Tonya Allen, a serial “idea-preneur” who serves as The Skillman Foundation’s President and CEO, has been announced as the Scholar in Residence for the Center on Community Philanthropy at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
Allen’s dates of residency at the Clinton School of Public Service are February 18-22. Her time at the school will include a presentation as part of the Clinton School Speaker Series at noon on Friday, February 22 at Sturgis Hall.
The Researcher in Residence will work with the Center on Community Philanthropy to do groundbreaking and innovative research that furthers the work of The Center and the Clinton School to build more evidence-based practice across the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.
Allen’s two-decade-long career has centered on pursuing, executing, and investing in ideas that improve her hometown of Detroit and reduce the plight of people, especially children, who live in under-resourced communities. In her current role with the Skillman Foundation, Allen aligns the complexities of education reform, urban revitalization, and public policy to improve the well-being of children in Detroit and across the nation. Allen has been instrumental in many successful philanthropic, government, and community initiatives.
Among many honors and accolades, Allen was named to Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40; was a recipient of the BRICK Award, a national accolade presented to activists under the age of 30 by Rolling Stone Magazine; and was one of the first Detroiters to receive the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship. She was named a Detroit News Michiganian of the Year in 2015, a Crain’s Detroit Business Newsmaker of the Year in 2015, and one of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “5 Nonprofit Innovators to Watch” in 2013. Allen was named 1 of 20 Bicentennial Alumni from University of Michigan.
Before joining The Skillman Foundation in 2004, Allen worked as a program officer for both the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Thompson-McCully Foundation. She founded Detroit Parent Network, a parent membership organization dedicated to improving educational options for children, and led the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Rebuilding Communities Initiative in Detroit.
Allen holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and master’s degrees in social work and public health, all from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She serves on numerous boards, both local and national, including Oakland University, Council on Foundations, Council of Michigan Foundations, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and Campaign for Black Male Achievement.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.