Here’s where the numbers make no sense. Of the 66 construction contractors in Detroit, 48 of them are minority-owned. And according to Rock Holdings Vice Chairman Bill Emerson, those contractors are not getting Detroit work.
“There’s only 5% of the contractors in metro Detroit that 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 the black community.”
Emerson made his comments at a press conference announcing a new $10 million fund to give low-interest loans, technology and business advisory services to 20 Detroit-based contractors.
Called the Motor City Contractor Fund, the pilot program is funded by the (Dan) Gilbert Family Foundation and Rocket Community Fund, along with several Detroit nonprofits. The groups will coordinate efforts to give contractors represented by indigenous people and other people of color equity access to technical support and capital.
The pilot program will start with the Rocket Community Fund’s $1 million investment and is only open to Detroit-based contractors. The new tools help contractors get contracts for “rehab, home repair, new construction, demolition and other public/private projects.”
“Like all our philanthropic initiatives, we’re here to address the long-term systemic problem,” Emerson added.
Other nonprofits contributing to the fund are Barton Malow Builders, Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF) and Invest Detroit. Invest Detroit will serve as loan originator.