The Skillman Foundation has announced a twenty-year, $3.5 million pledge to a "grand bargain" fund that has been proposed to offset the post-retirement healthcare costs owed to former employees of the city of Detroit.
Created in late 2013, the fund includes commitments from twelve other foundations with historic ties to Detroit and Michigan, including the Kresge, Kellogg, Ford, Mott, and Knight foundations. With Skillman’s pledge, the fund now stands at $369.5 million.
Skillman, which works to improve the lives of children in Detroit, had opted not to contribute to the fund before this in the belief that its resources were better spent supporting nonprofit agencies that provide direct support to the city’s children. But the foundation’s leaders remained in regular communication with U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen, the lead mediator in the bankruptcy case who first proposed the plan.
"[Rosen] was persuasive in helping us to understand the grand bargain's impact on making Detroit a healthier and stable environment for children," said Skillman Foundation president and CEO Tonya Allen. "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. … We believe the grand bargain is part of a reasonable and important component of the city's effort to move out of bankruptcy."