Skillman Foundation joins Detroit’s Grand Bargain, pledges $3.5 million to assist pensioners, help stabilize City



William Hanson, Director of Communications, 313.393.1163,

Krista Jahnke, Communications Officer, 313.393.1181,                                                                                                                       

DETROIT – The Skillman Foundation announced today that it would contribute $3.5 million over 20 years to the Grand Bargain, a fund that will offset post-retirement health care costs to former employees of the City of Detroit.

"The mission of the Skillman Foundation is to improve the lives of children in Detroit," said Skillman Foundation President & CEO Tonya Allen. "The financial relief that the Grand Bargain will provide to children and grandchildren of Detroit pensioners is significant. We have always been supportive of the Grand Bargain but believed our grant resources were better spent on agencies providing direct support to Detroit children.”

The fund, created in late 2013, includes major support from 12 other foundations with historic ties to Detroit and to Michigan. With the addition of the Foundation’s funds, the Grand Bargain now stands at $369.5 million.

“We have remained in regular contact with Judge Rosen," Allen said. U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen is a mediator in the bankruptcy case, who helped put together the Grand Bargain. "He was persuasive in helping us to understand the Grand Bargain's impact on making Detroit a healthier and stable environment for children," Allen said. "We want children in Detroit to grow up ready for college, career, and life and we believe they have a better chance to do that if the City of Detroit is financially sound."

Allen also expressed her appreciation to the other funders in the Grand Bargain, including the Kresge Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the C.S. Mott Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the McGregor Fund, the Knight Foundation, the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan, the William Davidson Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Foundation, and the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation.

“We’re pleased to be joining our philanthropic colleagues, who like us care deeply about Detroit and its residents,” Allen said. “We believe the Grand Bargain is part of a reasonable and important component of the City’s effort to move out of bankruptcy.”

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.