Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

A Change Is Gonna Come

It’s going to be a monumental year—in the world, in Michigan, in Detroit, and inside of The Skillman Foundation.

Another election year is here and all eyes are on Michigan. Campaigns have launched to determine a new President of the United States and will kick off in a run up to the 2025 Detroit mayoral election. The Detroit Public School Community District school board will turn over in large part this fall with three seats up for grabs.

The Skillman Foundation’s strategies, focused on community-driven education policy change, carefully co-created with Detroiters, will launch quarter after quarter—including new grant partners, new ways of investing in visionaries, bold storytelling, and innovative ways of measuring our work. We are preparing for the unknown too. We know this year guarantees many surprises and curve balls ahead.

We are knee deep in preparing for 2035. The year in which a turnover of the auto industry with a transition to EV is slated. When the Joe Louis Greenway, Michigan Central, the continuing renewal of the Avenue of Fashion, and so many more investments will have been completed. Detroit will be lively with increased population buzzing across the neighborhoods.

We strive to have an education system that prepares Detroit students in up-to-date, innovative ways ensuring they can adapt to—and help lead—what will be waiting in 2035 and beyond.

Eleven years ago, Detroit declared bankruptcy and a revolving door of emergency managers took over Detroit Public Schools. Today we live in a different city, with a new debt-free Detroit Public School Community District manned by an elected school board and a tenured superintendent for the past seven years. It’s a district making strides even though Detroit families were among the hardest hit by the COVID pandemic and its cascading impacts. Also now in Detroit, there are nearly as many public charters as traditional public schools, some continuing to struggle and some excelling, many led by incredible Detroiters.

Eleven years from now in 2035 we will once again live in a different city.

Whose Detroit will it be in 2035? Who will benefit from the burgeoning changes afoot? Who will remain to represent the Detroit born and bred?  

We know that THE critical piece for Detroit’s ability to thrive in the future relies on a completely redesigned schooling system. Without that mecca for community living and communal learning, neither Detroit nor Michigan will grow and thrive.

Our bet? That if the education system is designed by and for Detroiters then not only will it be built with that hustle and know-how embedded within, but it will be built with all children in mind, will create scholars who are adaptable to all things ahead, and will make Detroit into a beacon for the country to see how inclusive policies lead to inclusive and prosperous growth.

Over the year, we’ll be rolling out new strategies, funding partnerships, and collaborative efforts to support community-driven education change.

If education advocacy and policy is your passion too, connect with one of our team members or leave a comment below. We’d love to hear for you!

Angelique Power

Angelique Power is the president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation.

Comments (1)

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  • Dennis Talbert

    Amen to redesigning the school system in Detroit. That would include the best approach for developing school-based advocates. Finally, you/we must be bold enough to create or redevelop community values that make education a key and critical component.

    Education is not a value. It’s only rhetoric used by an elitist group of Detroiters and their playmakers.

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