Venture for America to Send 100 Top College Graduates Over Next Five Years to Support Detroit and Cleveland Startups

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Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans Pledge $1.5 Million to Bring Venture for America Entrepreneurship Fellows to Detroit and Cleveland's Urban Core

These young, creative and entrepreneurial Fellows are exactly the kind of talented brain force that the companies who are relocating to the burgeoning urban cores of Detroit and Cleveland want and need, - Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman, Quicken Loans

Venture for America and Quicken Loans Inc. today announced a five-year partnership that will bring dozens of the nation’s most talented and enterprising young college graduates from around the country to Detroit and Cleveland’s developing and creative, tech-focused urban cores over the next five years.

Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, and Majority Owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, has pledged $1.5 million to fund these Venture for America “Fellows,” which provides these new college grads with two-year career opportunities at several established as well as tech startup companies in the downtowns of Detroit and Cleveland. The announcement of the donation was made at Venture for America’s Summer Celebration last night.

Venture for America’s Fellows are recent college graduates and aspiring entrepreneurs chosen through a rigorous, multi-stage application and selection process. The organization, created in 2011, provides U.S.-based startups the talent they need to thrive and create a new generation of business builders and job creators.

“We’re thrilled to bring a host of the country’s top college graduates to support Dan Gilbert’s vision to revitalize Detroit and Cleveland,” said Andrew Yang, Founder and CEO of Venture for America. “Our Fellows have been hard at work helping to build businesses in Detroit this past year. With this commitment, Venture for America will be in Detroit and Cleveland the next five years and beyond.”

Gilbert, over the past two years, has invested $1 billion to acquire more than 7.5 million square-feet of commercial real estate in Detroit, creating a vibrant urban core where young people and others want to live, work and play.

Detroit is attracting some of the country’s most innovative and inspiring artists, designers and new economy businesses to its growing tech hub and creative center. More than 80 companies have settled in buildings owned by Gilbert’s real estate arm, Bedrock Real Estate Services, with some of them currently employing Venture for America Fellows.

“The commitment to Venture for America was a no brainer…these young, creative and entrepreneurial Fellows are exactly the kind of talented brain force that the companies who are relocating to the burgeoning urban cores of Detroit and Cleveland want and need,” said Gilbert.

“Detroit and Cleveland are becoming thriving business hubs,” said Yang. “Our goals align perfectly with what Gilbert’s organization is trying to build, and we believe Venture for America Fellows will have a real impact.”

About Venture for America
Venture for America is a registered 501c3 non-profit corporation designed to do for entrepreneurship what Teach for America has done for education – provide a pathway for young, talented grads to become business builders and job creators in areas of need. In 2012, VFA sent its inaugural group of 40 recent grads from Harvard, Yale, MIT, and other national universities, called “Fellows”, to join start-up companies in low-cost cities around the country, including Detroit, Providence, New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Las Vegas. In 2013, VFA recruited an additional 65 Fellows and expanded to Baltimore, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. Business leaders supporting Venture for America include Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, Andrew Weissman of Union Square Ventures, David Tisch of Techstars NY, Dan Porter of OMGPOP and other luminaries. Philanthropic and corporate supporters include UBS Americas, American Express, Bank of America Foundation, PricewaterhouseCoopers Foundation, Blackstone Foundation, the Abell Foundation, and many other leading institutions.

About Quicken Loans
Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. is the nation’s largest online home lender and the country’s third largest retail home mortgage lender. The company closed a record $70 billion of volume across all 50 states in 2012. Quicken Loans generates loan production from web centers located in Detroit, Cleveland and Scottsdale, Arizona. The company also operates a centralized loan processing facility in Detroit, as well as its San Diego-based One Reverse Mortgage unit. Quicken Loans ranked #1 in customer satisfaction among all home mortgage lenders in the United States by J.D. Power and Associates in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Quicken Loans also ranked among the top-30 companies on FORTUNE Magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the last 10 consecutive years. It ranked in the top-15 of Computerworld magazine’s “100 Best Places to Work in Technology” for the past eight years, ranking in the top-5 in 2012. The company recently moved its headquarters and more than 8,500 of its nearly 10,000 team members to downtown Detroit. For more information about Quicken Loans, please visit, on Twitter at @QLnews, and on Facebook at

About Opportunity Detroit
Opportunity Detroit is a campaign that promotes downtown Detroit as a great place to live, work and play. The campaign launched last fall as a partnership with Quicken Loans, Rock Ventures, the Detroit Regional Chamber (of Commerce), and dozens of non-profit, civic and business organizations in the city. It started with a commercial and web site, and it continues to evolve as a campaign to tell Detroit’s story as an emerging high-tech hub, and the city’s ongoing transformation from a muscle economy of the past to the brain economy of the present and future. For more information, please visit

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