More than $1 million awarded to academic-minded youth development


Media Contact: William Hanson, Director of Communications


DETROIT – The Skillman Foundation today announced 34 new grants totaling $3.5 million to support work in youth development, safety, education, social innovation, and community leadership in six Detroit neighborhoods.

Of that, $1.2 million in 13 grants went to the first cohort of youth development work funded through the Foundation’s new RFP process. The RFP was introduced this summer to pool all the Foundation’s youth development grant-making dollars into one pot with the intention of better organizing and strengthening disparate efforts across the six Skillman target neighborhoods and to bring a tighter focus on academics.

The RFP asked nonprofits working in those neighborhoods to submit plans that increase youth educational success by expanding high-quality youth development activities that help youth Achieve, Connect and Thrive. This ACT framework is based on educational and developmental psychology, which identifies the core assets and skill sets important for success in school, college and 21st Century careers:

  • The Achieving domain refers to the skill sets necessary for youth to achieve academically, specifically in developing literacy and math proficiency
  • The Connecting domain refers to building relationship skills that help students develop supportive relationships.
  • The Thriving domain refers to perseverance, self-efficacy, and the resilience necessary for youth to maintain the effort to succeed.

More than 46 proposals came in, and these 13 grants were awarded:

  • $200,000 to Neighborhood Service Organization for $200,000 to support a collaborative youth-led leadership development and violence and substance-abuse intervention and prevention program that will serve middle- and high-school students and engage the Osborn neighborhood by restoring the Osborn Area Youth Leadership Institute to conduct school- and community-based forums around youth violence and substance abuse prevention, all while working with the growing Hmong population in Osborn.
  • $200,000 to YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit for $200,000 will support the ACT One collaboration between the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit, Black Family Development Inc., and the Detroit Leadership Academy High School. The Collaboration will enhance academic performance through mentorship, academic enrichment opportunities, and restorative practices for students enrolled in the Detroit Leadership Academy High School.
  • $150,000 to Cornerstone Schools Association to establish a Reading Accelerator program and to build out the existing Math Accelerator, both in the Osborn neighborhood.
  • $75,000 to Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan for $75,000 to support the academic intervention program Project STARS (Strategically Targeting At-Risk Students), which provides youth development opportunities and academic supports to students who are at risk of failing. 
  • $75,000 to City Year, Inc. to support the youth development program Whole School Whole Child (WSWC), which helps at-risk students in the Cody Rouge neighborhood stay in school by identifying early warning indicators that lead to dropping out and moves them back to on-track graduation. 
  • $75,000 to Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC) to support DHDC’s youth development program that offers 100 youth in Southwest Detroit and Chadsey Condon the opportunity to engage in literacy and math skill exercises, have academic tutoring, gain college exposure through a joint effort with Wayne State University, and connect with supportive services. 
  • $75,000 to Eastern Market Corporation to support the Detroit Food and Entrepreneurship Academy, which uses community-focused good entrepreneurship as a vehicle to activate high school students as critical thinkers, conscious consumers, and community activists, all while increasing math proficiencies.
  • $65,000 to InsideOut Literary Arts Project to create Youth Writing Centers at two targeted schools within the Skillman Good Neighborhoods -- Detroit International Academy for Young Women in Northend Central and Western International High School in Southwest Detroit.
  • $65,000 to Living Arts to support the program Youth Success through Arts. This program occurs after school and during the summer and provides youth with classes in dance and visual, performing and media arts and operates out of two locations in Southwest Detroit. 
  • $65,000 to Matrix Theatre Company, Inc. for $65,000 to support a school theatre program, engaging 575 students in four of the six Skillman Good Neighborhoods -- Chadsey Condon, Cody Rouge, Northend Central and Southwest Detroit.
  • $50,000 to Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit for $50,000 will support the Theater’s First Stage Training Program, which provides youth a high-quality performing arts education that connects high school graduation to college and career by fostering character development, developing vocal techniques to help with public speaking and build confidence, and supporting literacy skills.
  • $50,000 to Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, Inc will continue the support the establishment of a Southwest Detroit Athletic League, as well as fund continued efforts to foster youth leadership in Springwells Village. 

Grants made this quarter in other investment areas included:

  • EDUCATION: $300,000 to the United Way for Southeastern Michigan to continue the development of the small high schools in Cody and Osborn. It will support the academic performance of students in these schools by increasing their proficiency in reading and mathematics by at least 1.5 grade levels and will help alleviate barriers that prohibit children from graduating on-track and on-time.
  • SAFETY: $75,000 to United Community Housing Coalition to support an effective foreclosure reduction program, which helps residents stay in their homes and reduce the number of houses lost to tax and mortgage foreclosures.
  • COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP: $189,000 to Detroit Parent Network to provide supports to parents and caring adults who are making a difference in the lives of children.
  • SOCIAL INNOVATION: $180,000 to Living Cities, Inc., a national funder consortium, to support the Foundation’s commitment by providing capital to organizations that serve Skillman’s targeted communities and provide best-practice education from across the country in community development.  

Created in 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to improving meaningful graduation rates in the Detroit region, so kids are ready for college, career, and life. The Foundation has assets of nearly a half-billion dollars, with an annual grants budget of $17 million. The Foundation works to achieve its goal by investing in community leadership, neighborhoods, safety initiatives, high-quality schools, social innovation, and youth development.