Tonya Allen receives Smith Award for Philanthropy


The Michigan Forum for African Americans in Philanthropy selected Skillman Foundation Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Program Tonya Allen as the first recipient of the Dr. Gerald K. Smith Award for Philanthropy.

Dr. Smith, who passed away in 2008, was the President & CEO of YouthVille Detroit. Skillman Foundation President & CEO Carol Goss and Dr. Smith co-founded the Michigan Forum of African Americans, which is an affinity group sponsored by the Council of Michigan Foundations.

"Gerald Smith was a tremendously important leader and visionary in organized philanthropy, and he touched so many lives in Detroit," Allen said. "I'm honored and humbled to have been recognized with an award named after him. All of us at The Skillman Foundation share Gerald's passion for improving the lives of vulnerable kids, and his commitment serves as an inspiration to me as as we continue to take on this challenging work."

The Dr. Gerald K. Smith Award for Philanthropy has been established for 2011 to honor the work and philosophy of Dr. Smith, who was a pioneer in the field. He dedicated his life to making the Detroit community better for children and their families. The award recognizes significant efforts and contributions of individuals in the field whose work and grantmaking activities promote effective and responsive social change in communities of color.

Created in 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy whose chief aim is to help develop good schools and good neighborhoods for children. Though grants are made throughout metropolitan Detroit, most grants are directed at six Detroit neighborhoods – Brightmoor, Osborn, Cody Rouge, Chadsey Condon, Northend Central Woodward and Southwest Detroit neighborhoods – and toward innovative and successful schools throughout the city of Detroit.