Who We Are
A voice for children since 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy that invests in the brilliance and power of Detroit youth. We support efforts to strengthen Detroit’s education system, advance racial justice, and promote youth power.
Kids First: First place goes to Detroit kids, always. We:
- 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 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:
- 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:
- 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:
- 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 breathe;
- 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.