Chicago native to lead Detroit Skillman Foundation


The daughter of a white Jewish mother who taught in public school and an African-American father who became a police sergeant, Angelique Power says she grew up in South Chicago with the awareness that she was part of these communities and outside them at the same time. .

As Power rose through the ranks of nonprofits and philanthropy in the Midwest, including as president of the Field Foundation in Chicago, she saw herself as a stakeholder in the systems she worked for rather than a employed, building trust and listening to others with an eye for justice.

Power will get to work in Detroit in an attempt to build that confidence this fall as the next president and CEO of the Detroit-based Skillman Foundation, starting September 13. She said on Monday that the past year has been transformative and the year ahead is even more transformative. important.

“There is something very unique about the Skillman Foundation, its approach to the work and the role it plays,” said Powers. “He takes advantage of everything he has in serving children. They’ve built trusting relationships. They’ve done reliable research.”

“Right now, as we come out of the pandemic – raising the voices of young people and their vision for the future – it calls and forces me to bring myself and my family back to work,” Powers said of coming to Skillman and Detroit.

Power, 50, began her career in philanthropy with the Dayton Hudson Corporation, where she learned about corporate social responsibility and what effective civic engagement looks like in areas of the Midwest, including Detroit.

She then headed community relations at Target Corporation. Additionally, she was Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Program Director at the Joyce Foundation where her regional focus included fundraising in Detroit.

Power says she had a fair amount of skepticism about philanthropy early in her career. Today she says she maintains that with a healthy dose of optimism.

“Philanthropy has often believed in its own hype,” she says. “Because there is a closeness to capital, which is confused with expertise. What is essential to understand is that visionaries are the ones in the trenches who do this work every day. brought in as designers of their own density rather than beneficiaries of our benevolence. “

Power succeeds Tonya Allen, who stepped down as CEO of Skillman in February.

While the Skillman Foundation is best known for its work in K-12 education, it also has a long history of promoting equity, the extracurricular system, youth employment, justice. for minors, neighborhood safety, support for parents and local leadership.

Power, former president of the Field Foundation in Chicago, said she will continue Skillman’s work to advance an opportunity agenda for children in Detroit, which involves retooling systems to center child well-being, youth voice and leadership.

“I am clear that education systems are the centrifugal force for results for children and youth,” Power said. “When these systems are equitable, the possibilities are endless. When it is not entire societies that suffer. The emphasis on education is critical at this time.”

As president of the Field Foundation, Power has doubled grantmaking and staff size through local and national partnerships, her staff said. Under his leadership, a socially responsible and racially equitable focus was added to the endowment of this foundation.

Power co-founded Enrich Chicago, a nonprofit focused on organizing the fight against racism, and Just Action, a group of 200 people and institutions aimed at helping organizations realize their racial fairness declarations from of 2020. She also led an interactive mapping project with 30 institutions focused on an equitable post-COVID recovery.

Suzanne Shank, vice president of the Skillman Foundation who headed the search committee for Allen’s replacement, said the choice of Power was a unanimous decision of the search committee and the board of directors.

“She has a long history of building across constituencies at the local, regional and national levels to achieve massive and community change,” said Shank, President and CEO of Siebert Williams Shank & Co., said. “His experience and skills will build on the Skillman Foundation’s 60 years of impact, advancing racial equity and helping the children of Detroit be the authors of their own futures.”

Mary Kramer, chair of the board of directors of the Skillman Foundation and vice president and director of special projects at Crain Communications, said that Detroit is emerging from the pandemic, there is a great need and a great opportunity to adopt new ones. approaches to support children and help them lead successful lives.

“Angelique Power comes to Detroit as a seasoned leader with a fresh outlook. She’s not committed to approaches or affiliations, only to what’s best for young people in Detroit,” Kramer said.

The Skillman Foundation recently celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2020. Its founder, Rose Skillman, an ardent advocate for children, created the foundation with $ 60,000 in investment. In December, the foundation had awarded nearly $ 670 million to the service of children.

Skillman initiatives include:

• The Good Neighborhoods Initiative, a $ 120 million effort to improve conditions for children in six targeted neighborhoods in Detroit, where nearly a third of the city’s youth lived at the time: Brightmoor, Chadsey-Condon, Cody Rouge, Northend Central, Osborn and Southwest Detroit. The initiative increased graduation rates by 25%, youth programs by 40%, and youth victimization rates decreased by 47% in these designated neighborhoods from 2009 to 2016.

• The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, which advocated for $ 667 million for the Detroit Public School Community District, the return of an elected school board in the district and greater accountability for charter schools .

• The creation and expansion of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, which increased summer jobs for young people from 2,500 to 8,200 paid positions.

• The Detroit Children’s Fund, a nonprofit organization that has brought together civic leaders to invest in schools and educators to ensure that more children in Detroit can receive a quality education.

• Launch Michigan, a statewide partnership between business, education, labor, philanthropy and civic leaders advocating for a high quality, student-centered K-12 education system .

Power, her husband Sean and their 11-year-old daughter Sadie Lousiane will be moving to Detroit later this summer.

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