Tonya Allen Named Top Executive of Skillman Foundation


tDETROIT — Carol Goss, president & chief executive officer of The Skillman Foundation, today announced she is retiring from her post, effective at the end of 2013. Tonya Allen, chief operating officer and vice president of program for the Foundation, has been named president & CEO by The Skillman Foundation Board of Trustees, effective January 1, 2014.

tWhile accepting the planned resignation, the Board applauded the exemplary accomplishments of Goss during her decade of service as CEO.

t"Carol Goss has led the Skillman Board and staff on a remarkable journey during her tenure to redefine the role of the Foundation in improving the lives of Detroit's most vulnerable children," said David Baker Lewis, chairman of the Board of Trustees. "Carol's trailblazing vision of a foundation becoming a strategic funding partner in improving the conditions that effect the lives of children has become a reality in Detroit and the nation, through the force of her vision and her ability to persuade others to take up the cause. There is no clearer example of this vision than her groundbreaking work on education reform in Detroit."

tUnder her tenure, the Foundation launched new strategic philanthropy initiatives involving education reform and neighborhood support for children, focused on measurable change in Detroit. Goss shepherded the Foundation from a traditional and responsive grantmaking organization into a proactive organization that takes on the toughest issues facing children, while mobilizing stakeholders throughout the city to establish initiatives such as Excellent Schools Detroit. She used the Foundation's reputation to galvanize others to commit to a broad and achievable agenda for children.

tThe Skillman Foundation's work and leadership has influenced organized philanthropy nationally, and has served as a model for strategic and embedded philanthropy. Locally, Crain's Detroit Business cited Goss as one of Southeast Michigan's Most Influential Women. She received the Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award, given by the Detroit Free Press and the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition. Goss was named the 2007 James A. Joseph Lecturer by the Association of Black Foundation Executives.

t"The support of the Board and staff has been extraordinary. Together, we have changed philanthropy in the region by focusing on children first, while giving voice to those living in neighborhoods – rather than just focusing on systems and governance. Tonya Allen has been the architect of our strategies," Goss said. "She is an exceptional leader, and is probably the smartest person I know in this work."

tAllen joined the Foundation in 2004, and has been COO of the Foundation since 2010. She developed the Foundation's 10-year $100-million Good Neighborhoods program, and currently oversees the Foundation's main programs, communications and technology operations, as well as talent development.

tA native Detroiter, Allen has a bachelor's degree in sociology, and master's degrees in social work and public health, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She was one of 44 emerging American leaders who received the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship for 2011. Allen has previously served in positions at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Thompson Foundation, and the Detroit Parent Network.

t"I'm privileged that Carol and the Board have faith in my leadership," Allen said. "I know I'll be a better leader because I've watched Carol's extraordinary grace and integrity as she's pressed for positive change on behalf of children in the city. I'm grateful to be partnering with her during 2013 as we complete our strategic planning process for the coming years. As a result, we'll have a seamless transition with a common vision."

tThe Board will use the 2013 transition period to review the Foundation's recent accomplishments and to incorporate Tonya Allen's vision of the Foundation's future, engaging Skillman partners and others in the community in the process, in addition to celebrating the achievements of Carol Goss during the latter part of the year.