Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards
College and Career Pathways, K-12 Education

How Are the Children?

How are the children?
This is where we begin, this is where we end.
At breakfast, on the bus, in class, after school,
finding a part-time job, doing
homework, going to sleep.

How are the children?
Here in Detroit, it’s a hard question.
Many of our children’s stories come
from a bruised and scarred history:
racism, deindustrialization, poverty,
predatory lending, poor transit,
and a patchwork recovery.

How are the children?
Look into their eyes, see the spark, the
light. There is a great future present.
A future we are relentlessly committed to
fostering with every tool at our disposal.
From the city blocks where they
play to the great halls where their
school budgets are weighed,
we seek to open doors, windows, and minds.
Always asking:

How are the children?

We say to you, if you have a way
to make them happier, healthier,
we will partner with you.
Together, we are their champions. We are
their lanterns. We are their spirit warriors.
We are, purely and simply, theirs.
We belong to nobody but the
children of Detroit.

They are our mission, our
agenda, our policy and politics.

The answers will not be easy.
We will face struggle.
But if we remain explicitly focused
on diversity, equity, and inclusion,
we will honor our children, who are
Detroit‘s future and Detroit’s present,
and help them grow strong.

We are idealistic for Detroit children.
We are pragmatic for them.
We are selfish for them. We
are hopeful for them.
How can we not be? Look
into their eyes. See them.

How are the children?

“And how are the children?” is the traditional greeting of Maasai tribe warriors. The expression connotes that the true strength of a community is determined by the well-being of its children. We believe this is the single most important question to consider each and every day. As issues are debated, priorities are set, and decisions are made, asking first and foremost “How are the children?” will guide us toward a more just and thriving society.

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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