K-12 Education

A quality education is the basis for being able to lead a life of independence and prosperity. It better enables you to write your own future. It helps you direct the futures of your community and country as an active citizen. A good education expands what is possible and makes positive outcomes much more probable.

We support a high-quality system of schools that helps children meet educational milestones and move through life as capable and confident thinkers. Where Detroit children go, we follow; our investments span both traditional and charter public schools in Detroit. We work to provide the best for Detroit students: high expectations, equitable treatment and resources, and best-in-class curriculum. We back educators and their development to help them lead effective classrooms and schools. We support partnerships between schools, parents, youth providers, and the community at-large.

Key Indicator

Third-Grade Reading Proficiency

Third-grade literacy is known to be a strong indicator of life outcomes because it is an academic milestone at which point children should advance from learning to read, to reading to learn. However, in 2019, fewer than half of Michigan third graders scored as reading proficiently, and in Detroit, fewer than 16% achieved the level of proficiency. Years of low marks has made literacy a priority for our city and state, further catalyzed by a 2016 Read by Grade Three Law that provides additional help for students and schools—along with a provision that students may be retained if they are one or more grade levels behind in reading by third grade.

Recent News

Recent Grants



A citywide initiative that works to ensure that all Detroit children read at grade level by third grade

Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren

A collaborative focused on key priorities to improve the city’s system of schools

Detroit Children’s Fund

A nonprofit organization that makes high-potential investments to ensure Detroit students can get a an excellent education

Every School Day Counts Detroit

A program working hard to end chronic absence

Hope Starts Here

A coalition to ensure a vision to ensure that children are born healthy, prepared for kindergarten, and on track for success by third grade and beyond

Launch Michigan

A cross-section of leaders focused on improving Michigan’s K-12 education outcomes

Teach 313

A collaborative to recruit and support high-quality teachers in Detroit schools

Learning & Evaluation Reports

K-12 Education Team

Carmen Kennedy-Rogers

Carmen Kennedy-Rogers

Dr. Carmen Kennedy-Rogers is the director of Ground Building, supporting the power of Detroit youth, educators, and residents to shift education policy and systems change.

Terry Whitfield

Terry Whitfield

Terry Whitfield was a partnership manager of Policy & Systems, supporting youth-centered education policy and systems change. He departed from the Foundation in April of 2024.

Matthew Hoerauf

Matthew Hoerauf

Matt Hoerauf, program manager, supports the Foundation’s Strategic Initiatives.

Ashlee Schmidt

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.

Lindsey Barrett

Lindsey Barrett

Lindsey Barrett is a partnership manager of Ground Building with The Skillman Foundation. She leads the Foundation’s efforts to build power with Detroit youth.