June 30, 2014
Madonna announced today the first phase of a long-term commitment to help her Detroit hometown.
As part of the efforts to rescue and revitalize the city and inspired by the progress she's witnessed thus far after a recent visit to Detroit, the former resident of Bay City and Rochester Michigan will begin by contributing to three extraordinary organizations that have already begun to bring hope and change to the city.
Madonna will provide funding for a new facility for the Downtown Youth Boxing Gym (DYBG) which provides free after-school boxing and educational mentoring to 65 kids in Detroit's Eastside community. In addition, she will support the Detroit Achievement Academy (DAA) to enhance the students' classroom learning experience by supplying new equipment, art and music supplies. DAA is a free public charter school located in the poorest zip code of Michigan but with the highest performing students in Detroit. A third component of Madonna's support to Detroit will be helping The Empowerment Plan, a nonprofit organization which employs homeless women to sew garments that serve as both a coat and a sleeping bag which are distributed to homeless individuals within the Detroit community and throughout the country.
"I was deeply inspired by the efforts of so many people who I met who have dedicated themselves to helping the kids and adults in Detroit elevate themselves from the cycle of poverty. 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," commented Madonna.
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 eastside 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."