Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

Our 2017 Grantmaking

2017 was a year of transition for The Skillman Foundation. On the heels of our Good Neighborhoods Initiative, which spanned from 2006–2016, we were embarking on our next chapter—the Opportunity Agenda for Detroit Children. The Opportunity Agenda continues our efforts to improve and expand opportunities for Detroit youth to learn and thrive by working in partnership with a broad network of individuals and organizations who support children.

2017 Grants

In 2017, we made 284 grants. The following are examples of our partners’ work, exemplifying our strategies and investments within three impact areas: Education, Economy and Equity.


We support learning opportunities, inside and outside of the classroom, to help ensure Detroit youth are prepared to lead rewarding personal, financial, and civic lives. One effort we’re focused on is improving student attendance, helping Detroit youth stay on track in school, hitting important educational milestones and progressing through to graduation.

Chronic absence data

2017 Funding Example

$230,000 to Urban Neighborhood Initiatives

Increased student attendance by offering after-school and summer programs at schools with high absence rates. Students who participate in after-school programs are less likely to be absent during the school day and tend to be more engaged in school.


We work to ensure Detroit youth are prepared to succeed in college, skilled trade programs, and/or the job market, and have opportunities to explore educational and career options.

One way we do this is by helping to build a high-functioning youth employment system in Detroit through the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent summer jobs program.

Grow Detroit's Young Talent data

2017 Funding Examples

$350,000 to Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation

Managed Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, expanding summer work opportunities for youth and ensuring job experiences were meaningful by training both employees and employers on expectations

$100,000 to Downtown Detroit Partnership
Grew the number of corporate employers offering summer jobs to Detroit youth

$150,000 to Philadelphia Youth Network, Inc.
Built a stronger enrollment and payroll system needed to support Detroit’s growing youth employment efforts


We expand developmental and leadership opportunities for Detroit youth and work to remove barriers that limit their chance of success.

One effort we’re focused on is strengthening the system of out-of-school youth development program providers serving Detroit youth.

2017 Equity data

2017 Funding Example

$375,000 to the Youth Development Resource Center

Enabled the YDRC to expand its services, providing data and training to help improve the quality of after-school and summer programs citywide.

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