Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

Helping kids become their best

Our vision of what’s possible is often restrained by what’s familiar. And for many kids growing up in Detroit, possibilities seem slim. That’s why access to youth development programs is so important.

All children deserve to have safe places where they can have fun, build relationships, explore their talents, and discover a broader world of opportunity. Thankfully, there is a diverse array of activities youth in Detroit have access to where they can grow and learn more about themselves.

It is my great pleasure to announce the remaining 10 awardees of our 2016 annual call for proposals to our Youth Development Fund, a competitive funding process that provided $1.6 million to support organizations serving Detroit youth.
Check out the list of our first 11 awardees here.

Descriptions are limited to programming funded by the Skillman Foundation’s Youth Development Fund. For a complete list of services, please follow links to the organizations’ websites. 

InsideOut Literary Arts Project 

Improves literacy skills through its extra-curricular Youth Writing Centers to help students graduate high school and successfully compete to enter the college or career of their choice.
YDF Grant Amount: $50,000

Learn Fresh Education Co. 

Uses a basketball board game – NBA Math Hoops – to supplement math curriculum, improving grade-level achievement and building interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math). Locally, the program is supported by the Detroit Pistons.
YDF Grant Amount: $75,000

Living Arts 

Living Arts

Introduces youth to a variety of performing and visual arts experiences by offering in-school, after-school and summer arts experiences. Designed to help develop leadership, artistic and academic skills while engaging families and other adults in the community to better support the youth.
YDF Grant Amount: $50,000

Matrix Human Services 

Draws large numbers of boys and young men of color, including out-of-school youth, through the Midnight Basketball, Boxing, and Technology programs. The program will be expanded to include academic enrichment using drone and three dimensional printing technologies to spark youth interest in pursuing college degrees and careers in STEM related fields.
YDF Grant Amount: $60,000

Matrix Theatre Company Inc. 

Offers hands-on theatrical projects guided by professional artists to help youth across Detroit to build literacy and interpersonal skills, helping youth to stay in school and advance to college.
YDF Grant Amount: $50,000

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit

Provides a high-quality performing arts education to help young people maximize their potential. Helps youth develop life-skills as well as literacy skills including reading fluency, speed and accuracy.
YDF Grant Amount: $50,000

NSO Youth Initiatives Project participants with Mayor Duggan

Neighborhood Service Organization 

Provides opportunities, support and resources in the areas of education, leadership development, violence prevention, life skills and mentoring through a multi-faceted youth program.
YDF Grant Amount: $125,000

People’s Community Services of Metropolitan Detroit

Offers youth development programming during non-school hours. Services include tutoring, college visits, mentorship, team-based work, and restorative justice circles. Restorative justice circles explore helpful ways to assist all youth involved in a conflict to be part of a conflict’s solution and reduce conflict going forward. The program will expand to serve students with transportation issues.
YDF Grant Amount: $75,000


Offers the highly-effective Kumon program to low-income families, providing high-quality math and reading curriculum as well as extra-curricular and college preparatory activities. Wellspring partners with the University of Michigan-Dearborn to help expose students to a college environment and help them aspire to attend college.
YDF Grant Amount: $150,000

YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit 

Exposes students to the core democratic values of justice, equality, diversity and truth. It also exposes youth to diverse peers from other schools from around the state, and encourages them to research public policy issues and become aware of local, state, national and international concerns.
YDF Grant Amount: $75,000

We look forward to seeing the impact of the Youth Development Fund grant recipients, and hope that you’ll join us in celebrating the hard work and dedication of those that encourage and support children to become their best. #KidsMatterHere

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