In service of our mission, the Detroit Children’s Fund has a focused investment strategy: We Invest in Quality. We invest in proven school models, high-potential talent and equitable policies and practices to create access to more quality schools for Detroit children. Our investments exist along a continuum, from creating the right conditions for success and seeding promising ideas to scaling what works.

What we invest in


Policies, conversations, partnerships and actions that enable our investments to thrive.
  • Policy Plays:
    Ways to elevate quality conversation and drive policy level changes impacting Detroit Schools
  • Community Engagement:
    Provide support to high quality schools to increase parental involvement and engage community leaders
  • Enrollment Maximization:
    Intentional strategies to ensure families enroll their child in the highest quality options
  • Core Systems at Scale:
    Provide support for foundational systems and structures, helping build capacity that enable future seat-focused investments to thrive
Leaders and ideas in early stages of organization, conception, and planning.
  • Idea Exploration:
    Bold, innovative approaches to address the quality school issues in Detroit, including classroom design, new school models, and other paradigm-challenging ideas


A complete pipeline of talented educators that sets a high performance bar and puts a premium on intensive development.
  • Leadership Development:
    Providing strategic direction, coaching and support to build the capacity of school leaders to raise academic expectations and results for schools
  • Sourcing Teachers & Leaders:
    Build and support pipelines of talented educators to fuel the needs of our schools and students
Growth and scaling of quality district and charter schools & networks, including the aggressive national recruitment of proven high-performers. Low-performing schools are put into capable hands to expedite improvement.
  • Replication:
    Grow local high quality district and charters with proven, successful models
  • Recruitment:
    Identify and attract high quality school operators expanding to Detroit
  • Improvement/Turnaround:
    Find opportunities and partners to address schools in need of significant support to produce improved academic outcomes for students
  • Scaling:
    Support existing high quality schools to add more classrooms and/or grades to serve additional students
  • New School Incubation:
    Support proven leaders/leadership teams to launch new schools

DCF + Skillman Foundation = Better investments

DCF is powered by a deep partnership with the Skillman Foundation. The Foundation has been working in Detroit since 1960 and is recognized as lead advocate for children in the city. Detroit Children’s Fund and the Skillman Foundation share staff, allowing DCF to leverage the Foundation’s deep relationships and knowledge.