More than $4.5M committed in new grants to improve outcomes for Detroit kids

 The Skillman Foundation today announced $4.65 million in new grants to support work in youth development, safety, education, social innovation, and community leadership benefiting children in six Detroit neighborhoods.


Youth and community leaders gathered at a Youth Summit in Southwest Detroit in November. The program was organized by Congress of Communities, a resident-led neighborhood organization in Southwest Detroit.

Grants made in the last quarter included nearly $2 million geared toward supporting higher quality education options for Detroit children. Those grants included:

  • $800,000 to Michigan State University to support operations of the Good Schools Resource Center (GSRC). The GSRC delivers targeted high-impact assistance to 15 schools, helping them build excellence in three critical areas – math and English instruction, student personalization and voice, and community connections.
  • $500,000 to Excellent Schools Detroit (ESD) to continue supporting a citywide effort in education reform. ESD continues to move the needle on meaningful high school graduation by working in four key areas: supporting families to choose the best school options; creating new high-quality options; improving weak and failing school options; and closing or improving the lowest-performing schools.
  • $396,000 over three years to IFF to launch a fund in Detroit to provide real estate development and financing to charter schools, early childhood development centers, and other nonprofits in the six Skillman target neighborhoods. This grant will expand the number of early childhood centers and high-quality schools serving children in the targeted neighborhoods.
  • $200,000 to ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career to support the continued development of the Linked Learning Initiative in Detroit. Linked Learning addresses common shortfalls of graduation by reorganizing high schools to focus on rigorous academics taught through the lens of specific industries and by leveraging work-based experiences to facilitate the development of 21st century skills.
  • $27,000 to Detroit Cristo Rey High School to continue support for the co-ed Catholic high school in Southwest Detroit by supporting the placement of a student intern team within the Foundation.

More than $675,000 was granted to support four resident-driven associations of community leaders working on their neighborhoods' agendas for children.

Those grants included:

Additionally, grants totaling nearly $800,000 were made to bolster safety initiatives in Detroit neighborhoods. Those grants included:

  • $300,000 to Wayne State University to reduce crime and provide increased neighborhood level safety in three targeted Skillman neighborhoods: Cody Rouge, Osborn and Southwest Detroit. This grant will help bring AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program (AMUS), based at Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies, to these three neighborhoods in order to improve levels of neighborhood safety, reduce victim attractiveness and susceptibility, provide crime mapping and analysis for residents through CompStat, and board up empty and abandoned buildings to reduce blight.
  • $200,000 to the Detroit Economic Growth Association to support the Detroit Blight Authority to remove 71 houses in 14 blocks of Brightmoor where non-structural blight has been cleared.
  • $135,000 to City Connect Detroit to continue to support the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (YVPI) in the Cody Rouge and Osborn neighborhoods. For the past two years, YVPI has managed a comprehensive approach that uses four strategies of youth violence prevention -- Safe Routes 2 Schools, Ceasefire Detroit, Youth Employment and School-based Safety Stations.
  • $155,000 to Black Family Development, Inc. to continue to support Restorative Practices within the Skillman targeted neighborhoods. The strategy of Restorative Practices addresses inappropriate conflict resolution tactics, including violence, bullying, and other misbehaviors, and improves relationships between students, school personnel and parents, preventing conflicts from becoming more serious.
  • $31,000 to the Regents of the University of Michigan to support the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy at the University of Michigan Law School. The Detroit Center provides legal and social work advocacy to at-risk families to prevent children from unnecessarily entering or remaining in foster care.

Other grants totaling $1.2 million included:

  • $295,000 to the Michigan Nonprofit Association to support Data Driven Detroit (D3). D3 is a regional community information system that collects, analyzes and disseminates data and information to support evidence-based planning, program and policy decisions. 
  • $180,000 to Detroit Parent Network to continue to support Project Graduation, a neighborhood-based, parent-led initiative to facilitate college access for seventh through 12th graders living in the Skillman targeted neighborhoods.
  • $150,000 to Root Cause Institute, Inc. for year two of a two-year grant to support the Leadership and Sustainability Institute for Black Male Achievement. This grant will continue the efforts of LSI to promote and sustain black male achievement.
  • $150,000 to LaFrance Associates, LLC to support the evaluation of the Foundation’s youth development strategy.
  • $150,000 to Accounting Aid Society to support family tax assistance coupled with Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion.
  • $150,000 to Matrix Human Services to support the operations of a key youth development hub that connects partners and residents in the Osborn community.
  • $85,000 to Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, Inc. (UNI) to build the capacity of a community-based organization in the Springwells Village section of Southwest Detroit.
  • $75,000 to Think Detroit Police Athletic League, Inc. to provide high-quality, organized sports, recreation and leadership development programs to youth.

CONTACT: William Hanson, director of communications, or 313.393.1163.

Created in 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to improving meaningful graduation rates in the Detroit region, so kids are ready for college, career, and life. The Foundation has assets of nearly a half-billion dollars, with an annual grants budget of $17 million. The Foundation works to achieve its goal by investing in community leadership, neighborhoods, safety initiatives, high-quality schools, social innovation, and youth development.