Gilbert Family Foundation pays off Detroit family’s $2,300 tax debt

Gilbert Family Foundation, Rocket Community Fund to prioritize housing, equity needs in Detroit

The promise by the Gilbert Family Foundation to pay the property tax debt of 20,000 Detroiters is already having a big impact.

DETROIT – The promise by the Gilbert Family Foundation to pay the property tax debt of 20,000 Detroiters is already having a big impact.

In March, Dan and Jennifer Gilbert pledged $500 million toward economic stability for the city and its residents.

Original Story: Local organizations to invest $500M into Detroit, eliminate homeowner property tax debt for thousands

Linda Cardella worked for years as a mortgage specialist, helping people save their homes. She never thought she’d be the one who would need saving.

A collision forced Cardella to leave her job.

“The accident threw me into a financial tizzy,” Cardella recalled.

Before she knew it, she fell $2,300 behind on the taxes on her 90-year-old home and it fell into foreclosure.

“Could you imagine having to leave your house you’ve been in over a decade and you’re not prepared?” Cardella asked. “It was scary.”

When she saw Dan Gilbert on TV speak about paying off Detroiters’ property taxes, she called and was approved. She got a phone call that she will never forget.

“I went online to the treasury and looked up and it was paid,” Cardella said. “I was like ‘Oh, my God. This is really paid! This is awesome!’”

Laura Granneman, with the Gilbert Family Foundation, said they don’t just cover the outstanding bill, but homeowners are connected with the Detroit Tax Relief Fund to help with future tax bills.

“This is not an academic exercise to us, this is real lives,” Granneman said. “It’s really important that we’re not just eliminating the problem at the highest level, but we’re really reaching the root of the problem for these families and the root problem for many of these families is high property tax bills.”

“It was very exciting. It was relieving,” Cardella said. “It was a lifesaver. It’s not an overstatement.”

To learn more about the organizations’ investment, visit the Gilbert Family Foundation’s website here.

Related: New coalition in Detroit aims to reduce child poverty in the city

About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.