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Detroit philanthropist makes 2017 Top 10 CNN Heroes

Nonprofit aims to 'transform lives through education'

Khali Sweeney, Downtown Boxing Gym founder and CEO
Khali Sweeney, Downtown Boxing Gym founder and CEO


DETROIT – Khali Sweeney, a Detroit native who is helping the children from the communities he grew up in, has made it into 2017 Top 10 CNN Heroes – and has a chance to win $100,000.

For the past 11 years, Top CNN Heroes has been bringing attention to the everyday people who are changing the world for the better. On Sunday, Dec. 17, Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa will be hosting The 11th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute to recognize and commend the honorees. 

Sweeney, founder of Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym, has been included in this year’s honorees. His nonprofit Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program mentors approximately 100 high-risk children between 8 and 18 in athletic activities and education tutoring a week. Children involved in his free program have a 100% high school graduation rate and 98% have gone on to college. A fleet of vans safely transport children to and from the gym five days a week.

"It is truly an honor to be among the CNN Heroes Top 10 and to be recognized for the work we are doing to transform lives through education, enrichment, athletics and mentorship,” said Sweeney. “We are proud of our books before boxing program - and our 100% high school graduation rate since 2007. But, there is so much more work to be done. Right now, there are 850 students on our waiting list. We will not rest until we can make a difference in their lives, too. The work we are doing not only impacts our students and their families - it has a positive impact on our community, the city of Detroit, and the world.”

Supporters can vote daily at CNNHeroes.com by logging in with email or Facebook, as well as on Facebook Messenger by messaging VOTE to the CNN Heroes Facebook page. Viewers can vote up to 10 times a day, per method, every day through Tuesday, Dec. 12, at midnight PT. 

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