Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

Message from Tonya Allen: Our Response to Coronavirus COV-19

Privilege and responsibility are two words The Skillman Foundation often uses when talking about our shared work. We are privileged to be able to, together with the people of Detroit, champion and safeguard the people of our beloved city—particularly those most vulnerable. With these privileges comes responsibility to be a steadfast and trusted champion of Detroit children.

Our privileges and responsibilities are top of mind with the current coronavirus and COVID-19 concerns. With that as context, I write to share resources that are informing how The Skillman Foundation is responding to the quickly changing context.

What Guides Our Responses

Being a Trusted Partner in the Detroit community

  • We want our city and region to be able to respond quickly, with the resources it needs to do so
  • We don’t want our city and region’s critical nonprofits to lose capacity to serve the community

Kids First, Equity Focused

  • Short term: Meeting the emergency needs of children and youth
  • Long term: Supporting systemic changes that help ensure all children thrive, in good times and in bad

Our Actions Thus Far

  • Initial funder to United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Community Response Fund at $500,000
  • Provided our grant partners with the flexibility to convert up to 25% of their grant funding to general operating support to help them respond to the urgent needs of the community and of their staff
  • Focusing our Q2 grant funding on unrestricted/general operating support for critical nonprofits
  • Leading efforts to ensure nonprofits working directly with community are provided with personal protective equipment
  • Championing efforts to ensure all children have access to the technologies they need to continue learning now—and ultimately building a stronger education system geared for 21st century learning
  • Offered our grant partners time with our HR and legal consultants to help them navigate emerging workplace issues related to COVID-19 (webinar recording here)


View resources for Detroit-area children, families, and nonprofits

Our Current Policies that Impact our Work with Others

The Skillman Foundation team is working remotely. Our offices will be closed until conditions are safe for our team members and community partners to convene.

  • While our team is remote, we continue our committed support of Detroit children, families, and the organizations that serve them during this critical time.
  • Beyond April, we will monitor local and national recommendations to reassess our office policy, with staff and community well-being as our top priority.

You can reach us by

Phone: (313) 393-1185

Individual staff contact information 

We Want to Hear from You

The Skillman Foundation is working proactively with its cross-sector partners at the local, state, and national level. We want to be aware of the different hardships and risks the coronavirus COVID-19 is presenting to Detroit families and organizations so that we, in partnership with others, can be knowledgeable and responsive.

Please email if you have thoughts about what we are doing and what we should be doing. A Skillman Foundation team member will respond.

Wishing you and your family health & well-being,

Tonya Allen

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