Youth development focus of quarterly grantmaking; Foundation commits $5.7M to 26 community partners

DETROIT – The Skillman Foundation today announced 27 new grants to 26 community partners, totaling $5.7 million to support work in youth development, safety, education, social innovation, and community leadership in six Detroit neighborhoods.

Of that, $2.4 million will go toward work designed to scale and sustain youth development systems to serve more children in the Skillman neighborhoods, a longtime interest of the Foundation given new prominence through it recently adopted strategic plan. 

“Through positive youth development experiences children are better equipped to persist through high school and college and successfully transition to adulthood,” said Tonya Allen, the Foundation’s chief executive officer.

The youth development grants include $225,000 to Don Bosco Hall to support the Northend Central Woodward/Osborn Youth Initiative through the Youth Development Alliance. The YDA is a steering committee of diverse service providers, churches, schools, community groups and other stakeholders that works to improve the quality of youth services. 

Other youth development grants included:

  • $50,000 to Bridging Communities, Inc. to provide support for the continuation of a successful youth-engagement project in the Chadsey Condon neighborhood
  • $80,000 to Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation to support the Cradle-to-College Comprehensive Youth Program located in the Northend at the Blessed Sacrament Community Center 
  • $120,000 to Clark Park Coalition to provide support to the Southwest Detroit Positive Youth Development Initiative 
  • $127,000 to Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC) to provide support to DHDC’s youth leadership program SPYR: Southwest Pa’lante Youth Rising, which will target 250 youth between the ages of 13 and 18 from the Southwest and Chadsey Condon neighborhoods 
  • $190,000 to Don Bosco Hall for $190,000 to support the continued management of youth development services in the YouthVille Detroit Center, which is a community asset available to youth
  • $90,000 to Michigan College Access Network for $90,000 to provide second-year funding for the National College Advising Corps, which trains near-peer college advisors, places them in neighborhood high schools, and equips them to address the financial, social, informational and academic barriers to postsecondary education

The Foundation's grants to other investment areas included:


  • $420,000 to Prevention Network to support continued implementation of the Community Connections small grants program for community-based, resident-driven projects in the six Skillman neighborhoods
  • $425,000 to Regents of the University of Michigan for the second payment of a two-year grant to redesign technical assistance at the University of Michigan Technical Assistance Center to support services to align with the Foundation’s new strategic focus with the six targeted neighborhoods 
  • $185,000 to Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation to provide for the collaboration of key child-serving agency partners in the Hispanic and Latino community in Southwest Detroit
  • $125,000 to Public Interest Projects, Inc. to develop community-driven leadership work to end the over-criminalization of youth, especially of young black and brown boys, whom are suspended from school at a rate three times greater than their Caucasian counterparts
  • $100,000 to Southwest Housing Solutions Corporation for year three of a three-year grant will support efforts to help youth and young adults to gain employment, directly increasing family income, as well as building young people’s skills and experience


  • $500,000 to the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA) for a continuation payment. This grant will continue to support operations for the EAA, a recovery district that supports the bottom five percent of persistently lowest-achieving schools, seven of which are in target neighborhoods
  • $500,000 to Education Trust, Inc. over two years, $250,000 each in 2013 and 2014, to continue shaping the redesign of Michigan’s educational system by providing policymakers, educators and citizens with high-quality, independent data to evaluate the effectiveness of existing schools and propose new policies, practices and procedures
  • $750,000 to Michigan Future, Inc. for the fifth payment of a five-year grant to create new small high schools that prepare thousands of Detroit students to enroll and succeed in college
  • $150,000 to The Achievement Network, Ltd., to establish a partnership with the Good Schools Resource Center in the Skillman neighborhoods to support the effective use of data to drive instruction in high-poverty schools and will result in improved student academic performance. 
  • $200,000 to Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan to provide funding for the Early Childhood Innovation fund, which will help Head Start providers engage in authentic collaboration and partnership with schools, health care providers, social service providers, government agencies, and other community-based organizations
  • $200,000 to Teach for America, Inc. (TFA) for a continuation grant to maintain support in bringing outstanding college graduates to teach in public and charter schools in the Skillman Good Neighborhoods.  The grant will also recruit TFA alumni to become school leaders in new and existing schools throughout the city, with a specific focus on target neighborhood schools.
  • $500,000 to New Paradigm for Education over two years, $250,000 each in 2013 and 2014, to replicate the highly successful Detroit Edison Public School Academy model
  • $50,000 to Detroit Parent Network (DPN) to provide a sponsorship to NBC Education Nation’s Detroit Mini Summit through the fiduciary services of DPN 


  • $300,000 to Black Family Development, Inc. to support the planning and implementation of a comprehensive community engagement strategy to address community safety in the Cody Rouge, Osborn and Southwest Detroit Neighborhoods
  • $180,000 to Brightmoor Alliance, Inc. to form a partnership with the Detroit Blight Authority to support removal of debris and properly secure abandoned homes within a 14-block radius, allowing Brightmoor neighborhood children live, learn and play with a higher degree of safety *


  • $33,873 to Matrix Human Services to hire a consultant to work with Skillman grantees to build capacity and work collaboratively to access federal grants, contracts and resources.

The Foundation also made grants to help it evaluate its work. They went to:


  • $173,000 to Institute for Research and Reform in Education, Inc. to help develop and implement a creative, cost-effective, rigorous, integrated, multi-method evaluation and performance measurement plan for all of the Foundation’s programmatic strategies, and provide credible, useful information to monitor and assess the Foundation’s schools strategy. 
  • $70,000 to Michigan Nonprofit Association to house the Skillman Evaluation Fellow.

* This is also a social innovation grant.

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.