In February 2016, the Skillman Foundation and Campaign for Black Male Achievement called upon community members to put forth their ideas to increase opportunities for black and brown boys. This call for ideas, the MBK Detroit Innovation Challenge, drew close to 500 submissions. Applications were narrowed down by nearly 50 judges, which included young men from the city, individuals who work on behalf of youth and young men of color, and community leaders.

What we set out to accomplish:


From the hundreds of submissions, 20 teams were selected to advance to the next round. These organizations spent the summer of 2016 testing their ideas with the help of training, support and $5,000 in funding. In September, the teams presented their learnings and plans for their organization’s future to community members and a panel of judges. Six teams were awarded $50,000 and ongoing training supports to scale their work.

How it worked:


From September 26 to October 31 2017, the Skillman Foundation and Campaign for Black Male Achievement held the MBK Innovation Challenge Capstone Expo & Exhibit in Downtown Detroit. After a year of prototyping, refining, and scaling their initiatives, the finalists showcased their tremendous work in the MBK Innovation Challenge Capstone Expo & Exhibit. Held in downtown Detroit, the Capstone Expo showcased the finalists’ programs through interactive installations.

These installations are accompanied by an exhibit entitled, “In Their Words,” which featured photos and quotes conveying the perspectives of young men of color in the city. Holding the expo in Detroit’s downtown business and visitor core helped to inform a deeper understanding of the city’s neighborhoods, from its challenges to its tremendous talents.

2016 - 2017 Teams
We Are Culture Creators
Our Town
Developing Despite Distance
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