Detroit literary nonprofit InsideOUT receives $2 million grant from Mackenzie Scott

One of the latest beneficiaries of MacKenzie Scott's philanthropy is InsideOUT Literary Arts, a nonprofit in Detroit that focuses on after-school programming for kids in the city.

The team received the news of a $2 million gift through Scott's Yield Giving Open Call earlier in March - and couldn't be more excited about what the money would bring.

"Up until last year, she picked organizations on her own," said Suma Rosen, executive director of InsideOUT. "Last year, in 2023, was the first time that, through Yield Giving, she had the open call and organizations were able to actually put together proposals and say ‘hey pick me.'"

On March 19, the nonprofit announced they were one of the lucky ones picked. Videos posted on their social media show the moments employees learned the news.

The money is valuable because arts programming, which InsideOUT specializes in offering, is often the first kind of curriculum to get cut from schools. Data shows when it comes to balancing the budget, districts throw out those classes first.

That's despite the overall positive relationship between a child's access to quality arts education and their mental health and engagement with the world around them.

InsideOUT started in 1995 by offering young kids from Detroit opportunities to find their voice. That includes award-winning writing classes and its Citywide Poets program.

The writer-in-residence program places professional writers in varying levels of school where they work with the teacher and same group of students all year long. At the end of the year, they create "amazing anthologies," said Rosen.

Brown, who is a former member of the Citywide Poets remembers when she got invited to join the group. 

"I transformed from this very shy kid who didn’t really talk a whole lot, just basically focused on writing, to a performance poet," she said.

Learn more about their programs here.


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