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

Ready Students, Ready Communities

Afterschool programs offer a range of benefits to youth, families, and communities including stronger academic performance, physical health, and employability. Our session at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference will explore the role afterschool programs play in ensuring youth and their communities are on a path to prosperity.

While the benefits of afterschool activities are numerous, the availability of quality programs in our state is limited. Research shows that for every Michigan student in afterschool, three more would participate if a program were available. Nationally recognized youth development advocate Karen J. Pittman, president & CEO of the Form for Youth Investment, will share how afterschool programs can help kids improve academic achievement, strengthen their social and work habits, avoid risky behavior and increase employment and income as adults.

Pittman will also be joined by Matt Gillard, president & CEO of Michigan’s Children, and Dr. Darienne Driver Hudson, president & CEO of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, who will share state and local-level insights on afterschool programming.

Ready Students, Ready Communities

Wednesday, May 29
10:30 – 11:30am
Brighton Pavilion


The event will be live-streamed via the video player below.




Photo of Karen PittmanKaren Pittman

President & CEO, Form for Youth Investment

Karen J. Pittman is president and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan “action tank” that combines thought leadership on youth development, youth policy, cross-system/cross-sector partnerships and developmental youth practice with on-the-ground training, technical assistance, and support. Karen is a respected sociologist and leader in youth development.

Prior to co-founding the Forum in 1998, she launched adolescent pregnancy prevention initiatives at the Children’s Defense Fund, started the Center for Youth Development and Policy Research, and served as senior vice president at the International Youth Foundation. Karen was involved in the founding of America’s Promise and directed the President’s Crime Prevention Council during the William Clinton administration. Most recently, Karen received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Partners for Livable Cities, joining previous awardees such as President William Clinton and Lady Bird Johnson. Karen was recently selected to join the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development with the Aspen Institute.



Photo of Matt GillardMatt Gillard

President and CEO, Michigan’s Children; Former State Representative

A strategic leader with extensive experience in high-level negotiation and policy development, Matt Gillard is dedicated to supporting the implementation of relevant and innovative public policy. As former State Representative for the 106th District, Matt served six years in the Michigan House of Representatives, concluding his service in 2008 due to term limits. Formerly an attorney from Alpena, Matt graduated from Albion College with a B.A. in Political Science, from Wayne State University Law School, and is a member of the Michigan State Bar. Matt also built a successful advocacy and consulting business, providing guidance to various organizations, constituencies, and decision-makers relative to education policy issues. Matt joined Michigan’s Children in 2014 as President and CEO. In this role, Matt oversees all of Michigan’s Children’s programs and operations.

He lives in Okemos with his wife, Jessica, and their four children Gracie, Joel, Gus, and Pearl.


Photo of Darienne Driver HudsonDarienne Driver Hudson, Ed.D.

President & CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan

Dr. Darienne Driver Hudson has been president and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan since July 2018. Prior to this position, she led the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) as superintendent from October 2014 to May 2018. Dr. Driver Hudson is a high-energy visionary who initiated a series of bold reform measures throughout her career designed to ensure equity for all students and improve achievement outcomes.

Dr. Driver Hudson has consistently championed courageous and innovative initiatives that advanced education for students in urban districts. She believes strongly in theory and practice in the power of collective impact and the importance of public-private partnerships in solving societal issues. She also served as chair of the Council of Great City Schools, a policy-making body of the 70 largest urban school districts in the country committed to improving academic achievement and organizational effectiveness.

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.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *