April 1, 2020

COVID-19 Response Fund Partner Profile: Downtown Boxing Gym

United Way for Southeastern Michigan and our partners work to ensure that our region’s most vulnerable families have the support they need to weather the short- and long-term impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. The COVID-19 Community Response Fund allows us to rapidly deploy funds to organizations that are working tirelessly to help individuals and families access food, shelter, health care and other critical resources.

As of May 14, more than $13 million had been awarded to nearly 500 organizations.

We’ll continue to share more stories of how together, we’re helping families in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties weather this crisis. Visit our blog to learn more about how we’re responding.

Editor’s Note: This post is a guest blog by Downtown Boxing Gym

Since 2007, the Downtown Boxing Gym (DBG) has served the children and families of Detroit by providing a free, nationally recognized after-school academic and athletic program and critically needed services for Detroit students. The gym helps students succeed through literacy and math intervention, enrichment programs, college and career readiness, SAT/ACT prep, and more. Students who attend DBG have a 100 percent high school graduation rate.

The gym also supports children and families with food and basic needs assistance.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s more important than ever that DBG be able to provide this support. The boxing gym is responding to the emergency by helping not only its 150 students, ages 8-18, but also entire families.

“We have to continue the work we started,” says DBG’s founder and CEO Khali Sweeney. “We started out educating the kids in our community, making sure they have a safe place to go, food, and all the things they need. Just because it’s a crisis, that doesn’t mean we stop doing what we have to do. The need is still there.”

A grant from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund is helping DBG continue to provide their typical services—and more—during this unprecedented time of need.

downtown boxing gym family care package

Downtown Boxing Gym staff packed care packages for the families they serve with food, exercise equipment and other resources.

Springing into action

When school and business shutdowns began, the DBG team began packing care packages. The boxes include emergency food, paper goods, cleaning supplies, academic packets, exercise equipment and more. The gym is using its vans to deliver the boxes to families they serve, house by house. In addition, staff members are arranging virtual tutoring, mentoring sessions and workouts. This helps the kids stay on track with their schoolwork and stay healthy.

Schools will remained closed and Michigan’s stay-at-home order is still in effect for the immediate future. As a result, DBG still needs additional resources like computers, cleaning supplies and continued food distribution.

“The COVID-19 crisis is hitting hard for DBG families who were already struggling and facing food insecurity. We are grateful to our partners like United Way for Southeastern Michigan, which are helping us provide life-sustaining food and supplies,” said DBG’s executive director Jessica Hauser. “We are proud to serve our community, especially during times of great need.

She added, “We train kids for life. And this is life. It’s what we do.”

To learn more about Downtown Boxing Gym, visit dbgdetroit.org.