Skip to main content

MCAN awards $10,000 Innovative Program Grant to Downtown Boxing Gym

"DBG Downtown Detroit Boxing Gym logo with a lion head silhouette and text 'Innovative Program Grant Recipient' on a blue background."

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan College Access Network has awarded a $10,000 Innovative Program Grant to Detroit-based nonprofit Downtown Boxing Gym to help fund its expanding college and career readiness programming.

Downtown Boxing Gym’s college and career readiness programming supports Detroit students in the development of, and transition to, postsecondary pathways. The program includes a wide range of dedicated educational workshops and training, social-emotional learning and mentorship, financial literacy counseling, 1-to-1 ACT/SAT preparation courses and college application guidance. Through this grant from MCAN, Downtown Boxing Gym will add capacity to work with new and different students, including middle school students, and add innovative new aspects to its college and career readiness programming.

“Organizations that prioritize low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color are essential to reaching our goal of Sixty by 30 — increasing the percentage of Michigan residents with degrees or postsecondary certificates to 60% by the year 2030,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director. “We’re proud to support the work of Downtown Boxing Gym, which is helping Detroit students understand their options for postsecondary education and set ambitious college and career goals.”

Downtown Boxing Gym provides free, daily, out-of-school-time programming for students ages 8 to 18, as well as extended support for alumni. Coaches and mentors, working alongside students’ families, strive to create a culture that fosters greater self-efficacy and self-advocacy.

“College and career readiness is an ongoing process, beginning with interest exploration in elementary school, future-minded high school best fit in middle school and college and career exploration throughout high school,” said Em Barnes, Downtown Boxing Gym grant writer. “We are incredibly grateful to Michigan College Access Network for their support of DBG’s college and career readiness programming, and we are excited to contribute to the Sixty by 30 goal."

To learn more about MCAN’s Innovative Program Grants, visit

Funding will be used to grow college and career readiness programming.