Foundation welcomes federal aid for Detroit, will step up own efforts to fight blight, crime

DETROIT – Chief Executive Officer Tonya Allen commended the federal government Friday for its commitment to bring additional resources to the city of Detroit, dollars that will bolster the existing on-the-ground efforts of the Foundation, its partners, and others that have built an infrastructure ready for an infusion of additional funds.

The Foundation’s leadership team, including Allen, President Carol Goss, and several board members, met with key Obama administration officials at the White House last week, and offered its know-how as an embedded funder and longtime community partner to help connect federal resources to initiatives that are already having impact, and with a focus on helping the children and neighborhoods that need it the most.

“The newly committed federal aid is good news for Detroit, and a shot in the arm to several promising blight-reduction and safety initiatives taking place across the city,” Allen said. “We're heartened that the Obama Administration recognizes the innovative community change work that’s taken root in Detroit, and is giving those efforts a strong vote of confidence with this significant new federal investment.”

Allen also said the Foundation has pledged support to federal officials, and will continue to invest in blight reduction, safety, education, and youth development in Detroit neighborhoods. The Foundation has committed more than $76 million to six neighborhoods in Detroit during the past five years, and will grant more than $17 million this year.

In alignment with the federal aid to Detroit, the Foundation will invest millions to bolster and expand its work in key neighborhoods to increase safety, with a specific focus on areas with lots of activities that involve children, such as schools and youth development hubs. In the coming months, the Foundation will make more than $3 million in investments to strengthen the growing partnership with the federal and state governments, and link the work to areas where significant momentum exits.


  1. $100,000 to the Detroit Police Department to support “Lead Police Officers” embedded in four neighborhoods (Cody Rouge, Brightmoor, Southwest Neighborhoods, and Osborn) that will partner with safety task forces and community leaders.
  2. $300,000 to Wayne State University, and the Detroit Police Department, to utilize CompStat data to focus crime-prevention work in blocks with the highest instances of crime.  This investment will also increase the support for AmeriCorps members working with the community to identify hot spots and build community relationships to work with residents and other key stakeholders to reduce crime.
  3. $100,000 additional dollars to the Youth Violence Prevention Forum for a comprehensive safety initiative around Cody and Osborn High Schools.
  4. $500,000 to help execute neighborhood-based strategies that will increase safety for kids.


The Foundation has invested more than $300,000 in the last six months to help jump-start blight-reduction efforts through a collaboration with the Detroit Blight Authority and numerous other community partners.  The Foundation will:

  1. Dedicate $250,000 to establish a flexible fund to complement federal efforts to reduce blight related to children and safe routes to school;
  2. Invest $100,000 in partnership with Loveland Technologies and Data Driven Detroit to track and eliminate blight in the Detroit neighborhoods utilizing data powered by residents.

In the last quarter, the Foundation made 34 grants to area nonprofits, totaling $3.5 million in youth development, safety, social innovation, education and community leadership. A majority of those dollars go to programs working in six Detroit neighborhoods, where a high percentage of the city’s children live – Brightmoor, Cody Rouge, Chadsey Condon, Osborn, Northend Central Woodward, and Southwest Detroit.

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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.