Wellness Works Update: Grant Funding Awarded to Youth-Serving Partners
In June, The Skillman Foundation announced its Wellness Works Initiative, pledging to grant $3 million toward wellness programs and activities for Detroit youth, educators, and youth-service providers. The Initiative is partially supported by a grant from the 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.
As a part of the Initiative, in July the Foundation made grants to 27 youth-serving partners to enable them to implement a range of activities and supports to address the social, emotional, and mental well-being concerns they are seeing. These grants were a direct response to what we have been hearing from partners over the past year: young people and the adults who work closely with them are experiencing unprecedented levels of burnout, fatigue, exhaustion, and disengagement.
First Tranche of Small Grants Will Support a Range of Innovations
Detroit organizations that received these grants, ranging from $5,500 to $20,000, plan to employ a wide variety of different approaches and activities to support both young people and adults over the next 6-12 months.
While each organization will carry out different efforts, there are some common themes.
- Two grants (Developing KIDS and InsideOut Literary Arts Project) hone in on supporting the wellness of adults who work with young people.
- Three grants (College for Creative Studies, Detroit Public Schools Foundation, and Local Circles) aim to specifically empower young people to be leaders of their and their peers’ wellness.
- Eight grants (482Forward, Atlantic Impact, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Center for Success, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Give Merit, Grace in Action, and Wellspring) will offer a variety of supplemental efforts and activities grant partners will carry out to meet an array of different needs and interests. In some cases, partners have proposed activities to offer care and support through resources and activities. In other cases, partners lean into the idea of wellness as a community-wide endeavor rooted in connection with others and will support social activities and community-building events.
- Seven grants (Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation, Detroit Food & Entrepreneurship Academy, Downtown Boxing Gym, Midnight Golf, SER Metro – Jobs for Progress, Inc., The Yunion, Wayne County Community College District, and Wayne State University AmeriCorps Urban Safety) will create learning opportunities – lessons, hands-on activities – to support the development of strong health and wellness habits.
- Four grants (Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance, Michigan Hispanic Collaborative, Urban Alliance Foundation, Inc., and Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, Inc.) focus primarily on ensuring that mental health supports are available.
- Two grants (People in Education, Student Advocacy Center) will target specific groups of young people through project activities.
In total, these grants aim to engage approximately 10,000 young people and adults across Detroit.
The Future of Wellness Works
This first tranche of small grant funding is only one aspect of the Wellness Works Initiative. We previously announced our support for the 2021 Principal Wellness Professional Learning Community and another opportunity for Detroit principals is coming soon! This fall, principals will have the opportunity to apply for funding for in-school efforts that support educator and/or student well-being and support healthy climate and culture.
This initiative is a learning experience for both our partners and The Skillman Foundation. As we work towards supporting mental and emotional well-being and as uncertainties about the pandemic continue, we will continue to listen to and champion the needs of Detroit’s youth-serving organizations to create a stronger, more prosperous future for Detroit kids.