Quicken charities donate $1.2M to help those affected by coronavirus

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

The Quicken Loans Community Fund and Gilbert Family Foundation on Monday announced a combined $1.2 million donation to help vulnerable residents and small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are living in very uncertain times," said said Laura Grannemann, vice president of Quicken Loans Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of mortgage lender Quicken Loans, Bedrock and the affiliated companies.

"We want to be as proactive as possible in making sure we are as supportive of our community as possible," she said.

Quicken Loans Community Fund and the Gilbert Family Foundation will contribute the largest portion of the donation, $500,000, to be invested into the United Way for Southeastern Michigan COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

The COVID-19 response fund is a United Way collaboration that is working to raise $10 million to help older adults, families who lose income because of school or business closures, the homeless, and people who get sick and can't afford medical care. 

The fund has raised $3.5 million with two partners, DTE Energy and the Skillman Foundation, and is awaiting funding from seven other organizations. The $500,000 from the Quicken Loan Community Fund and Gilbert Family Foundation is critical to reaching its goal and helping more people in the community weather the crisis, said Darienne Hudson, president and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

"This is going to help the crisis at hand and help keep our families whole," said Hudson.

To address housing instability issues, the Gilbert Family Foundation will donate $250,000 to the United Community Housing Coalition to address mortgage, rental and utility assistance, and other issues exacerbated by the fallout of the coronavirus.

To ensure small businesses and grant partners maintain operations, $450,000 will be provided by the Quicken Loans Community Fund as flexible investments.

“The Gilbert Family Foundation is proud to invest in United Way and United Community Housing Coalition in order to mitigate the impacts of this virus today and for the foreseeable future," said Jennifer Gilbert, co-founder of the Gilbert Family Foundation. "We encourage other organizations to join us in supporting this necessary cause.”

It is critical to support those in need during such an unprecedented time, said Grannemann.

"Each us individually and all of us collectively have a responsibility to make sure that we are are taking action in this time," she said.

That means funding nonprofits to make sure there is help with food distribution, housing assistance and support for the community fund's small business and nonprofit partners.

The Quicken Loans Community Fund also set up a matching fundraising campaign for its employees in its home communities of Detroit, Cleveland, Phoenix and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Employees will be able to donate directly to some local nonprofits providing services to local residents. Among the organizations are the Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Focus: HOPE, Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners Community Food Bank.