A Rose for Detroit Blog

There are lots of school choices, but only if we make informed choices

Eight schools. Newberry, Fitzgerald, Wilkins, Von Stueben, Butzel, Munger, Burbank and Cass Tech. These are all of the Detroit public schools I attended while growing up. My experience over 20 years ago, unfortunately, is still the experience of many children in Detroit. There is a great deal of transiency among school-age children driven both by poverty and by school choice. ... Read More

Revived movement to improve outcomes for black boys must extend beyond a generation

I am the oldest of three girls, the mother of three daughters and aunt to four nieces. There is not one boy child in my immediate family. So many might wonder why a woman who has lived in a female-dominated family might be so concerned and passionate about making sure that boys do well. It is very simple; my daughters and nieces will date and eventually marry. I am open to each of them finding love with any man regardless of his race; yet I want each of them to have an option to love a black man just like their grandmother, mothers and aunts have. However, I know that the likelihood of them meeting and loving a Black man with the same education and social class will be dependent upon what we do today to fix the systemic and structural challenges facing black boys. ... Read More

Connections between youth and adults make kids matter

It always makes my day when I see someone around Detroit in a t-shirt that says, “Kids Matter Here.” It is one sign that I live in a city filled with adults who care about kids. Over the past year, The Skillman Foundation staff and partners have been thinking together about how to deepen connections for young people in Detroit and how caring adults play a critical role as connectors in the lives of young people. ... Read More

My Love for Detroit

I’m Marie Colombo, senior officer for knowledge management and chief of staff-program at the Skillman Foundation. I'm a life-long Detroiter whose ancestors were drawn to the region for work in the auto industry. I have a very special place in my heart for zip code 48205 and the Osborn/Denby neighborhoods.
There’s been a flurry of social media conversations where people are sharing the things they love about Detroit. For me it’s the spirit – of Detroit’s past, its present and its future –epitomized in the poem Detroit Jesus, written by Peter Putnam, which was composed for Grace Lee Boggs on her 96th birthday. ... Read More

White House Fellows make stop at Foundation during Living City Tour

Recently, The Skillman Foundation had the privilege of hosting a reception for the White House Fellows. The White House Fellows program, developed in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, was created to provide young, talented individuals with the opportunity to view government close-up and allow them a first-hand opportunity to explore career opportunities in service to their country. The program is now one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. As part of the programs “Living City Tour,” the fellows visited Detroit for five days in early November, which included meetings with the police chief, mayor and governor. ... Read More

Neighborhood notes from the field

I recently had the pleasure of attending a special event celebrating “Heroes of the Neighborhood.” This event recognized some ordinary individuals and employers who had performed in some extraordinary ways to help others and to make their neighborhood a better place to live and work. ... Read More

PNC initiative gives Detroit's kids chance to grow up great

Last month, PNC Bank announced the continuation of its award-winning Grow Up Great initiative, a comprehensive community-based approach to kindergarten readiness. The financial services group with branches all over metro Detroit launched the program seven years ago with a financial commitment of $100 million over 10 years to improve the lives of children and families in the geographic areas they serve. ... Read More

All roads lead to Detroit

Nearly two years ago, Angela Glover Blackwell, the president of PolicyLink, an organization that marries innovative local practices with stellar national policy, said "All roads lead to Detroit." The intent behind her statement was simply that everyone in the country is looking to Detroit to better understand what is happening in urban centers, where there's been significant disinvestment.
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