Pitch In Program

Our History

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 where we are currently serving 4th-5th graders. In Fall 2019 we launched our 3rd and 4th Pitch In Sites at Bernhard Moos Elementary and Charles Sumner Math and Science Community Academy.

Our Model

The Pitch In after-school program fosters high-quality mentoring relationships between supportive adults and our students and provides exposure to important enrichment experiences to ensure that students develop the mindsets necessary to scale the critical transition between middle and high school successfully.

The Pitch In model leverages a strong social-emotional curriculum, a group mentoring model, exposure to unique enrichment experiences, monthly school-based Family Dinners, and 8th grade peer mentorship so that our students build the academic and leadership skills that drive success in high school and beyond. Weekly, classes of 20-25 students convene with their Pitch In families – including full-time team members and adult mentors – to build leadership skills, improve grades, build self-advocacy, and prepare for the transition to high school.
Learn more about our Pitch In Mentors.





By choosing to Pitch In, you will help 4th-8th grade middle school students reach their full potential. Donations will provide students with school and arts supplies, healthy after school snacks, educational workbooks, monthly family dinners, and other various materials needed for students to succeed. Gifts of any amount will help us support our students and families.  Together We Win.