All Detroit children deserve to dare, dream and do big things. It starts with a quality education.

We are an organization dedicated to equity and inclusion, fulfilling a social responsibility to educate all children. We are non-profit committed to helping Detroit children receive the quality education they deserve. We do this by making leaders stronger, teachers more effective and school systems more successful. By being laser-focused on school quality, we are investing in the hopes, dreams, and future of Detroit children. Join us.

Why we do what we do

Educators want to lead. Teachers want to teach. Children want to learn. We see it every day in Detroit schools. The educational crisis in Detroit doesn’t stem from a lack of effort, it stems from a lack of equity, resources, training and tools. We’re working to change that by funding proven programs that increase access, quality and equity in schools.

What makes us different

For years, initiatives in Detroit have tried to improve education without gaining significant traction. Here are a few ways we do things differently:

We’re strategic partners

When we fund a program, it’s only the beginning of an active, long-term partnership. We work hand-in-hand, on-the-ground with schools, teachers and leaders. We create strategies together based on shared knowledge. When challenges arise we’re in the room with schools — brainstorming, problem-solving, and helping them pivot and plan to get results.

we’re education experts

We have a deep understanding of school issues in the city. We know that in Detroit it takes multiple components — quality leaders, teachers and resources — coming together to create a great school. We bring a unique educational memory to every grantee, transferring the knowledge we have from one school to another that might be facing similar challenges. Because we’ve worked closely with so many schools, we also have the unique ability to bring school leaders together to collaborate. Our funders know it’s this reach and partnership that sets us apart.

we expect results

We support initiatives that ensure education improves. We hold our grantees accountable, setting milestones and adjusting funding based on trackable outcomes. We have frequent touchpoints with grantees, so we’re continually informed of their progress, making quarterly reporting a formality. This deep level of thought partnership and strategic connection is what accelerates our results.

we’re good stewards

Our donors can feel confident that their dollars are being carefully managed. We don’t just grant funding and hope it works out — we work with our partners to set clearly defined goals and closely monitor each investment to ensure success. When programs are working, we reinvest in the partnership, and we will cease funding if the program is not garnering the expected results.


Nick Karmanos
Nick Karmanos serves as Partner, responsible for DCF’s institutional advancement, fundraising and operations. Prior to joining Detroit Children’s Fund, Karmanos served as senior vice president of institutional relations for Karmanos Cancer Institute. Over his 20 year fundraising career, Nick has raised more than $200 million.
Dr. Twila Ainsworth-Comfort
Dr. Twila Ainsworth-Comfort is a Partner for the Detroit Children’s Fund. She brings a wealth of experience in urban education leadership, research, and practice. She has served as a program director, professor, instructional coach, curriculum developer, research practitioner, teacher, and a principal for traditional, founding and turnaround schools in both public and charter districts at the elementary, middle and high school levels in Detroit and Philadelphia. As a native Detroiter and a devout urban educator, she has committed her career to honoring, educating, and empowering students to be the next generation of leaders that their families, communities, future industries, and cities need.
Sonia Smith
Achievement Coordinator
Lisa Laurin
Chief Development Officer
Lisa Laurin serves as Detroit Children’s Fund’s chief development officer, overseeing the operations of DCF’s fundraising initiatives including major gifts, special events, sponsorship, grant writing, and stewardship.
Gabrielle Boyd
Development & Events Project Leader

Join our team

Are you passionate about creating educational opportunities for Detroit children? Visit our job postings to see our available positions.

Board of directors
KC Crain
President, Chief Executive Officer
Crain Communications
Tonya Allen
McKnight Foundation
Tony Barra
Retired Technology Consultant
Phil Cooley
Slows BARBQ & Los Pistoleros
Tiffany Douglas
Global Women’s Initiative & Under-represented Talent Strategy Executive
Bank of America
Darienne Driver Hudson, ED.D
President & CEO
United Way of SE Michigan
Bill Emerson
Vice Chairman
Rock Holdings, Inc.
Kelle Ilitch
Child & Education Advocate
Adam Levinson
Managing Partner & CIO
Graticule Asset Management
Ryan Maibach
Barton Malow
Anup Popat
Chairman & CEO
Systems Technology Group
Ray Scott
President & CEO
Lear Corporation
Arn Tellem
Vice Chairman
Detroit Pistons
Jason Tinsley
Managing Director
JP Morgan Private Bank
Jesse Venegas
Vice President
Ideal Group