Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

The Skillman Visionary Awards

Introducing the Skillman Visionary Awards

Introducing the Skillman Visionary Awards

A celebration of education visionaries who nurture the brilliance and power of Detroit youth.

Bestowed annually, the Skillman Visionary Awards recognize up to 10 individuals who are transforming the education system into a more equitable model for all. Visionaries represent a mix of educators, organizers, policy movers and other essential leaders working across Detroit education.
Awardees receive $50,000, no strings attached to acknowledge the impact they’ve made.

The inaugural 2024 Skillman Visionary Awardees represented a span of generations and roles, from leaders working directly with students as educators, youth providers, and organizers; to education system leaders and policy influencers.

Visionaries hold an equitable, future-forward vision for education and their impact is felt at the system level, beyond one school or program. 

Who is a Skillman Visionary? What are the criteria for these awards?

Skillman Visionaries lock arms with others to transform the education system into one that nurtures the genius and well-being of all students. Their efforts expand beyond a single school or organization to make system-level change.

Visionaries span multiple generations and represent the mix of people needed to work across the education system in increasingly community-informed and collaborative ways. Visionaries represent ground builders—leaders working in schools, afterschool programs and in community as education advocates and organizers. Visionaries also represent policy and system leaders, such as school district administrators and policy movers. Elected officials and those running for office are not eligible.

Awardees are nominated by confidential community nominators who have connections across Detroit schools, afterschool programs, education advocacy and education policy. Confidentiality ensures that nominators are not lobbied or publicly pressured for awards.

What does an awardee receive?

Awardees receive a $50,000 unrestricted, no-strings attached award, meaning there are no expectations on how to spend it. The award is meant to celebrate and reward work already achieved.

Why did The Skillman Foundation create these awards?

Anyone thinking about the future is thinking about education and the importance of redesigning how we equip young people to navigate and shape a future that will be very different from today.

Transforming the education system in Detroit—and across Michigan and the United States—is possible. What it will take to get there is all of us. We must work across different roles and identities, center the needs and experiences of students, listen to educators and families, and share a collective vision for the education and well-being of our young people. 

The Visionary Awards demonstrates what education systems change looks like in motion and expands who has a seat at the table in leading the design of our education system.

It is part of The Skillman Foundation’s People Powered Education approach.