Economy, Education, Equity

Creating Change Through Collaboration

About our “Call for Collaboration,” a funding opportunity totaling nearly $3 million, available to organizations working in collaboration with at least one other entity to serve Detroit youth during out-of-school hours.

Quality youth development programs are more than just activities to keep students busy outside of school. They can serve as important opportunities for young people to learn beyond the classroom, build healthy relationships, and develop personally and socially.

Unfortunately, not all Detroit families have access to quality afterschool programs for their children, while others may not know where to look for these opportunities. Recent data collected by the Michigan Afterschool Alliance showed that one in four Michigan children are alone and unsupervised between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Moreover, for every Michigan student in a youth development program, three more would participate if a program were accessible to them.

Statistics like these demonstrate the desire for youth programs for children. But finding a way to deliver quality programs to children that need them is a complex problem in need of creative solutions, and will require organizations to be willing to work together to yield the largest and most sustainable results possible.

The Call for Collaboration

In effort to bring organizations together to better serve children, The Skillman Foundation launched a Call for Collaborations, a unique grant opportunity that required organizations applying for funding to do so in partnership with at least one other entity. Partnerships could be between nonprofits, schools, government agencies or for-profit organizations.

The Call for Collaborations will help us better understand three main questions:

  • How might collaboration between organizations expand the places and ways kids learn and develop?
  • How might collaboration improve program quality?
  • How might collaboration better engage community members to share in efforts to support children?

Collaboration has become a focus for the Foundation. We believe that a diversity of perspectives, ideas and resources are necessary to create change. Thus, we are committing ourselves to work collaboratively with a variety of partners across all sectors, including community, nonprofit, philanthropic, business and government to create sustainable systems to benefit Detroit youth. Through the Call for Collaboration, we’ve carried this idea through to our grantmaking.

In total, we received 74 applications representing more than 200 different organizations, for a total funding request of $13 million. Applicants included everything from local nonprofits to national companies looking to make an impact in the city. The outpouring of proposals exceeded our expectations and made evident that organizations are willing and able to work in tandem in service of kids.

To ensure a thoughtful and holistic review, Skillman staff engaged community partners to make the selections for grant awards. Applications were so impressive that that we doubled the amount of funding allocated to the Call for Collaboration from an expected $1.5 million to just shy of $3 million.

Next week, we will announce the organizations selected in our first Call for Collaboration cohort here, on our blog, as well as on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Future Funding Opportunities

Narrowing down the Call for Collaboration applications was difficult as there are many great organizations in Detroit, comprised of staff who are capable, committed, and compassionate. Though we were not able to fund every application received, we recognize the value of each youth-serving organization in our city and look forward to exploring ways in which we might partner in the near future.

We invite organizations to reach out at any time with funding inquiries by contacting a member of our program team. Program officers and the issue areas they work on can be found here.

Funding opportunities like the Call for Collaboration are always posted on our website and social media pages, but the best way to make sure you don’t miss these announcements is to sign up for our newsletter.

Our funding guidelines can be found here.

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  • would like to fund collaboration between Randolph Vocational School and Northwest Detroit Neighborhood Development through which students will put into practice construction skills on a modular housing unit that NDND will then move to Brightmoor as housing for a low income resident.

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