We believe in the genius of all children and our collective responsibility to ensure their well-being. We acknowledge child well-being as the cornerstone of a healthy, prosperous, and just society.
As a fierce champion of Detroit children, The Skillman Foundation is committed to breaking through the historical, systemic barriers that hold kids back from pursuing their dreams. We confront inequitable and unjust practices, policies, and narratives. We push systems to improve for all kids, with added attention and support for children with the greatest needs.
To substantively improve the lives of all Detroit children, we need massive investment and improvement. An incremental approach will not get us there. Too many children will fall through the cracks of a disjointed support system. The Skillman Foundation is committed to pushing bold, equitable change on behalf Detroit children.
Just as our mission is equity focused, so are our values and actions.
Equity vs. Equality
We call for equity for Detroit kids. Our aim is not that they receive the same as their peers across the region, but in many ways, that they receive more, different, and stronger supports.
To have an equal chance at leading a healthy and prosperous life, Detroit children need equitable supports and resources.
Values: Our DEI Statement
The Skillman Foundation embraces diversity and authentic inclusion in all areas of our work; we consider this a prerequisite for positive social change. As a guiding principle, it impacts our decisions at every level from staffing to partnerships and how our resources are deployed.
We understand that we work in a context defined by inequities that are as present as the air we breathe. Therefore, we must confront the drivers of inequality and redesign systems with those who have been historically marginalized.
We are driven to create a community where all Detroiters—especially youth— are valued, heard, and mobilized in the service of opportunity and prosperity for all.
Equity in Action
The Skillman Foundation staff, Trustees, interns, and grant partners are comprised of a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and thought. This is intentional. An expanded set of perspectives and ideas allow us to better understand and address challenges.
Just as a diversity of voices is needed to advance our work, it is imperative to advance society.
Our vision is that Detroit will be a place for all children to become leaders and solutionaries. This requires deep and continued learning and practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion principals as well as sharing this experience with the broad community. Below are some recent engagements and learnings.
- Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, on the transition from charity to social justice
- Peter Hammer, Director of Wayne State University’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, Professor of Law, on how structural and spacial racism plays out in Detroit and how it can be overcome.
- Trabian Shorters, CEO of BMe, on asset framing.
- Dr. Andre M. Perry, author of Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities, on how and why Detroit, like other majority-black cities with significant community assets, have been historically devalued
- john a. powell and Mark Rosenbaum discussed equitable education policy in Michigan at the 2020 Mackinac Policy Conference.