Nearly $1 million awarded to quality afterschool programming

Leadership development. Sports programming. Mentoring. Literary arts. Performing arts.

These are just a sample of the kinds of experiences Detroit kids will receive through the latest Youth Development Fund awards from The Skillman Foundation.

Nearly $1 million is headed to 10 Detroit nonprofits doing exemplary work to prepare young Detroiters for life through quality out-of-school programming.


Two girls who take part in Project STARS at the Holden Boys & Girls Club in the Osborn neighborhood.

The Youth Development Fund awards grants twice annually to programming happening in the Foundation's six targeted neighborhoods. This group of 10 grantees represents the third cohort of awardees through the Fund, which was established in 2013. All were also members of the first YDF cohort, awarded last fall.

Each program awarded uniquely helps kids develop skills that research shows are important to success in college and beyond. The Foundation funds programs that align to the ACT Framework -- which stands for Achieve, Connect, Thrive. Achieve skills help young people in the classroom; Connect skills help them build positive relationships; and Thrive skills help young people navigate the world’s ups and downs. All funded programs must focus on at least one of the skill sets in order to be eligible for funding.

The projects funded in the third YDF cohort are:

$75,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit to support a community and school-based mentoring program at the Detroit Leadership Academy in the Cody Rouge neighborhood. What this grant will do: Use innovative strategies to improve grades, school attendance, and decrease participation in risky behaviors for 75 youth in positive mentoring relationships. This program will target youth who face multiple risk factors that may negatively impact their education and well-being.

$75,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan to support the academic intervention program, Project STARS (Strategically Targeting At-Risk Students). What this grant will do:  Target youth who have demonstrated high-risk behaviors and experienced middle school challenges and will help them successfully navigate high school by supporting high-quality youth development opportunities to youth identified at-risk for failing the school year.

$75,000 to Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC) to support the after-school and summer youth development program the Urban Arts Academy. What this grant will do: Help prepare middle school and high school students for graduation, while increasing positive outcomes for youth at high risk of dropping out and other negative behaviors.

$100,000 to Detroit Police Athletic League, Inc. to provide support for high-quality, organized recreational sports and leadership development programming across the six targeted neighborhoods.  What this grant will do: Support high-quality sports, recreation and leadership programming for youth to improve interactions with positive adult role models. This interaction is focused to improve the emotional welfare, self-efficacy and resiliency of youth in the Skillman neighborhoods.

$75,000 to Eastern Market Corporation to support the Detroit Food and Entrepreneurship Academy. What this grant will do: Use a community-focused food entrepreneurship as a vehicle to activate high school students as critical thinkers, conscious consumers, and community activists, while increasing their math proficiencies. This program creates the opportunity for youth to develop entrepreneurial and employment skill sets within a unique, local, and growing industry while preparing for college, career and life.

$65,000 to InsideOut Literary Arts Project for $65,000 will continue to support the Young Writing Centers in Southwest Detroit. What this grant will do: Support vibrant and active gathering places where young writers find mentoring and resources to supplement the classroom offerings at each school. The Writing Centers provide drop-in and structured programming during the school year that will help Detroit students graduate from high school ready for college and career.

$50,000 to Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit to provide support for high-quality performing arts education that connects high school graduation to college and career opportunities. What this grant will do: Help to develop life skills such as, discipline, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and teamwork that help youth graduate from high school ready for college, career and life in the Osborn and Northend neighborhoods.

$200,000 to Neighborhood Service Organization to support continue a youth-led leadership development, violence and substance-abuse intervention and prevention programs for middle and high school students. What this grant will do: Create leadership opportunities for Osborn youth while reducing violence and crime. Through tutoring, neighborhood outreach, leadership training, direct service, and referrals, the Partnership will provide a full scope of services.

$50,000 to Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, Inc. to support the capacity building of a critical community-based organization. What this grant will do: Assist in supporting and recruitment of youth into high-quality youth development programming in Springwells Village, a community within Southwest Detroit.  

$200,000 to YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit to support the ACT One Collaborative in the Cody Rouge neighborhood.  What this grant will do: Provide one-on-one mentorship opportunities and facilitate the introduction of restorative practices within the school setting. This grant will target the school’s freshmen class, helping to ensure its successful transition to high school and is designed to elicit strengths of three community organizations