Excited by the progress she’d witnessed on a recent visit to Detroit, Madonna announced yesterday the” first phase of a long-term commitment” to help revitalize her Bay City hometown.
As a former resident of Detroit and Rochester, Michigan, she will begin by contributing to three “extraordinary organizations” that have already begun to bring hope and change to the city.
The Downtown Youth Boxing Gym which provides free after-school boxing and educational mentoring will get funding for a new facility. The Detroit Achievement Academy, a free public charter school located in the poorest zip code of Michigan but with the highest performing students in Detroit, will receive new equipment for art and music programs. The third group to receive funding will be the Empowerment Plan, a nonprofit organization employing homeless women to sew garments that serve as both a coat and a sleeping bag which are distributed to the homeless.
“I have seen the results their commitment and hard work have already accomplished. From meeting the kids at Downtown Youth Boxing Gym who have a 100% high school graduation rate, to seeing how eager the students at the Detroit Achievement Academy are to learn about the arts, to understanding the value of giving homeless women the opportunity to become self-sufficient through The Empowerment Plan, it was obvious to me that I had to get involved and be part of the solution to help Detroit recover.”
“A piece of my heart will always be in Detroit and I’m humbled to be able to give back to my community,” she added.
The city of Detroit is trying to emerge from the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history with 60% of Detroit’s children living in poverty.
DOWNTOWN YOUTH BOXING GYM (DYBG) – Madonna is making a significant donation toward the building of a new facility for DYBG which provides a safe haven for neighborhood kids and provides free after-school boxing and educational mentoring to 65 kids per year in Detroit’s east side community. The DYBG’S current building has been condemned. Graduation rates in this community average between 17-32%. However, 100% of DYBG students have graduated high school. DYBG provides mentoring, guidance, life-skills and hope. All kids are required to do their school work before boxing. “I am thrilled for our kids and our program that Madonna has chosen us as part of her effort to rebuild Detroit,” said founder and head coach Khali Sweeney. “Her support of the Youth Program helps us move forward with our plans for a new building and expanding our reach to help more Detroit students pursue their education.”
DETROIT ACHIEVEMENT ACADEMY (DAA)- Madonna will be providing DAA with new equipment, art and music supplies including speakers, iPods, iPads and Smart Boards for each classroom. DAA currently serves 45 kindergarten and first grade students with plans to continue curriculum up to 12th grade in the years ahead. “Madonna’s generous gift will help create a level of arts enrichment that is only found in the highest performing schools in the country. We’re incredibly thrilled by her kindness,” commented DAA’s founder Kyle Smitley.
THE EMPOWERMENT PLAN serves the homeless community by providing job training as full-time seamstresses, financial security, self-esteem and steady employment to 13 homeless women while giving them an opportunity to transition out of the shelter into secure housing. These women are taught to create a garment that serves as both a coat and a sleeping bag for the homeless. Commented Veronika Scott, the organization’s CEO/founder, “Madonna’s contribution will support the job training and education for three additional homeless women to join The Empowerment Plan. Through steady employment and financial security, her generosity will make a lasting impact on these women as they become self-sufficient, rediscover their confidence and independence and provide stability for their children.”
When Madonna visited Detroit in early June, she sent out Instagram photos from stops at the three groups she announced funding for. In the photo above (top), she visited the Empowerment Plan.