Feb 06, 2024EntrepreneurshipArticle

Looking Back at the Wing 2 Wing Foundation’s 2023 Accomplishments

The Wing 2 Wing Foundation has worked to create equal opportunities in Appalachia since its establishment in 2019. Now in its fourth year of work, Wing 2 Wing has continued to find new ways to uplift the people of West Virginia and bolster the state’s continued development.

Championing West Virginia at the Inaugural Almost Heaven Classic

In early June 2023, the foundation supported Mountaineer Media’s Almost Heaven Classic as a high-level sponsor. More than 250 West Virginians attended the inaugural two-day professional summit and golf tournament. Wing 2 Wing co-founder Brad D. Smith, along with other local business leaders, also participated in a panel discussion to highlight the state’s burgeoning economic development.

Alys Smith Debuts Women Warriors Summit

Wing 2 Wing also supported the Women Warriors Summit — created by Wing 2 Wing co-founder, Alys Smith. The summit aimed to amplify women’s voices through workshops centered around holding difficult conversations in both personal and professional settings. The 700-plus attendees also heard a panel discussion hosted by Soledad O’Brien, inspiring speeches by Nicole Kidman and Emily Gregory, and opening and closing remarks from Alys.

Celebrating West Virginia’s Current and Future Work Force

Ascend West Virginia, one of Wing 2 Wing’s largest initiatives, celebrated two years of assisting remote workers make the move to the Mountain State in 2023. Ascend WV also launched a new spinoff program: First Ascent. Aiming to keep recent graduates of Marshall University and West Virginia University (WVU) in the state, First Ascent provides participants with professional support as they establish their careers amidst West Virginia’s natural wonders.

Rhetoric Added to Wing 2 Wing’s Venture Portfolio

The foundation also added Rhetoric, a legal technology startup, to the Wing 2 Wing ventures portfolio. Founded by West Virginia native and WVU alum Luke Yingling, Rhetoric utilizes artificial intelligence to assist litigators improve their chances for success in court.

Progress in Reflection

Reflecting on the foundation’s work in 2023 showcases West Virginia’s progress and immense, untapped potential. From uplifting local entrepreneurs to helping the next generation enter the “real world,” Wing 2 Wing stands firm in its commitment to uplifting Appalachians.

Learn more about the Wing 2 Wing Foundation and its priorities here.