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College and Career Pathways, K-12 Education

Foundation hopes to boost students’ college dreams with more Legacy Awards

Through our grantmaking, The Skillman Foundation focuses on changing outcomes for as many children in Detroit as possible, rather than on boosting only a select few.

That’s why nearly all of our grant dollars go to programs that we think will touch large portions of the city’s children.

But we are not completely out of the scholarship business, and seeing what a push like a college scholarship can do for an individual youth’s future is still something we get excited about, even if it is on a smaller scale than what we’ve done historically.

In April, the Coleman A. Young Foundation will award the next round of Skillman Promising Youth Legacy Awards. These are college scholarships that pay promising students up to $10,000 in total. The program launched in 2011 to celebrate the Foundation’s 50th anniversary. In the inaugural year, 50 college and high school students from across metro Detroit were selected.

Last spring, the Foundation decided to extend the program, and another 10 students – this time, all from one of the Foundation’s Good Neighborhoods – were added to the roster.

Now, it’s time to award 10 more scholarship to juniors or seniors in our neighborhoods. The awards recognize emerging leaders making a difference in their communities.

Interested students can get the full details on how to apply here. The deadline to apply is March 22, and the winners will be announced April 12. Students must be nominated for the award by a nonprofit, community-based, faith-based, social service, or school organization.

We caught up with two 2011 scholarship winners to hear how they’re doing now and learn how the scholarship has helped give their education a boost. (Read more about the 2011 recipients here.)


Tiffany Swoish: Now a junior at Sienna Heights studying criminal justice, Swoish has a perfect 4.0 and is hoping to use her degree, which she will complete in May 2014, to go into criminal profiling and intelligence analysis. She serves on the student government, is a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, and started a community service organization on campus called Adopt a Sister that seeks to connect the Dominican nuns in the community with the student population. As for how the scholarship has helped her, the 20-year-old from Taylor said: “The best thing about the scholarship has been that I receive a bit of it every semester. It’s nice knowing that I have that set amount of money coming. Usually, scholarships I’ve applied for are a one-time thing, but this one eases my mind and let’s me concentrate on other things.”

Lamar Allen:  Now a senior at Chandler Park Academy High School, Allen continues to be a high achiever two years after landing his scholarship. He serves as his class president, as vice president of the Gentlemen’s Club, as the National Honors Society Sergeant at Arms, in the Big Brother, Big Sisters program, as vice president of the Detroit Urban League College Club, and as a member of the school choir. Allen said his college choice is coming down to Fisk in Nashville and Morehouse in Atlanta, two historically black universities. He wants to major in business administration and eventually open his own nonprofit mentoring organization. “The Skillman Legacy Awards will help me financially reach my academic goals as I attend college in the fall,” Allen said.

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