The Wing 2 Wing Foundation supports charitable efforts that prioritize accessible education to prepare the next generation with the skills and capabilities needed to effectively compete in a digital world. Our efforts focus in the Appalachia Region where many communities, educational institutions and individuals have been disproportionately impacted by economic and technological change. We now live in a global economy, connected by the cloud with computers in the palms of our hands and at the command of our voice, powered by big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. The pace of change is occurring exponentially faster than it did just five years ago, requiring students and their communities to learn the skills and capabilities to contribute and compete in this fast-changing environment. The grand challenge is to reimagine our approach to education, with increased collaboration and partnership between communities and their local universities, community colleges, vo-tech centers and the pre-K-12 system.
In support of this effort, the Wing 2 Wing Foundation continuously tests and invests in innovative approaches and transformative ideas to chart a new course. In addition, the Foundation assists these local communities with pre-K readiness, the provision of laptops and tablets to elementary school children, the support of much-needed school supplies to public school teachers, and grants scholarships to students who are first in their families to attend college at Marshall University and the Ohio State University. In isolation, these efforts are intentional, but in aggregate the objective is to be transformational as we partner with leading educators to prepare our youth for the 21st Century.
The Wing 2 Wing Foundation strives to transform “the seventy-five percent reality” that exists in many rural communities throughout Appalachia into amazing opportunity. The seventy-five percent reality reminds us that seventy five percent of net new jobs are created in start-ups; seventy-five percent of the emerging generation seeks to start or own their own business; yet seventy-five percent of venture capital investments tend to go to three states – California, New York and Massachusetts. While passion and talent are equally distributed, opportunity historically is not.
The Appalachia Mountains were settled by the most rugged pioneers, known as Mountaineers. These individuals chose to blaze trails instead of follow paths – the very stuff that makes a successful entrepreneur. The Wing 2 Wing Foundation’s goal is to infuse the most advanced entrepreneurial techniques from the Silicon Valley into K-12, vocational, technical, and collegiate classrooms to build these modern entrepreneurial skillsets, creating durable competitive advantage and transforming West Virginia and the surrounding Appalachia Region into a start-up hub for the future.
Efforts include incorporating design thinking, rapid prototyping and experiential learning throughout the education system through novel approaches such as science adventure camps and business plan competitions. Successful participants gain knowledge and access to investment funds, including visits to the most forward leaning companies in the Silicon Valley while receiving coaching from some of the foremost innovators in the world. The Foundation also supports innovation hubs and incubators that serve as resource destinations for local entrepreneurs and business students to access mentorship and collaborative spaces to develop prototypes and connect with the investment community. In addition, The Foundation funds a signature “remote worker” program that welcomes those who actively participate in the 21st Century economy to relocate to West Virginia and call it their home. In doing so, they gain access to the world’s most amazing mountains, hiking trails, rock climbing, white water rapids, skiing and other outdoor adventures, while bringing their jobs, their talents and their families to build the foundation for the next chapter together. In aggregate, these efforts are designed to develop, attract and retain the next generation of entrepreneurs to West Virginia – “The Start-Up State”.
The Wing 2 Wing Foundation believes nature is a good bet, and it is a necessary bet. Our Foundation supports those who find, fund and grow teams that catalyze planet-positive programs and initiatives. This is critical to our mission in Appalachia, as industrial bases shift from historical uses of our natural resources to more planet-positive methods. In addition, Appalachia possesses unparalleled natural beauty that provides ample opportunity for outdoor recreation, attracting 21st Century talent who seek new adventures while serving as catalysts for new sources of economic growth.
In support of our objectives to further the development of economic opportunity in Appalachia while preserving and restoring the natural environment, our Foundation invests in companies who have made the planet a priority, deliver a 10X breakthrough in results and can profitably scale their business.
In conjunction with West Virginia University, we also champion the Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative. This effort invests in programs and initiatives to provide the infrastructure and access to enjoy the State’s natural assets, strengthening the communities and the local economy. The Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative inspires the desire to learn science, technology, engineering, arts and math through experiential learning programs such as the science adventure camp, teaching young minds the skills needed to contribute and compete in the new economy while instilling a sense of pride for their home state. It also serves as the anchor to the State’s signature remote worker program, welcoming those who actively participate in the 21st Century economy to relocate to West Virginia and call it their home. In doing so, they gain access to the world’s most amazing mountains, hiking trails, rock climbing, white water rapids, skiing and other outdoor adventures, while bringing their jobs, their talents and their families to build the foundation for the next chapter together.