Who We Are

Since 1960, when Rose Skillman created The Skillman Foundation, we have worked to improve the lives of children. The Foundation helps Detroit children prepare for college, career and life. We believe that when Detroit children thrive, Detroit thrives.

Focused on the potential

Too many Detroit children – nearly 60 percent -- are growing up in poverty. Statistics tell us children growing up in those circumstances are, not surprisingly, at a distinct disadvantage to lead successful lives as adults. Too many are exposed to toxic environments, where stress and violence are a part of daily life. Too many grow up in neighborhoods lacking opportunity, without high-quality schools, and with streets that are dotted with blight.

Although poverty -- and all these factors -- certainly influence children, we believe it does not define them. All children have the ability to learn and grow, given the right supports and opportunities. We know kids in Detroit are more than statistics. Like children everywhere, each one has dreams for their futures. We must support and nurture those dreams.

We work hard to put kids first, and partner with others who will do the same

The Foundation's role is more than funder. We bring ideas and people together. We attract others to our work. Along with our partners, we are embedded in our community so that we can understand things from the ground level, and help outside investors understand where they can have impact. The Foundation invests $15-$17 million a year, backed by our nearly half-billion-dollar endowment. We leverage our legacy of results and innovation to attract others to invest in leaders, organizations, and networks taking bold action for children. We believe in working in an embedded way with our partners, and we believe in incorporating the voices of residents and youth in the work. We are open to new ideas, and we have no interest in maintaining the status quo if it isn’t working for kids.