10 years of place-based work

AR GNI cover v3 Headline


In 2006, the Skillman Foundation set out to change conditions for Detroit kids by creating the 10-year, $100-million Good Neighborhoods Initiative. To best understand the outcomes of the long-term neighborhood-based work, we worked with a variety of evaluators, residents, stakeholders, grant partners, staff and trustees to form a series of analyses and dialogues. Together, these products make up KIDS MATTER HERE: An Analytic Review of the 10-year Good Neighborhoods Initiative

We hope to synthesize what the decade of work has accomplished, inform our decisions going forward, and build and share knowledge locally and nationally.

Analytic Review Summary Report

GNI AR summary cover

Download our Good Neighborhoods Analytic Review Summary Report, a comprehensive analysis of how the Good Neighborhoods Initiative evolved, what it accomplished, and what lessons it offers.

Also available for download is a 4-page Executive Summary Report.









Analytic Review reports by investment area

Community Leadership

AR GNI building grassroots w logo
Strengthening Grassroots Community Leadership in Detroit

Authored by Touchstone Center for Collaboration Inquiry 

An evaluation report on the Community Connections Grants Program (2006-2015), a resident-centered grant program working to strengthen civic engagement and grassroots leadership in Detroit. It awards grants of $500 to $5,000 to local projects that mobilize residents to improve opportunities and conditions for youth.

Download the full report


Investing in nontraditional leaders
Maximizing Returns: Investing in Nontraditional Leaders

Co-authored by resident leaders Mohammad Dawood, Jerry Ann Hebron, Lisa Luevanos, Mary Luevanos and Victor Robinson

Learnings from a group of resident leaders on the importance of grassroots leadership capacity building. 

Download the full report

Neighborhood Impact Statements

Written by neighborhood governance organizations

The Good Neighborhoods Initiative was structured around residents leading change in the their neighborhoods. To support resident-led change, the Foundation helped bring community members together so they could organize, and provided leadership training, technical assistance and funding. In some communities, this organizing took place within governance councils. The following documents are a look at what four Detroit neighborhood governance councils were able to accomplish during the 10 year Good Neighborhoods Initiative, as well as their goals for the future.

GNI AR Added Value Cover
The Added Value of Long-Term Investment in Neighborhoods: Two Case Studies from the Skillman Foundation's Good Neighborhoods Initiative

By David Scheie

What difference can 10 years of steady, responsive philanthropic support make to a resourceful but distressed neighborhood? What is the added value of long-term investment in neighborhoods? These are the questions probed in two case studies at the heart of this essay, giving the reader a sense of the texture and dynamics of the work over time.

Download the report 

curtisCenter cover AR
Community Leadership Strategy: The Arc of Learning, and Neighborhood Profiles

By the University of Michigan Curtis Center

This report describes the strategy for building community leadership during the initial years of the GNI and examines progress toward established goals.

Download the report


Safety GNI REview Cover

Safety Strategy Review 2013-2016

Prepared by JFM Consulting Group

A review of the Foundation’s safety strategy from 2013-2016, during which time the Foundation set out to increase the actual and perceived safety of children through an alignment of efforts between a broad cross section of stakeholders, including the Detroit Police Department and Detroit Public Schools.

Download the report


Youth Development

youth development AR cover
The Skillman Foundation's Youth Development Strategy: A Summary of Evaluation Findings, 2014-2015

Prepared by Learning for Action

This report includes findings on the youth development programs that the Foundation has funded, challenges and advance made by the Foundation and its partners in building a stronger system of youth development services, and recommendations for how to move forward with continued system building.

Download the full report


gni education cover
Education: Investing in Education Quality for Detroit Youth

Authored by Institute for Research and Reform in Education

This evaluation report has three major elements: quantitative results on key education outcomes from the six Skillman Good Neighborhoods; an analytic review of selected investment strategies by the Foundation in these and other neighborhoods; and recommendations for creating conditions to improve education quality in Detroit. 

Download the full report

Social Innovation
social innovation cover

Social Innovation: Accomplishments and Early Lessons

Authored by Susan Parker, Clear Thinking Communications

This report explores the Skillman Foundation's use of innovative financial tools and relationships with the private sector to support its program strategies aimed at improving the lives of Detroit children.

Download the report


Civic Leadership
civic leadership

Civic Leadership: Highlights from the Good Neighborhoods Initiative

Authored by Mark A. Lelle

An examination of the Skillman Foundation's civic leadership practice. 

Download the report



Detroit Context
D3 GNI context GNI AR cover

A Decade in Review: Conditions in Detroit and the Skillman Good Neighborhoods 

Authored by Data Driven Detroit 

A report on the overall context for the initiative that draws from a wide range of data sources to describe macro-scale trends in Detroit and each of the Skillman Good Neighborhoods. It is designed to provide a description of major demographic, political, economic and social factors that affected Detroit both before and during the neighborhoods initiative.  

Download the report

Related Products

The Skillman Foundation's Analytic Review process has been led by Skillman Foundation Director of Evaluation & Learning Marie Colombo, who joined the Foundation as the Good Neighborhoods Initiative was launching in 2006. Read Marie's thoughts about candidly, respectfully and skillfully reflecting Good Neighborhoods work here.