Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards
K-12 Education

Announcing Over $500,000 in Wellness Grants for Detroit Schools with Metro Solutions

This piece was co-authored with Ashlee Schmidt, program officer, and Michele Bourdo of Metro Solutions.

For our kids to be able to strive for their futures, they must be well. And, for our kids to be well, the adults who champion them must be too.

Over the past two years, we have all witnessed how school communities have been pushed to their limits by the challenges and circumstances of the pandemic. We have witnessed how educators have heroically risen to the occasion, often putting their students’ needs above their own, and how young people have adapted to new, often-shifting circumstances of school. All of this has laid bare the significant opportunity and immediate need to support youth and educator well-being.

In our continuing efforts to improve youth and educator wellness, The Skillman Foundation and Metro Solutions, Inc. are excited to announce the award of over $500,000 in funding to 35 schools throughout Detroit to support the social, emotional, and mental well-being of their communities.

This grant funding will offer flexibility to school leaders, entrusting and resourcing them to carry out activities tailored to their school communities. Awarded schools will implement a range and variety of activities and projects, including examples such as: creation of dedicated spaces within the school building for students and staff to relax, meditate, and engage in other wellness-supportive experiences; award of stipends to school staff to use as they choose to support personal health and well-being; access to therapy and counseling; development and delivery of social-emotional learning curriculum; learning and support sessions for parents and families on trauma and grief; physical health and nutrition supports; and community wellness events.

As part of our larger effort to listen to community members and local leaders to help guide the Foundation’s strategies, Metro Solutions, Inc. and The Skillman Foundation partnered to develop and carry out this grant opportunity. Together, we designed an application and review process which feature d a participatory process; we convened an advisory committee comprised of local education experts whose reviews of and feedback on the proposals drove the grant award decisions. This pilot approach importantly relied on the expertise and input of trusted partners outside the Foundation and will help to inform future grantmaking.

We put out the call for applications for this funding back in October and were thrilled by the positive response we received. In total, 35 schools from all around Detroit – 18 charter school and 17 Detroit Public School Community District applicants – submitted applications for funds to lead wellness initiatives for students, faculty, and staff. As the advisory committee reviewed applications, it was apparent that each proposal was crafted with care for and commitment to the well-being of educators and young people. It was obvious that these proposals, which may serve to supplement broader-scale initiatives, have the potential to provide some relief, respond to the challenges of this moment, and support young people and the adults who work closely with them.

That’s why we decided to fund every school that applied.

All 35 schools will receive between $5,000 and $20,000 to support wellness initiatives in their school communities. We are proud to support these school leaders—district and charter—to promote wellness among their communities.

See the full list of school grant recipients below.

We are continuously astounded by the work and dedication of school leaders, faculty, and staff to their kids, even in the hardest of times. While the effects of the pandemic will be felt for years to come, we are hopeful when we see the new and innovative work schools are doing to make sure our kids can still learn, grow, and thrive.

Funding to support this program comes from the Wellness Works initiative, a dedication of $3 million in funding toward wellness programs and activities for Detroit kids and the adults who champion them. This initiative was made possible in part by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative DAF, an advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative selected The Skillman Foundation as one of five city-based partners to support wellness work, providing $1.5M of the $3M we intend to fund. 

List of schools to receive grants under the school wellness grants program:

  • Amelia Earhart Elementary Middle School
  • Barack Obama Leadership Academy
  • Cesar Chavez Academy Middle School
  • Clippert Multicultural Magnet Honors Academy
  • Cody High School
  • Cornerstone Jefferson-Douglass Academy
  • David Ellis Academy Detroit
  • Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences Lower Elementary School
  • Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences Upper Elementary School
  • Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences Middle School
  • Detroit Achievement Academy
  • Detroit Leadership Academy High School
  • Detroit Leadership Academy Elementary School
  • Detroit Prep
  • Escuela Avancemos Academy
  • Gardner Elementary School
  • Gompers Elementary-Middle School
  • Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School
  • Harms Elementary School
  • Jalen Rose Leadership Academy
  • John R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy
  • Munger Elementary-Middle School
  • Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy
  • Nolan Elementary-Middle School
  • Plymouth Educational Center
  • Priest Elementary-Middle School
  • Shulze Academy for Technology & Arts
  • Spain Elementary-Middle School
  • The James and Grace Lee Boggs School
  • The School at Marygrove
  • University Prep Academy: UPA Middle School
  • University Prep Art and Design: High School
  • University Prep Schools – Detroit 90/90
  • Walter Chrysler Elementary School
  • West Side Academy of Information Technology and Cyber Security
Ashlee Schmidt

Works across the organization to design, strengthen, and implement processes and practices to foster greater efficiency, integration, and ultimately impact of the Program & Strategy team.

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