Community Support is the Lifeblood of Non-Profits

As we come up on 18 months since we opened our doors to welcome members to Underdogs Boxing Club, we have much to celebrate.

We’ve run three successful sessions of Shape Your Life, our boxing program for women-identified and non-binary survivors of violence. We saw the women in this program thrive and flourish over the course of each program. Some were able to reduce medications (under their doctor’s supervision); some were able to find the confidence to seek other supports in their healing journey; some were able to work through more of their healing journey with the benefit of a physical outlet for their pain; and all were able to learn to re-connect their mind and body.

We have a robust youth program made up of nearly twenty 10- to 14-year-old girls, boys, and non-binary youth whose parents have all talked about the improvements in their confidence and self-esteem, as well as many of whom have benefited from having a physical outlet for their anxiety, stress, or to burn excess energy.

We have more than 70 adult members who range in age from 16 to 72; who are cis and trans women, cis and trans men, or non-binary individuals; who are at the top of their athletic game or who have various health issues (cancer, heart conditions, etc.) or chronic injuries; who have all spoken of the physical and mental health benefits of the workouts and our approach to coaching at Underdogs.

We have received recognition in the community through winning the 2017 Innovate Niagara Social Enterprise Pitch People’s Choice Award; the 2018 GNCC Ignite Niagara People’s Choice Award; and our founder, Laura Ip, being named a finalist in the GNCC’s 2018 Women in Business Awards; and being included in the CCPA’s 2019 report Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada.

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Over the course of 18 months, we have remained entirely volunteer-run, the most affordable boxing club or combat sports gym in the Niagara region, and we’ve provided a number of youth and adult memberships to people experiencing poverty at a significantly reduced rate, as we are well aware of the benefits of boxing to someone’s health and well-being. The ability to participate means one is more likely to be well enough (physically and mentally) to seek or maintain employment, take good care of their family, and participate in the wider community.

All of this, though, comes with its challenges in our efforts to keep the gym open and the lights and heat (or A/C) on.

Non-profits struggle to survive without community support. Presently, we are extremely fortunate and grateful to have the support of CUPE 4207, Lancaster, Brooks & Welch, Beechwood Doughnuts, and Best Sports, but we need more help if we are going to be able to continue to offer the Shape Your Life program (there are no granting opportunities open at present and we have a waiting list); memberships to youth and adult members who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate; and stay affordable in general terms.

Can you help?

If you own a business, we have a sponsorship program already in place, which includes the following levels and recognition:


And we’re also launching a program for individuals, businesses, service clubs, or community groups to sponsor members and participants.

If you would like your contribution to directly support someone’s participation at Underdogs, you can:

  • Sponsor a youth member for six months at $175

  • Sponsor a youth member for one year at $350

  • Sponsor an adult member for six months at $300

  • Sponsor an adult member for one year at $600

  • Sponsor a Shape Your Life participant at $1,500 (this includes access to a trauma counsellor during the sessions, snacks, transportation, funds for childcare)

While we are not eligible for charitable status, sponsorships can be written off under marketing or advertising budgets for businesses and, in every case, you will be provided with a receipt from Underdogs Boxing Club.

If you would like to support Underdogs Boxing Club as an individual, but aren’t able to contribute an amount listed above, you can certainly make a contribution toward one of those pieces, and we’ll note it in our database.

Every individual, business, service club, or community group that donates to this program to sponsor members or participants will have their name included on a Donor page on our website (unless they’d like to remain anonymous), and - if there is an associated website - a link will be included.

There is no question that Underdogs Boxing Club is making a positive contribution to the community and that working out at Underdogs is having a significant positive impact on Underdogs members and participants.

Can you help ensure that more people have access? Please get in touch with Laura at to discuss how you can help or contribute. Or simply make a contribution here:

Thank you for any support you can offer.

Laura Ip