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Report

2020 Annual Report

A Look
Back
At 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic packed a punch, but Detroiters held their ground and moved forward, for kids.

A Letter From Our President,
Angelique Power

While 2020 is a year that will be studied in perpetuity, the next few years ahead are more important than the one we’ve left behind. This is when we demonstrate if we’ve learned the lessons the multiple pandemics offered. This is when we return to the work we’ve done and go deeper, start fresh, re-imagine. As a world, we are collectively stepping into a new chapter. Because of the important partners and work The Skillman Foundation has engaged in over 60 years, we’ve gained greater perspective on things that have long been broken, and with that a greater will to reinvent toward our ideal future rather than return to our imperfect past. From our economy and the way we work; to our schools, the skills we learn, and how we learn them; to how we care for our planet; to how we care for one another, heal our historic wounds, right our injustices, and bridge our divides—we begin again.

For those of you who do not know me. . .Hi, I’m Angelique.

The work we are charged to do at this moment in history is bigger than one person, one foundation, one city, one issue area. It requires an understanding of how interconnected issues are, people are, and solutions must be. And so fresh eyes and a collaborative heart is what I bring.

Here’s to building on our past to reinvent our future, together.

» How Are The Children? «

The Skillman Foundation was founded with the mission to help children thrive and excel into adulthood. Supporting this mission means we constantly seek to understand the factors that stand in the way of young people’s happiness and prosperity.

When the pandemic broke, we reached out to young people, youth program providers, and educators to understand the greatest emerging needs and worries. With this input, we provided nearly $4.3M in COVID-19 response grants.

Our general grantmaking, which totaled just over $17M* in 2020, further bolstered Detroit youth. (*includes pandemic response grants)

Among the key concerns we heard loud and clear: Personal wellness was in a fragile state.

To bring focus to this pressing issue, we launched a $3-million Wellness Works Initiative, a series of grants to support the well-being of children and the adults who serve them.

Our 2020 Grantmaking

TOTAL GRANTED

$17M

GRANTS

251

Black Detroit Youth Making History

Black Detroiters have been on the forefront of the civil and cultural movements celebrated as Black history and as American history. That legacy continues. To recognize and honor future-in-themaking, we asked community members to submit examples of young Black Detroiters who are making the world a better place.

Alex Jones ❉ Ama Russell ✸ Andrew Scarborough ✺ Angel Clark ✹ Dallian Burnett ✹ Diamond Cannon ✺ Elijah Anderson ❉ Eva Oleita ✸ Jabari Jefferson ✺ Jacob Williams ❉ Jalyn Baity ✹ Jayden Williams ✺ Jeremiah Steen ❉ Karl Stafford ✸ Kenndall Wallace ✺ Khyiana Tate ❉ Leiasia Hailey ✹ Makiah Shipp ❉ Perriel Pace ✹ Tamera Middlebrooks ✸ Tavon Toure ✺ Tiera Barnett ✸ Wisdom Andino ✺ Zahria Liggans

» How Should School Change?

Detroit Students Weight In.

Members of The Skillman Foundation’s President’s Youth Council led a conversation about the future of education, helping school and community leaders reimagine school.

“The two most important people that know what’s best in the classroom is the teacher and the student,” said Lamont Satchel, Jr.

“Hear students out.”

About Our President’s Youth Council

As a children’s foundation, the insights of youth guide our priorities and strategies. While we solicit this input in many ways, we launched a President’s Youth Council in 2020 as a formal structure to do so. Council members meet regularly with Foundation leadership to discuss issues that are important to them and advise how the Foundation and its partners can better support their needs and aspirations

Afterschool Providers Put It All On The Line For Kids

When the pandemic hit, one thing was certain: kids needed support more than ever. Afterschool providers quickly stepped in to fill gaps and maintain connections with kids. For some this meant quickly moving their programming online. For others it meant providing a safe and nurturing space for children to engage in remote schooling under the eye of caring adults. Afterschool providers put kids first—even when that meant putting personal lives and financial futures on the backburner.

People Who Partner

Those dedicated to solving complex social and systemic issues know: collaboration is king. An individual can spark change, but to make and sustain change takes a movement of many.

Connected Futures ❉ Grow Detroit’s Young Talent ✸ COVID-19 Community Response Fund ✺ COVID313 ✹ Detroit Regional Talent Compact ✹ Launch Michigan ✺ 313Reads!

» Tonya Allen’s 5 Lessons For Philanthropy

In December 2020, Tonya Allen announced she would be stepping down as president & CEO of The Skillman Foundation to lead the McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis and advance racial equity on a national level. The life and career she had built in Detroit, Michigan instilled her with many insights about investing in community to advance social change.

Change the Odds

Balance Content
and Context

Power is a Tenet
of Change

Keep Equity at
the Forefront

Do It with Love

We Miss Seeing You

The fall of 2020 was a back-to-school season like no other. It had been nearly 6 months since the COVID-19 pandemic had altered our daily ways of life, including shuttering schools.

Few children returned to the classroom that fall, with the majority of school districts and parents opting for online learning. And some children did not engage in school at all.

Mentoring Manhood, 2021
John Baker III & John Baker IV
Original artwork: Oil on canvas

“Mentoring Manhood” is a father-son collaboration. John Baker III is a fine artist who has taught in Detroit schools for 29 years. John Baker IV is an award-winning artist and ninth grader at Cass Technical High School.

Other illustrations by Miranda Kyle ✸ Design by Good Done Daily ✸ Digital Layout by Meliora Creative

People of The Skillman Foundation: Our FounderOur TeamOur Trustees

The Skillman Foundation

A voice for children since 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy that serves as a fierce champion of Detroit children. The Foundation works to ensure Detroit youth achieve their highest aspirations by strengthening K-12 public education, afterschool learning opportunities, and college and career pathways.