WINGS Receives Support From Ballmer Group and W.K. Kellogg Foundation to Elevate SEL

WINGS for Kids Receives Support from Ballmer Group and W.K. Kellogg Foundation to Elevate Social Emotional Learning

Charleston, S.C. – February 1, 2018 – WINGS for Kids, a leader and expert in social emotional learning (SEL) in the afterschool space, announced today two new grants from Ballmer Group and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The funding will support the organization’s innovative training models and programming that builds social emotional skills in children and adults.

“Through these grants, we can extend the reach of our program to serve more kids and educators nationwide in proven and innovative ways.” – Bridget Laird, CEO

“Research shows that SEL is critical to the success of all kids, especially those from vulnerable communities,” said Bridget Laird, chief executive officer of WINGS. “Through these grants, we can extend the reach of our program to serve more kids and educators nationwide in proven and innovative ways.”

Ballmer Group’s $75,000 grant supports WINGS’ partnership program with Pomona Unified School District (PUSD) in California. Through the partnership, WINGS works with PUSD’s district-wide afterschool program, The Learning Connection (TLC), to provide SEL-focused training, coaching, and hands-on support for TLC leadership and staff in 17 schools.

Three-year, $500,000 support from the Kellogg Foundation will fund a new in-school SEL training model at five elementary schools in Charlotte, N.C. WINGS will provide intensive, schoolwide teacher professional development based on their proven approach for afterschool professionals. The training focuses on the critical step of helping educators understand and hone their own social emotional skills and practices so they can deliver high-quality SEL to students. Pairing WINGS’ effective afterschool programming and adult training in the classroom supports a school climate and culture where SEL can thrive.

There is a deep connection between what WINGS kids learn during the program and how it influences their behavior in the classroom. Research and external evaluations show that WINGS kids have better behavior, are more likely to exhibit empathy, show improved executive function, and have stronger self-management skills than non-WINGS kids in the same classrooms.

These social emotional competencies are especially critical for the at-risk children that WINGS serves, many of whom live in low-income neighborhoods and face significant challenges outside of school. By supporting adults in developing their own social and emotional skills and creating a strong SEL culture, WINGS and trained educators can help kids build their inner strength and better cope with trauma. Data from WINGS’ programs in Charleston, S.C., also shows notable positive impact on students’ chronic absenteeism and discipline referrals—two key issues that prevent young people from succeeding in school and can lead to a higher likelihood of dropping out of high school.

WINGS currently serves more than 1,800 kids from vulnerable communities in California, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina through direct-service, partnership, and the new in-school program models. WINGS gives kids in grades K-5 the life lessons they need to succeed and be happy. By providing kids with a safe environment to better understand their feelings and caring adults who serve as role models and mentors, WINGS helps kids thrive despite the challenges they face every day

About Ballmer Group

Ballmer Group envisions a country in which every child, regardless of background and circumstance, has an equal chance to achieve the American Dream. Ballmer Group supports efforts to improve economic mobility for children and families in the United States who are disproportionately likely to remain in poverty.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit