Last year, Laura Grannemann’s dedication to providing Americans with access to safe and affordable housing earned her a spot as one of HousingWire’s 2020 Women of Influence. Today, her passion is still apparent in the work that she’s doing to help those in underserved communities own homes and build wealth.
“COVID-19 has starkly highlighted housing inequities across the country, so while the underlying issues haven’t changed, our level of urgency around mobilizing must increase,” said Grannemann, vice president of strategic investments for Rocket Community Fund. “No matter what issue you look at — repair issues, tax foreclosure, homelessness, etc. — the racial wealth gap is at the core.”
We reached out to Grannemann to discuss her latest projects with Rocket Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of Rocket Companies she founded at age 24, and her hopes for the future generations of housing professionals.
HousingWire: Last year you and your team took the lead on tackling complex issues like the lack of quality housing inventory and supporting individuals experiencing chronic and veteran homelessness. Which projects are you focusing on this year and where do you see the most need in 2021?
Grannemann: Home has never been more important than over the past year. COVID-19 has starkly highlighted housing inequities across the country, so while the underlying issues haven’t changed, our level of urgency around mobilizing must increase. No matter what issue you look at — repair issues, tax foreclosure, homelessness, etc. — the racial wealth gap is at the core. The Rocket Community Fund is committed to systemically increasing opportunities for Americans of color to own homes and build wealth.
For example, as part of our 10-year, $500 million commitment to building economic stability and opportunity for residents of Detroit, we recently launched the Detroit Tax Relief Fund, which is a $15 million fund to eliminate unjust property tax debt for low-income Detroit homeowners. This will be the linchpin in ending systemic property tax foreclosures in Detroit.
HW: You have certainly found a clear path with your career in housing. What advice do you have for young professionals, particularly women, who are entering the industry?
LG: Passion is essential in all walks of life, but your ability to execute will set you apart from others. Hone your skills — writing, communication, relationship-building, and industry knowledge. These skills will serve you throughout your entire career, and they are often the ones that are taken for granted.
HW: How do you think this past year of remote work due to COVID-19 has impacted professional development and trajectory for early-career professionals at Quicken and across the mortgage industry?
LG: In the wake of COVID-19, the Rock Family of Companies quickly pivoted to working from home. I’ve been incredibly proud to see how our team has created supportive working environments for team members that set us apart from many other employers, including technology deployment, office furniture distribution and tools for parents and caretakers. As we see significant opportunities for supporting more clients nationwide and driving systemic change in the mortgage industry that increases equitable homeownership, it’s clear that we need early-career professionals to help shape and inform that change.
HousingWire’s Women of Influence nominations are now open for our 2021 awards. But they won’t stay open long – nominations close on April 23, 2021. Nominate your Woman of Influence today!