Here’s a hard truth: consumers don’t want to spend their money with corporations who don’t invest in their community.
Why would they?
At a time of increasing inequality and rampant climate change, consumers are looking for ways to empower people and protect the planet.
Thankfully, a growing number of organizations, like General Motors and Rocket Mortgage, understand this and have been supporting nonprofits in Detroit like Human-I-T for years now.
Now, we’re ready to give an update on one of the most exciting projects we’ve ever undertaken, one that we feel will be a huge help in cementing Motor City as a national leader in digital inclusion: a community retail space.
A brief history of GM and Rocket’s support of Human-I-T
In early 2020, nearly 33% of Detroiters lacked access to an internet-connected device at home. This crisis of disconnectedness only got worse for the city’s residents in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given this, Rocket and GM embraced the opportunity to find creative ways to help their hometown – to keep up as everything moved online.
So, they lent their time, resources, and financial support to Human-I-T, and made sure we had whatever we needed to connect individuals to devices, high-speed internet, technical support, and digital training.
This method was highly successful at empowering Detroiters with access to digital technology. In just two years, Human-I-T and its partners in Detroit’s private, public, and nonprofit sectors helped shrink the number of Detroiters without access to technology by 25%.
However, we always knew that these impacts were merely a nod to the potential impact our work in Detroit could really have.
Human-I-T’s Community Retail Store in Detroit
If we were going to ensure every Detroiter had what they needed to remain competitive in the digital economy, we were going to have to expand our reach and be a constant presence in the communities we serve.
To us, that meant really putting down roots right in the center of Detroit, and providing an easily-accessible location where Detroiters of all walks of life could come in and receive the assistance they need connecting to digital technology.
With this in mind, we decided to embark on a truly ambitious journey of opening Detroit’s first-ever community retail space, located on 7 Mile Road. Our vision was to create a place where every Detroit resident could get help accessing and using technology and the internet – regardless of their income. In a city where one in three residents still can’t access opportunities online, a space like this would be more than just a cool idea: it would be a game changer.
So, with the support of Rocket and GM, we’ve spent the past year designing, building, and, we’ll be honest, admiring the space. In fact, we’ve been so excited about how this project is progressing that our team invited members from Rocket Community Fund and General Motors to take the first tours of our space on the corner of Livernois and 7 Mile Road.
From the looks of the photos we took, it seems like everyone there was in agreement that this space represented something special: equal access to opportunity. And, believe it or not, we’re much closer to realizing that vision than we were when these photos were taken.
As of now, our building permits have been finalized and we’re now ready to start construction! We look forward to continuing updating you all on our buildout as we prepare to launch Human-I-T on 7 Mile.
Get ready Detroit: soon, every Detroiter will have a physical place they can go to get help accessing the limitless opportunities available to them online.