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Who We Are

Our Mission

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.

Impact Areas

To best ensure Detroit youth are prepared and positioned to be tomorrow’s leaders, The Skillman Foundation is focused on two Impact Areas: Education and Economic Well-Being.

Core Values

Kids First: First place goes to Detroit kids, always. We work to:

  • Value the perspectives and insights of all Detroit children and youth;
  • Take on what we believe will have the most transformational impact for Detroit kids, no matter how big the challenge; and
  • Position Detroit youth as the authors of their future so they may envision and achieve what they deem to be success.

Trusted Partner: Kids are the mission; partnerships are the way.  We work to:

  • Work collaboratively, developing and implementing solutions in partnership with others;
  • Develop strong relationships, cultivating mutual trust and respect by acting with integrity and communicating with consistency; and
  • Convene and participate in cross-sector tables, using our influence to ensure those closest to the issue are seated alongside us.

World Wise, Detroit Smart: We combine innovative and best-practice content knowledge with deep understanding of the Detroit context to make the biggest impact for kids.  We work to:

  • Learn from successes and failures as well as from the experiences and insights of others, near and far;
  • Use data whenever possible to inform and monitor; and
  • Reflect and seek feedback on our strategies, actions, and impact.

Greater Than Grants: We cultivate and deploy resources – beyond grants – in service of Detroit kids. We work to:

  • Deploy all forms of capital – financial, reputational, and relational – thoughtfully, ethically, and equitably;
  • Use civic leadership to raise awareness and advocacy around critical issues facing Detroit youth; and
  • Convene across a chasm of stakeholders to bring a diversity of thought, resources, and sectors to the table.

Equity Focused: We are equity focused, diversity driven, and inclusion minded. We work to:

  • Embrace diversity and authentic inclusion in all areas of our work as a prerequisite for positive social change;
  • Understand that we work in a context defined by inequities that are as present as the air we breath;
  • Confront the drivers of inequality and redesign systems with those who have been historically marginalized; and
  • Create a community where all Detroiters – especially youth – are valued, heard and mobilized in the service of opportunity and prosperity for all.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Skillman Foundation embraces diversity and authentic inclusion in all areas of our work; we consider this a prerequisite for positive social change. As a guiding principle, it impacts our decisions at every level from staffing to partnerships and how our resources are deployed.

We understand that we work in a context defined by inequities that are as present as the air we breathe. Therefore, we must confront the drivers of inequality and redesign systems with those who have been historically marginalized.

We are driven to create a community where all Detroiters – especially youth – are valued, heard and mobilized in the service of opportunity and prosperity for all.

Code of Ethics

Click here to view The Skillman Foundation’s Code of Ethics for trustees and team members.