Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

2022 Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellows

Video production and graphic design by Porter Media Group, communications agency founded by Skillman BMe Vanguard alumnus Ken Porter

We’re intensely proud to offer a Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellowship to a third cohort—and to have this latest cohort focus on young leaders. Ten wholehearted, hardworking Detroiters in their 20’s are the latest additions to the BMe and Skillman Foundation communities. 

We narrowed this year’s Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellowship to leaders in their 20s in recognition that young people are drivers of cultural and social change (and thus political change). They also shape the ever-evolving economy and workplace. Yet they tend to be excluded from leadership fellowships because of their early-career status. 

“To see the work I’ve been doing is actually being apricated is a humbling experience,” says Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellow Nedra Hall. “I’m looking forward to seeing how we continue to grow and flourish utilizing Black love.” 

BMe Community is a Black-led, national leadership community focused on fulfilling Black people’s aspirations to L.O.V.E.—Live, Own, Vote, and Excel. BMe builds upon Black L.O.V.E. to make the world a better place for all people. 

“The social impact space is very committed to the idea of fixing things and what our Vanguard really embody is how to go from fixing everybody’s problems to fulfilling Black aspirations. You have Black people building upon Black L.O.V.E. to make a better society for everyone,” says BMe Community Founder and CEO Trabian Shorters.  

All Vanguard Fellows are engrained in community and social change work, though they come from a variety of professional sectors. During the fellowship, they attend masterclasses in cultural competency, persuasion, self-care, personal branding, and asset framing (defining people and communities by their assets and aspirations, not by their challenges). The Skillman cohort will also dive into the regional history of southeast Michigan and the power of building movements that extend across the region and beyond.  

The Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellowship will fast-track young leaders’ ability to communicate effectively and inclusively to build diverse social-change coalitions within and beyond the city of Detroit and cultivate their personal well-being practices. Each fellow will receive $10,000 in seed capital to support them as changemakers.  

2022 Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellows

Kenya Abbott Jr.

Founder, KenShip & Community Schools Initiative Program Director, United Way for Southeastern Michigan

Tyrone Bean

Media and Middle School Specialist, Developing K.I.D.S.

Nedra Hall

After School Site Administrator, Wayne State University

Ragine Head

Director of Grassroots Policy Action, One Love Global

Destynee Nixon

Workforce Development & Special Projects Manager, Developing K.I.D.S.

Jeremiah Steen

Founder & Executive Director, Steen Foundation

Daniel Washington

Founder & Executive Director, Northwest Goldberg Cares

Alyssa Williams

Director of Equity Initiatives, Strategic Community Partners

View the 2019 Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellows 
View the 2020 Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellows 

The Skillman Foundation

The Skillman Foundation is a grantmaking organization established in 1960 by Rose Skillman. We have granted out more than $730 million and have served as a vocal advocate to strengthen K-12 education, afterschool programming, child-centered neighborhoods, youth and community leadership, and racial equity and justice.

We are in the process of developing a new strategic framework, co-designed with Detroit youth and their champions.

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