket Community Fund and several partners aims to address the disparity of minority contractors in the state’s largest city.

The Motor City Contractor Fund was created to increase minority lending and provide resources to help Detroit-based contractors compete for billions in annual commercial construction projects, Bill Emerson, vice-chair of Rock Holdings, said at Tuesday’s announcement at State Savings Bank.

Detroit lacks minority-owned contractors. Of Metro Detroit’s roughly 1,300 contractors, 66 are based in Detroit, and 48 are minority-owned, Emerson said.

“It’s simple, only 5% of the contractors in Metro Detroit are based in Detroit and more than $5 billion in annual commercial construction that happens in Detroit is wealth that is leaving the city and leaving the Black community,” said Emerson, adding the program will serve as a future model for greater economic mobility.

“Their success will result in the hiring of more Detroiters as well as inspire the next generation of contractors to participate in the program and become equipped with all the tools that they need to succeed.”

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The Rocket Community Fund is fronting the first $1 million and partnered with Community Reinvestment Fund USA, Invest Detroit and Detroit-based Barton Malow Builders to provide an additional $9 million to 20 minority contractors.