Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

Equity is Not a “Zero-Sum Game”

What happens when we focus on the most vulnerable members of our community, like children? Can the benefits cascade up to the rest of us?

For Michael McAfee, president of PolicyLink this is the one of the most important dynamics to consider when examining the impact of philanthropy’s work in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). As a leader in the advancement of racial and economic equity, McAfee and his team at PolicyLink describe this dynamic as the “curb-cut effect.” The term comes from the example of how sidewalk indentations intended to make navigation easier for those in wheelchairs ended up benefitting everyone from bikers to parents pushing strollers.

To learn more about McAfee’s work in equity and to help frame our own DEI initiatives, the Foundation invited him to speak with our Board of Trustees and staff. The result was a rich conversation on the well-being of children in Detroit and how we can best help to close the opportunity gap by connecting young people with the economy.

Following the board meeting, our Chief Financial Officer, Maria Woodruff-Wright, sat down with McAfee to capture and share key insights gained from the conversation and to discuss the role diversity, equity and inclusion play in the world of philanthropy. The full conversation can be found in the video below.

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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