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A letter from our president – 2022

We’re the ones
we’ve been
waiting for.

A letter from our president

“Eshara” by Rahmyza Muhammad, 18

We began 2022 cresting through a time loop somehow. Suddenly the Covid numbers were skyrocketing again, higher in many cases than before. Work and school switched back in time, too. Remote work, remote learning, teachers afraid of exposure in the classroom, students frustrated to be learning at home. 

How could we be two years into a pandemic and still standing in what feels like the eye of the storm? 

And now, a year later, the pandemic seems to be fading from public consciousness. Some just want to get back to the way things were. But enough of us know that the status quo was not working. COVID put a spotlight on our public systems, illuminating the inequitable and archaic designs. Particularly in public education, where it’s evident in the droves of educators and teaching candidates exiting the noble field, in the anxiety of business leaders struggling to find ready talent, in the concerns of young people and their parents who see a great disconnect between rigid content knowledge contrasted with the dynamic skills and agency everyone knows they’ll need to navigate life, and in disparities by race wherein Black students have fewer educational opportunities and more barriers. 

“Self Love, The Best Love” by James Alexander, 25

You know that point in the movie when the music swells and the hero gets up from the wreckage, looks at the horizon, and slowly but surely steps forward? 

Turns out we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Every one of us, working together toward the future we want our grandchildren to inherit. 

What that looked like for The Skillman Foundation in 2022 was helping to meet growing basic needs of Detroit youth while also digging in boldly to rethink tomorrow; patching holes in the fragile education system while turning to Detroiters to envision what can and must be; distributing more grant funding than any other year in our history while taking down directions on where we’re needed next.  

Our 2022 report observes the winding down of our Opportunity Agenda for Detroit Children grantmaking strategy and the steps we took to dream anew with today’s boldest dreamers and systems thinkers—Generation Z.


Angelique Power

Headline borrowed from poet June Jordan.

The Skillman Foundation

The Skillman Foundation is a grantmaking organization established in 1960 by Rose Skillman. We have granted out more than $730 million and have served as a vocal advocate to strengthen K-12 education, afterschool programming, child-centered neighborhoods, youth and community leadership, and racial equity and justice.

We are in the process of developing a new strategic framework, co-designed with Detroit youth and their champions.