A Rose for Detroit Blog

Real Change Takes More Than Money

Years ago when I first began to work at the Skillman Foundation I had the good fortune to work with Ed Meade, who had recently retired from the Ford Foundation after more than 30 years as a leading light in the philanthropic community. Ed helped me develop what became the Foundation’s first major initiative, the 10-year $20-million Comer Schools and Families Initiative. The initiative launched in 1992 in partnership with a committed set of parents, teachers, school administrators, union leaders and university professionals. Fast-forward to today, when the Foundation has recently completed its largest and most ambitious initiative to date, our 10-year, $100-million Good Neighborhoods Initiative. ... Read More

Our New Strategic Approaches

In this blog, we've outlined our Strategic Approaches for driving change under our new framework of three Impact Areas -- Education, Equity and Economy -- to benefit Detroit children. ... Read More
Our Associate Program Officers

Our Associate Program Officers

Three Skillman Foundation team members have recently been appointed to the role of associate program officer: Ashley Aidenbaum, Matt Hoerauf, and Siobhan O’Laoire. Each of these talented folks brings a different set of skills and experience to their new role, contributing to the Foundation’s grantmaking and changemaking efforts.

The trio explains what led them to the Foundation, and what they’ve learned in their previous roles to carry forward as they, and the Foundation, transition to a new way of work. ... Read More
We Are Culture Creators

We Are Culture Creators

“Here, I’m learning how to become myself and talk about what I see and experience on a day-to-day basis,” Yeury said confidently. It’s a Friday afternoon and the young community organizer is seated at workstation filled with computer monitors, headphones and camera parts. Surrounding him are the fellow members of We Are Culture Creators, a media arts collective based in Southwest Detroit and one of six awardees of the My Brother’s Keeper Detroit Innovation Challenge organized by the Skillman Foundation and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. ... Read More
In Reverence for Detroit Youth

In Reverence for Detroit Youth

I’m at the high school graduation of a school I’ve been working with on some workforce development training and summer employment placements. I’ve become attached to the students, the staff, and the mission of the school.

As I walk up to the church, I see a friend and counselor, “Mr. C.” He's a larger than life man who loves the kids of the school like they were his own. He greets me with his customary bear hug that lifts me off the ground. "Hey Brother Terry! Glad to see you,” he says. “I need to introduce you to someone." ... Read More

Changing in Place: The Skillman Foundation, Detroit, and the Good Neighborhoods Initiative

In 2006, the Skillman Foundation committed $100 million to a decade-long investment in six neighborhoods. Through this Good Neighborhoods Initiative, the foundation directed a majority of its grantmaking toward an intensive focus on changing the conditions where, at the time, one-third of Detroit’s children lived. The goal was to ensure that children in those places were safe, healthy, well educated, and prepared for adulthood. The initiative concluded in 2016, ultimately spanning 11 years and involving $122 million in grants, which represented 67 percent of the Foundation’s total grant spending in this time frame.

To capture information on the unique challenges facing an embedded funder as it changes program direction, Bob Tobin, senior consultant at Williams Group, interviewed Marie Colombo, Skillman Foundation director of strategic evaluation and learning. ... Read More