The Wood Family Foundation (WFF) was established by former Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood and his wife Sarah in 2011 with the broad founding vision of improving the lives of Chicago children and inspiring others to join in this honorable mission. In its early years, WFF focused primarily on sponsoring one-time initiatives like coat drives, holiday gift programs, and baseball clinics, and funded external projects such as a playroom at Lurie Children’s Hospital and a four-year college scholarship.
As the team became more deeply aware of the challenges facing the families it served, it was clear we needed to move toward more sustained, direct involvement. After piloting a few community-based program iterations, the WFF Board of Directors decided to develop an after-school mentoring program in 2014 – called Pitch In – at Lawndale Community Academy (LCA) in the North Lawndale neighborhood, and served 4th graders in our first year there. Since 2014, we have extended Pitch In to a new grade level at LCA every year, and now support 4th-8th graders. Additionally, in Fall 2018 we launched our second Pitch In site at Richard Yates Elementary School. We are currently serving 4th graders there, and working hand-in-hand with school leadership to build a collaborative vision of long-term success at Yates.