Detroit’s InsideOut Literary Arts Announces Historic $2 Million Gift from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

Exciting news for Detroit’s young wordsmiths! InsideOut Literary Arts, the heartbeat of literary creativity in the Motor City, just got a game-changing boost—a whopping $2 million donation from none other than the renowned philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and her Yield Giving foundation. This isn’t just any donation; it’s the biggest show of support from a single individual that InsideOut has ever seen. Imagine the possibilities this opens up for our city’s budding poets, novelists, and storytellers!

For nearly three decades, InsideOut has been the magic behind the scenes, transforming over 75,000 Detroit kids into confident writers and thinkers. With a lineup of passionate writers leading the charge, InsideOut’s workshops aren’t just about putting pen to paper; they’re about igniting the spark of creativity, teaching kids to think big, and giving them the courage to share their unique stories with the world.

As InsideOut nears its 30th anniversary, the extraordinary donation from Yield Giving reinforces the non-profit’s dedication to its mission of integrating writers into educational institutions, thereby empowering young people to develop and express their authentic voices. Executive Director Suma Karaman Rosen expressed deep gratitude for the donation, stating, “We are incredibly moved by this tremendous vote of confidence in InsideOut’s programming and excited about the many ways we can even better cultivate the literary skills and social-emotional wellbeing of Metro Detroit youth.” Rosen further emphasized the donation’s significance in light of the upcoming anniversary: “This transformational donation from Ms. Scott marks a pivotal moment on the eve of our 30th year, allowing us to dream bigger and reach further than ever before.”

In our community, the empowerment of young Black children through reading and writing is not just important—it’s essential. These skills serve as powerful tools for self-expression, discovery, and advocacy, allowing our youth to navigate their narratives and histories with confidence and creativity. Reading opens up worlds beyond their immediate surroundings, offering diverse perspectives and inspiring dreams that stretch the boundaries of what’s possible. Writing, in turn, becomes an act of agency, a way for our children to assert their voices, document their experiences, and contribute to the rich tapestry of our communal legacy. By prioritizing literacy, we’re not just fostering academic success; we’re nurturing future leaders, thinkers, and change-makers who will continue to uplift and transform our community from the inside out.

Renowned for being among the nation’s elite writers-in-schools programs, InsideOut has conceived and executed a variety of successful interventions aimed at youth development. These include the Writer-in-Residence program, which extends to over 100 classrooms and community locations annually, and the lauded Citywide Poets after-school program. The organization’s dedication to fostering youth development through the arts was recognized in 2009 when it received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from former First Lady Michelle Obama.

The seeds of InsideOut were sown back in 1995, with initial funding from Detroit’s very own Bob Shaye, the mind behind New Line Cinema, and the Four Friends Foundation. But it was the young minds of Detroit that gave InsideOut its name, encapsulating the essence of the organization’s mission. As one 10th grade student so aptly put it, “ [When we write] we are bringing what is inside of us out into the world.”

Thanks to MacKenzie Scott’s remarkable donation, InsideOut is poised to amplify its mission, expand its initiatives, enhance its engagement within the community, and strengthen its influential role in fostering the next generation of leaders and creative thinkers all while reaching more young minds and making a more profound impact than ever before. This gift isn’t just a donation; it’s a catalyst for growth, innovation, and the continued empowerment of Detroit’s youth through the power of writing. For those eager to learn more about InsideOut and its transformative programs, visit Here’s to turning the page to an exciting new chapter in Detroit’s literary legacy!


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