The Phoenix Re-Affiliates, Partners with CrossFit to Build Community Center in Detroit

September 28, 2020 by
Courtesy of The Phoenix: (
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After the Greg Glassman scandal last spring, Scott Strode didn’t waste any time to pull the trigger on disaffiliation. He promptly removed the CrossFit name from his five affiliates that operate under the Phoenix, a non-profit that provides fitness to thousands recovering from substance use disorder.

  • “It was really heartbreaking for us because so many people in our program have benefited from CrossFit. We have served more than 10,000 people,” said Strode, the founder of the Phoenix. “You often hear people say how CrossFit has changed their lives, but for those in recovery, you often hear them say, ‘CrossFit saved my life.’”

Still, at the time Strode saw no other option but to disaffiliate.

Four months later: Impressed by the changes CrossFit LLC has made in recent months, Strode decided to rethink his relationship with CrossFit.

The result: After a call with new owner Eric Roza, Strode decided not just to re-affiliate his five gyms, but also to partner with CrossFit and launch a CrossFit Community Center in the heart of Detroit. They’re hoping to open within the next three to four months, Strode said.

The details: The Phoenix will operate the community center, where they will provide their free classes to those in recovery. And on their end, CrossFit has committed to providing funding and coaching certifications, Strode explained.  

  • “CrossFit is also going to help connect us to the CrossFit community in the greater Detroit area…And we’re also really hoping to get other non-profits involved. We want other non-profits to be able to use the center for whatever special population they serve. It’s going to be a really special kind of box,” Strode said.
  • Strode hasn’t wasted any time. He is already in talks with various non-profits, including the Detroit Recovery Project, Steve’s Club, the Travis Manion Foundation and ULiftU, and is hoping to connect with other non-profits in the Detroit region before they open their doors.

One big thing: While the Phoenix has five physical CrossFit locations around the United States, the non-profit actually offers various fitness programs and sports — from Yoga to Olympic weightlifting to rock climbing, to hiking and boxing — in 50 communities throughout the country.

  • “Historically you had to own an affiliate in every location where you offered CrossFit,” Strode explained, which is why he only has five locations, as opposed to 50.
  • “But we’re hoping through our collaboration with CrossFit, we’ll be able to offer CrossFit in other communities…That’s our dream. To keep expanding and to offer CrossFit in all the places where the Phoenix has programs.”

The big picture: Roza was one of the main reasons Strode decided to re-affiliate and partner with CrossFit.

  • “We had a great conversation with Roza about his philosophy around diversity, equality and inclusion. It’s something he’s really committed to and those things are also our north stars,” Strode said.
  • He added: “I know that he’s really committed to changing some of the unhealthy cultures within the organization, and he’s committed to making CrossFit more accessible to underserved communities, just like what we’re trying to build in Detroit. It will go a long way in helping solve chronic health issues people in inner city communities often face, and will let us continue to help those recovering from substance abuse (disorder).”

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