National Competition Selected Programs With Potential to Help America’s Low-Income Youth Reach Productive Adulthood


NEW YORK, NY – 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 ( 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 9 to 24.


Founded 17 years ago in Charleston, SC, 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 SC and GA, 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.


About the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation:


The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation seeks to transform the life trajectories of vulnerable and economically disadvantaged youth. The Foundation makes large, long-term investments, frequently partnering with other funders, and promotes effective public and private support of nonprofits with a potential for growth and compelling evidence that they can help more young people become successful, productive adults. It aims to help develop a growing pool of organizations that serve thousands more youth each year with proven programs. For more information on EMCF, visit


About the Social Innovation Fund (SIF):


The Social Innovation Fund, an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), focuses on overcoming challenges confronting low-income Americans in three areas of priority need: economic opportunity, health and youth development. The SIF, established by Congress in 2010 through the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, uses private intermediaries like EMCF to be a catalyst for social impact and applies public and private resources to find and grow community-based nonprofits with evidence of strong results.


The Corporation for National and Community Service engages more than 5 million Americans in service each year. For more information on the Social Innovation Fund, visit