Gilbert fund to pay off 5K Detroiters tax debt, hires community director

Detroit – The Gilbert Family Foundation announced Thursday that it plans to pay off 5,000 residents’ property taxes by the end of the year through its Detroit Tax Relief Fund and has hired a Detroit resident to help with oversee the program.

The Detroit Tax Relief Fund was formed in March when billionaire business owner Dan Gilbert announced plans to invest $ 500 million in Detroit neighborhoods over the next decade.

Since then, the fund has paid back taxes for 1,600 Detroit residents and has 3,250 more to pay by the end of the year, the foundation said Thursday.

Following national research, the foundation hired Darnell Adams as Director of Detroit Community Initiatives to lead the organization’s urban programs under its “Building Opportunity and Equity” pillar, previously announced by the Gilbert family.

The tax relief funds are administered by the Wayne Metro Community Action Agency and aim to preserve approximately $ 400 million in wealth and home equity in Detroit.

“We are encouraged by the progress we have already made with the Detroit Tax Relief Fund to repay the property tax burden of 1,600 Detroit residents, freeing up equity and opportunities for them and their families,” Louis Piszker, CEO of Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, said in a press release Thursday. “While the moratorium on tax foreclosures was a critical need amid the ongoing pandemic, our concern was that it would reduce the urgency for homeowners to enroll in this program. We are grateful that this was not the case.

As Director of Detroit Community Initiatives, Adams will oversee the deployment of $ 350 million in philanthropic investment, which is directly linked to the ten-year, $ 500 million joint commitment between the Gilbert Family Foundation and the Rocket Community Fund. announced by Dan and Jennifer Gilbert in March. .

Adams previously served as vice president of program implementation at Invest Detroit and director of stocks for the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

“Dan and I are honored to welcome Darnell to the Gilbert Family Foundation team. Her experience, talents and dedication to Detroit will have an unprecedented impact on our community, ”said Jennifer Gilbert, entrepreneur and co-founder of the Gilbert Family Foundation, in the statement. “Darnell leads by always asking questions first. Her curiosity and empathy enable her to fill in the gaps and connect residents to the resources they need, build community and expand access to equity and opportunity.

Darnell will report to Laura Grannemann, Interim Executive Director of the Gilbert Family Foundation and Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund.

“To have the opportunity to work hand in hand with the Detroiters – to be intentional, thoughtful and inclusive with the right partners and resources – has been a dream for me since I was a kid,” Adams said in a statement. “Detroit is full of talented organizations and individuals who have done an incredible job of keeping this great city moving during its toughest times. I look forward to developing the Foundation’s relationships with these partners to intensify their impact.

In addition to the clients served by the foundation’s fund, 5,000 additional Detroit residents who requested assistance were referred for a property tax exemption through the Property Tax Assistance Program for Homeowners. city, officials said.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he cut property taxes by 20% shortly after taking office. A state-ordered reassessment of all residential properties in Detroit was completed in 2017, but thousands of homeowners faced foreclosure for back taxes.

A 2020 Detroit News survey found homeowners were overtaxed by at least $ 600 million in the years following the Great Recession.

For more information on the Detroit Tax Relief Fund, call (313) 244-0274 or visit the Wayne Metro Property Tax Assistance page.

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Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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