Nearly $1M awarded to fund Detroit youth development; $5M granted overall this quarter

DETROIT – The Skillman Foundation today announced more than $5 million in new grants to Detroit-area nonprofits, including $820,000 to support high-quality after-school and summer programs serving kids in six neighborhoods.

The Skillman Foundation works to improve meaningful graduation rates in Detroit, so kids are prepared for college, career and life. One program area key to that mission is youth development.


A child at Don Bosco Hall hula-hoops during a visit from the nonprofit Playworks, a program that was awarded a grant through the Youth Development Fund.

Detroit is one of the only major urban areas without a dedicated stream of public funding for youth development programs, despite solid research that shows these opportunities are crucial to preparing students – especially low-income students -- for the world beyond high school.

“Youth development programs are places where kids learn skills like resiliency, teamwork, and persistence,” said Skillman Foundation Vice President of Program & Policy Kristen McDonald. “The most vulnerable children need these after school and summer programs to reinforce learning, introduce career pathways and build leadership skills. We’ve championed the importance of these programs for decades, and our most recent grant making is evidence of our continued belief that if we want a better Detroit for all, we must provide quality opportunities to our young people.”

The Foundation reconfigured its youth development strategy in 2013, bringing all youth development funding under the ACT Framework, which stands for Achieve-Connect-Thrive and requires programs to focus their programs on quality and on helping youth build skill sets necessary for success after high school. A streamlined RFP process through the Youth Development Fund now awards grants through two cohorts each year.

This year’s spring cohort includes 12 programs, with funding ranging from $50,000 to $100,000. Funded programs must align with the ACT Framework and serve kids in at least one of the six neighborhoods where the Foundation focuses its work – Brightmoor, Chadsey Condon, Cody Rouge, Northend Central, Osborn, and Southwest Detroit. The Foundation received more than 50 applications for funding. The projects selected for funding are:

  • $50,000 to Bridging Communities, Inc. to support the Learning and Living Youth Engagement Program
  • $60,000 to Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation to help fund Equipping & Engaging Teens for Life
  • $75,000 to Clark Park Coalition to strategically advance the Academic Enrichment and College Pathways Project
  • $65,000 to College for Creative Studies to support the expansion of the Detroit Neighborhood Arts Corps (DNAC) program in Cody Rouge and Osborn neighborhoods
  • $100,000 to Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program to launch the SOAR (STEMM, Opportunities, Arts and Readiness) Together program
  • $75,000 to Development Centers, Inc. to provide support for the community-based Youth in I.C.E. (Intentional Community Engagement) program
  • $50,000 to Heritage Works to support the implementation of YouthWorks
  • $70,000 to Midnight Golf Program to support a high-quality youth development program that uses the game of golf as a vehicle for promoting and supporting academic achievement and college preparation for youth
  • $75,000 to Playworks Education Energized to support Playworks' Class Game Time youth development program at Detroit International Academy and Maybury Elementary
  • $75,000 to Prevailing Community Development Corporation to expand a child development hub in the Chadsey-Condon neighborhood
  • $50,000 to Southwest Detroit Business Association, Inc. to support the Center of Music & Performing Arts Southwest (COMPAS)
  • $75,000 to Wellspring to support delivery of an enhanced Academic & Youth Development Program that builds on the long-established Kumon academic curriculum and tutoring

Other grants made this quarter will:

Media contact: Director of Communications William Hanson at 313-393-1163 or

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.