Racial Equity & Justice
We enact racial equity within our practices and pursue the understanding and advancement of racial justice to change the odds for Detroit youth. We define racial equity as a level playing field for Black, Brown, and all people of color within current systems and structures. We define racial justice as shifting power to those most negatively impacted by the way things currently are so that they may redesigns systems and structures to benefit all.
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 different and stronger supports.
To have an equal chance at leading a healthy and prosperous life, Detroit children need equitable supports and resources.
Equity vs. Justice
Our working definition is that equity refers to actions, processes, and practices while justice refers to the outcome or result.
Equity in Action
The Skillman Foundation staff, trustees, youth council, grant partners, and community collaborators represent a diversity of identities, backgrounds, experiences, and thought. This is intentional. An expanse of perspectives and actions are needed to fully understand and address complex social and systemic issues.
We also know that the systems that serve Detroit children won’t do them justice until these systems are specifically designed to support and benefit Black and brown children. And we believe the best designers of systems are people with first-hand knowledge of the needs, obstacles, opportunities, and triumphs. For Detroit’s education system, that means elevating the insights and power of Detroit youth, educators, and community members who care for kids.
Racial Equity Audit
We assess how well we’re enacting racial equity in our organizational policies and practices through an annual Racial Equity Audit. We tracking every penny we spend by race, from our grantmaking to our operations to our endowment.
Continually Learning and Growing
Below are some of the learning engagements we’ve held with staff, trustees, and community.
- Justice Informed social impact consulting on operationalizing DEI and racial justice
- Lori Villarosa, founder and executive director of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity on grantmaking for racial equity and for racial justice
- 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