For years Bridge School community organizers, staff, and other volunteers have put in thousands of hours of work to build an organization that focusses on positive direct impact for women, agender, and non-binary workers in tech. We did good work together, and saw incredible results. We came far in a short period of time, but unfortunately as of this week we will be pausing our operations indefinitely.
Like many community-built organizations, burnout was common among our ranks long before the pandemic, but it ran through our community rapidly and at all levels once the pandemic hit. We even wrote about a lack of sustainability and its impact on the mental and physical health of those in the organization back in 2018. We made a commitment to ourselves and the community at that time, but we didn’t uphold it. Here’s a screenshot from that 2018 post:
Over the years, we’ve prided ourselves on holding Bridge’s programming and operations to the absolute highest standard. Students, volunteers, and corporate sponsors all saw the results of this thoughtfulness and hard work in our curriculum and delivery and we were all collectively thrilled to see Bridge succeed.
But for the organizing team behind the scenes, the incessant long nights, constant uncertainty, days spent workshopping and brainstorming, the back to back pitches and exploratory chats, the endless curriculum rewrites, the inevitable missteps and wrong directions and all the other difficulties running a small but ambitious non-profit seemed mandatory to push through. With every success, we set the bar higher, never stopping.
Even as we started to see our team individually succumb to (and yet still push through) terrible physical effects of this work we still thought, “someone has to do it”. In our desire to give as much as we could as often as we could, we entered the pandemic “running on empty”, and everyone reading this knows the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing stress and anxiety on everyday life. The combination has shown us that we cannot risk the physical and mental health of even one Bridge organizer any longer.
So, while this is goodbye for now, we hope to see Bridge’s inspiring community of volunteers and alumni stay connected, and wherever we can we will give everything we’ve learned to them. Bridge has always been community built and community defined. To that end, we’ll continue to provide a space for our community to connect, meet up online, share, offer and ask for help when needed, and we’ll provide them with all of our (already open source) content to use however they find useful. We’ve already seen our graduates go on to lead and serve as inspirations to many others and we look forward to helping them where we can as we wind down operations.
For now, you can read what we had planned to do in 2020–2023, and watch this short video that explains Bridge’s model and reason for being, in the hopes that perhaps it will inspire others to give, sustainably, where they can in the future.
Thank you so much to all of our alumni, volunteers, supporters, partners, friends and family who got us through to today. We’ll always have what we built together.
— the Bridge team