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ABOUT.OUR WORK.YOUTH.Ballou.9191_edited
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For over 30 years, we have partnered with local and national organizations on advocacy issues and to encourage the development of national, clergy, and youth leaders.

National Leaders

National Prayer Breakfast – The Bridge Building Seminar is co-hosted by SLI during the National Prayer Breakfast, which attracts some 4000 business, civic, and religious leaders from 160 countries to discuss what God is doing worldwide to unify people despite the many divisions. The seminar, entitled, “Building Bridges on Race, Religion, Relationships: Questions You Always Wanted To Ask”, attracts some 300+ leaders representing diverse cultures and backgrounds. A cross-cultural panel engages in robust dialogue with an audience, who feel safe in asking hard questions without being labeled, judged, or attacked. It continues to be a powerful, impactful and memorable event.


Congressional Black Caucus Prayer – Nearly 30 years ago, Rev. Tom Skinner and Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Prayer Breakfast. Some 2500 leaders in government, civic, business and other fields come from across the nation to be spiritually revived through soul-stirring praise music, a dynamic message on the love and saving grace of Jesus, and through life changing scripture reading. Dr. Williams-Skinner continues to have the honor of helping to write the script and mobilize clergy leaders to participate in the event. She has also served as a special guest to pray for our nation, and encourage leaders in their faith during the prayer breakfast. For more information on the CBCF Prayer Breakfast visit


Prayer Walks and Visits on Capitol Hill – Dr. Williams-Skinner encourages the spiritual development of key leaders across the nation to build bridges of understanding through weekly prayer walks on Capitol Hill and meetings with individual Congressional Leaders and senior staff of all political viewpoints.

The African American Leadership Family - Since 1985, we have coordinated leadership seminars among 100 intergenerational African American leaders in government, business, civil rights, and education, who call themselves, "The African American Leadership Family". The purpose of the "Leadership Family" is to build relationships with leaders and to provide an environment for these leaders to receive briefings on current critical "hot-button" policy issues impacting our nation and world. These gatherings have evolved into year-round fellowships, trusting, and mutually supportive relationships among members of the "The Leadership Family", who have banded together to empower one another, to leverage their diversity, to achieve extraordinary heights of excellence for themselves, their organizations, and communities, and to mentor next generation leaders who will succeed them.

Clergy Leaders

Skinner Leadership Institute patners with local and national clergy leaders through various activities and programs. Some of our key partnerships include The National African American Clergy Network (NAACN), an information sharing network of denomination and independent church leaders communicating regularly on issues impacting African American communities; Values Partnership who enables us to participate in the coordination of information sharing to groups around the country; and Sojourners, a national social justice organization. 


Key projects have included Freedom Sunday campaigns around African American voter education, registration, and mobilization in local and national elections. During the 2014 Mid-term election, the Freedom Sunday Campaign reached over 1 million black voters through 3,500 churches in six key states (Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina).


The National African American Clergy Network and Values Partnership also coordinate monthly information sharing conference calls, engaging well known issue experts and clergy leaders. The goal is to equip Black churches and ministry leaders to effectively engage their political leaders on behalf of African Americans.


We worked with Sojourners on the Matthew 25 Pledge, a commitment of the faith community to support vulnerable populations throughout the nation. Partnerships with Sojourners have included the Clergy Anti-Racism Preparedness Toolkit, the Reclaiming Jesus statement at a time when the soul of the nation and integrity of our faith is at stake, and the Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty.

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Youth Leaders

Skinner Leadership Institute supports a job skills, character development, and youth development program at Ballou Senior High School, located in Washington DC. The program provides automotive training, life skills, jobs, and scholarships to high-risk teens. Through the Ballou Automotive Technology Program, students have received paid internships during the school year, summer job readiness training at area wide automotive dealerships, and college scholarships for those who complete the program. As of 2016, over 61 of the program graduates are attending or have attended college, both two and four year. Eleven program graduates are working full-time with automotive dealers as highly skilled automotive technicians. In response to the growing number of fatalities caused by distracted teenage drivers, Toyota also provided a teen driving safety program. With a 30% unemployment rate among urban youth, the Ballou Automotive Scholarship Program guarantees that students are job ready when they graduate. Skinner Leadership Institute is pleased to provide coordination between Toyota, Ballou High School, and DC Public Schools.

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