Rocket Mortgage Classic Supports Detroit Education
Often lost in the coverage of PGA TOUR golf tournaments is the fact that — at their core — they are all about local charities and organizations. Players get the headlines and paychecks; corporate sponsors get their names in the lights; the community, however, is the real beneficiary.
Detroit’s Rocket Mortgage Classic exemplifies this. At the recent Rocket Mortgage media day, tournament organizers highlighted the ways in which the Rocket Mortgage Classic is impacting the Detroit community — and in particular, the educational community.
Midnight Golf was one of the featured charitable partners, and to me the most interesting — in part because one of my former students was a participant in the program. As a teacher in a community where students often face unimaginable challenges, I value the sort of support programs like this offer.
An offshoot of the more well-known Midnight Basketball program, it builds on the values of golf to offer high school students a thirty week program of peer-to-peer, mentor-to-student, social-educational-and-emotional support aimed at helping students to college and careers. A highlight of the program is a five day trip to visit colleges.
Midnight Golf has teamed with Marygrove College, and uses that school’s Tom Doak-designed practice facility, which includes a four hole short course, driving range, short game practice area and putting green.
After high school graduation, Midnight Golf helps its students to navigate problems like housing, moving, and choosing majors. They send care packages during the year and keep track of their young people’s progress. After college, MGP offers its graduates assistance with networking, career and life supports.
The organization is extraordinarily successful. They graduate at a rate five times higher than Detroit students not in the Midnight Golf Program.
In addition to donations, during the tournament, Midnight Golf will be able to take advantage of both volunteer and paid internship positions during the tournament. The hands-on event experience should be a boost to college applications and job resumes.
Detroit Children’s Fund
Another educationally focused charity benefiting from the Rocket Mortgage Classic is The Detroit Children’s Fund. Focusing on public education, the DCF “invests in proven school models, high-potential talent and equitable policies and practices to create access to more quality schools for Detroit children.”
Detroit Children’s Fund currently is investing in programs such as the School Collaborative Collective, which helps teacher-leaders make transformational change through collaboration. Other efforts involve the development of Detroit Public Schools’ administrators and aspiring teachers, as well as teacher recruitment.
As a public school teacher, I know all too well that change costs money — money that the state legislature usually fails to provide. It is therefore vital that community schools have the support of charitable foundations and donors such as Rocket Mortgage.
Detroit Golf Club Caddie Scholarship Foundation
Finally, the media day highlighted the Detroit Golf Club’s own Caddie Scholarship Foundation. Similar to the more well-known Evans Scholarship, the DGC’s foundation awards a scholarship to every caddie to meets the work requirements. Recipients get $10,000 payable over four years.
Extending the charitable giving to the majority of nonprofits in the area, the Rocket Mortgage Classic is promoting is the Birdies For Charities program. With this, business and individuals can pledge to donate a set amount to a registered charity for every birdie made by a PGA Tour player during the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Charities who register with the Rocket Mortgage Classic Birdies program will receive 100% of the donations on their behalf.
The field at a PGA TOUR event gets an average of 1,500 birdies a week.
Charities can increase their earnings by encouraging donors. At this point, more than 150 charities have signed on.
With the Rocket Mortgage Classic in town for the next several years, area charities should greatly benefit.