Wings for Kids wins grant to heighten social emotional learning

  • Tuesday, July 23, 2013

WINGS for kids, the nation’s only program to offer a Social Emotional Learning curriculum in an after-school setting, has been awarded a three-year investment of up to $2.5 million from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF). The grant consists of funding from EMCF and the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF). With this investment, WINGS for kids seeks to expand to 16 schools in four communities in the next three years.

WINGS for kids (www.wingsforkids.org) was chosen in an open, national competition that drew 191 applicants from leading nonprofit organizations nationwide. EMCF relied on a rigorous, in-depth process of due diligence to identify promising programs with the potential to improve the prospects of economically disadvantaged youth aged nine to 24.

Founded 17 years ago in Charleston, WINGS has developed a proven methodology for bringing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to elementary students. Currently offered in six schools (four in Charleston and two in Atlanta, Ga.), WINGS works with children identified by teachers and others as needing extra help. At the end of every school day, the children report to WINGS where they work in small groups with WINGSLeaders (college-aged mentors) for 15 hours a week, learning to control emotions, empathize with others, avoid peer pressure, identify feelings and experience joy.

With the EMCF grant, WINGS will be part of The True North Fund, an innovative public/private partnership of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Social Innovation Fund and institutional and individual philanthropic co-investors. The True North Fund brings together the capital that nonprofits - with strong evidence of their programs’ effectiveness and poised to expand significantly - required to make an impact on the lives of more young people. In establishing The True North Fund, EMCF is leveraging its role as a SIF intermediary to draw greater philanthropic support for WINGS; demonstrating how public and private dollars can be aggregated to help effective organizations attain greater impact and scale and building a stronger body of evidence about “what works” to help youth succeed in life.

This (EMCF SIF) grant is the first of a series of investments WINGS needs to implement a growth plan, currently in development, that will expand the program in up to 16 schools across four communities in South Carolina and Georgia, as well as undertake further evaluation of its model to understand its effectiveness

The name of the fund reflects the inspiration EMCF believes WINGS and this funding model can provide in helping the nation’s most economically disadvantaged young people overcome obstacles, discover a sense of purpose and steer a course to productive, independent, successful adulthood.

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