Community Engagement!

‘On The Table’ Event Pairs Food with Food for Thought

Downtown Boxing Gym students had an important seat at the table for a community engagement discussion and dinner focused on finding solutions.

The library in the back corner of the Downtown Boxing Gym gym served as the perfect backdrop for a dinner dedicated to learning. Several of our students joined invited guests to break bread Oct. 4 as part of On The Table, a community engagement initiative organized by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The event included a delicious meal from Rachael’s Corner, the Downtown Boxing Gym's kitchen, and some real talk as students described conditions in their neighborhoods.

There was talk of blight, drugs, homelessness, and a lack of mentors. The group also shared ideas that could lead to positive change — community gardens, parks with better programming and people to supervise them, hands-on workshops to engage young people in things like carpentry or building, and better schools.

“It’s basically like a food chain,” said Rakeem, a student at Western International High School who boxes and spends time producing music in our studio. “Kids catch on to what they hang around.”

Zaria, Pershing High graduate loves to make music and music videos. She said she sees too many people in the city who expect someone else to help improve their lot in life.

“A person’s not going to help you if you can’t help yourself,” she said. “And a lot of people can’t help themselves.”

The event sparked plenty of two-way conversation that inspired the students. Clifford Brown, one of our board members, is a local real estate developer who owns Woodborn Partners. He told the group about growing up in nearby Toledo, Ohio, and moving to Detroit in 2002. He worked a job at Ford during the day while he studied how to become a real estate broker by night.

Todd Scott, executive director of the nonprofit Detroit Greenways Coalition, talked about his career switch from software, after he grew frustrated knowing that the software he developed would be updated and discarded almost as soon as it was completed. He now runs an organization that helps cities including Detroit find funding to build bike lanes, trails and other infrastructure.

“I know there’s a chance that the things that are getting built will last a long, long time,” Scott said.

That idea of finding a way to make a positive difference particularly appealed to Zaria.

“I wanna start my legacy here [in Detroit],” she said.

Similar on The Table discussions took place across the region. Community Foundation staff will gather information from event hosts — like the Downtown Boxing Gym — survey participants, and publish a report highlighting the ideas, conversations, themes and outcomes that emerged from the discussions.

Thank you to all who joined our tables!

A Shot in the Arm!

Rite Aid's Mobile Flu Clinic Stops at the Downtown Boxing Gym

We're proud to announce our Detroit gym was chosen by the Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program as one of just eight locations nationwide for its inaugural Mobile Flu Clinic.

A split second pinch sure packs a punch! Flu shots have the power to protect against influenza, a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control, millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands die from flu-related causes.

On Wednesday, September 27, our students, parents and gym staff  and volunteers got a shot in the arm to help keep them healthy as flu season approaches. The KidCents Mobile Flu Clinic rolled up, providing free flu immunization shots. In addition, KidCents presented us with a $10,000 grant to support our program.

The Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program is a charitable giving program started in 2014 that focuses on improving the health and well being of children. It’s funded by members of the retail pharmacy’s wellness+ Plenti rewards program who donate their change by rounding up their purchase amounts to the nearest dollar.

Rite Aid customers who want to participate can sign into their wellness+ accounts at and see profiles of approved KidCents charities they can choose to support. The Downtown Boxing Gym is one of more than 440 KidCents charities. This tour is the first mobile flu clinic under the program.

Joining us for the flu shot event at the boxing gym was Dr. Jennifer Caudle, a board-certified Family Physician who appears on television, radio and in print as a health expert.

“We look forward to helping our communities stay healthier this season by providing free flu shots to those associated with our valued KidCents charities,” said Tracy Henderson, director of the Rite Aid Foundation and Charitable Giving Initiatives. "We are thrilled to support the Downtown Boxing Gym, an amazing program doing so much to educate and uplift Detroit students."

We are incredibly grateful to the Rite Aid Foundation and KidCents for the shots and generous support.

H.T. Ewald Foundation grants first-ever Al 'Blue' Lewis Scholarships

The Downtown Boxing Gym recently presented our first-ever Al 'Blue' Lewis Scholarships to three deserving high school graduates who were selected to receive $1,000 each. The funds will help with college expenses. The scholarships will be given out annually to students who demonstrate positivity and productivity thanks to the support and generosity of the H.T. Ewald Foundation.

H.T. Ewald Foundation awards three $1000 scholarships to Downtown Boxing Gym students

The Downtown Boxing Gym awarded three exemplary students --David Davis, Charisma Parker and Cala Oatis-- with $1,000 college scholarships each, funded by the H. T. Ewald Foundation. With the help of the foundation, the gym was able to institute its first scholarship program for both high school students and current college students who have completed the Downtown Boxing Gym’s program. This year's recipients are now in college.

Read more here.

Top chefs, Detroit Free Press, Metro Detroit Chevy dealers host dinner for kids at Downtown Boxing Gym

Detroit Free Press/Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers' Top 10 Takeover dining series hosts fancy dinners at the city's best new restaurants. A portion of every Takeover ticket sold helps Forgotten Harvest fight hunger in Metro Detroit. To raise awareness of Hunger Action Month — that's September — we decided to highlight our charitable partner and host a Takeover for some very special kids. With the help of Forgotten Harvest, Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers, and two of Metro Detroit's top chefs, John Vermiglio (Grey Ghost) and George Azar (Flowers of Vietnam), we created a Top 10 Takeover dinner for the kids at the Downtown Boxing Gym.

Detroit’s New Lululemon Partners with Downtown Boxing Gym

LuluLemon Detroit

Athletic apparel company Lululemon is opening its first Detroit location today. Named the Downtown Detroit Local, the concept space will carry the company’s assortment of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, as well as donate 50 percent of its annual profits to Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program, a local nonprofit that offers training, academic support, and volunteer opportunities to youth in Detroit.

Read more here on Hour Detroit or here on Crain's.