Meet the ten social impact organizations we’re making philanthropic investments to level the playing field in tech
By Sergio Rosas & Lili Gangas
We know first hand how challenging — yet crucial — it is to build place-based initiatives aimed at building a local inclusive tech ecosystem. This requires community investment. This is why back in March the Kapor Center announced the launch of our $1M Tech Done Right (TDR) Challenge grant competition. The Challenge identified organizations who are building a more diverse and inclusive tech economy locally and nationally.
We know that funding opportunities in tech inclusion are limited, and we intended the Tech Done Right Challenge to serve as a growth catalyst for equitable representation and is funding organizations with gap-closing solutions to the “leaks” in the Tech Pipeline.
The idea was to leverage the aspects of tech that enable innovation — passion, creativity, and new ideas — and apply these to social impact work. A crucial part of the Challenge focused on finding solutions that embrace lean startup approaches through prototypes, experimentation, and iteration through public and private sector collaborations. The Challenge asked organizations to answer:
What is your innovative solution to build a diverse and thriving inclusive tech ecosystem in your community?
All told, more than 120 applications from 48 U.S. cities were submitted, focusing on interventions at the Post-Secondary, Tech Workforce, and Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital segments. The ten award winners come from a range of locations across the Midwest, the South, and from both coasts. All of the winning organizations focus on increasing representation of underrepresented people of color in our tech economy via tech talent or entrepreneurship/venture capital programs.
After an extensive internal and external evaluation process, we are proud to share the winning organizations with you today!
Each organization will receive a $100,000 grant to implement their innovative solution. Over the next year, we will work via a cohort model with these organizations, gathering insights about inclusive tech ecosystem building. As a collective, we will share learnings so that together, we transform tech for good.
We hope to see other funders join this movement of prioritizing funding organizations from overlooked cities, teams with overlooked lived experiences, and programs with overlooked promise.
We know that systemic change is beyond just a few stakeholders. Transformation requires all of us as individuals, organizations, government, and funders to work together to build systems that work for everyone. Let’s continue the work leading with more urgency and intersectionality. The marathon continues.
And here they are, the ten Tech Done Right Challenge Winners!
You can read about the winning organizations and their respective focus cities for implementing innovative solutions to diversify the technology industry here and learn more about the organizations below:
By building a tool that controls for biases in hiring practices, Baltimore Corps is repairing the leaky pipeline for people of color and women seeking placement in the tech field. This tool will serve stakeholders across Baltimore’s tech ecosystem to mitigate systemic barriers, including the lack of social capital and networks.
Los Angeles, CA
The L.A. Tech Talent Pipeline (“LATTP”) tackles income inequality by connecting Angelenos to opportunity in tech. LATTP seeks to scale its impact as a regional backbone, catalyzing partners and investing in capacity to solve talent shortages in the local tech ecosystem. LATTP is focused on connecting diverse talent from 29 Community Colleges to high-growth jobs in tech.
blackcomputeHER Data Science Executives
Black Women in Science and Engineering (BWISE) and blackcomputeHER are tackling the data science talent gap. Pathways to and incorporating data science are supported through a cohort-based structure, that offers data science trainings, coaching and peer mentoring activities, targeting professional Black women. Our initiative intends to help community members achieve their data science-based goals and increase the number of Black women in data science.
Byte Back will provide an inclusive on-ramp to living-wage careers in tech for diverse and systemically excluded adults — predominantly women, people of color, and those who are unemployed. Free training will guide learners from no digital skills to a career. Byte Back will convene stakeholders in order to scale a cross-sector industry partnership that facilitates pathways into tech for program participants.
Albuquerque, NM, Austin, TX, & Pittsburgh, PA
Generation Titans is using an immersive, tech-enabled approach to launch a series of funding vehicles for entrepreneurs of color that are clustered by community and industry. This online accelerator is rooted in placed-based partnerships, experiential storytelling, data and market insights, and resource exchanges. Through innovative learning methods and a collective impact focus, Generation Titans seeks to increase the number of founders of color in tech.
The Intentionally Good Project is a 12-month collective impact program which unifies Atlanta’s tech and social impact ecosystems to intentionally push Metro Atlanta’s best multicultural and social impact startups toward profitability. The program convenes multiple stakeholders and industry to reduce customer acquisition costs through connections to strategic corporate partners for pilots as well as to social media influencers for awareness.
HBCUvc seeks to prototype our venture capital clinic, also known as a “teaching venture capital firm.” The clinic has a dual purpose of teaching venture capital through experiential learning at majority Black, Latinx, and Afro-Latinx universities (i.e., HBCUs and HSIs) while investing in entrepreneurs from these same communities. Our goal is to increase the number of funded startups led by people of color by increasing the number of people of color investing in startups.
Oakland Codes, a collaboration between the David E. Glover Emerging Technology Center, Hack the Hood, Hidden Genius Project, and Youth Impact Hub Oakland, will build a digital careers platform for our collective of young adults, tech industry volunteers, and tech companies within LinkedIn. The platform will allow us to track alumni through our programs and provide an engagement & accountability system for tech companies and employees to showcase their work towards workforce diversity.
Project United Knowledge
Kansas City, MO
In today’s age of business, technology, logic-based skills and coding are becoming increasingly in demand across job markets. At ProjectUK, our Karatu program teaches founders the key skills for business validation, product development, UI/UX design skills, and app development, all while preparing for success in the professional world. Our goal is to facilitate pathways into tech entrepreneurship by leveraging our collective networks and unifying data and metrics across our ecosystem.
The Knowledge House
To build a diverse and thriving inclusive tech ecosystem in the Bronx, TKH supports young technologists through a partnership initiative called the Bronx Digital Pipeline (BxDP). Our collective goal is to place 1,500 graduates in tech jobs earning more than $55,000 by 2027. To do so, we will convene stakeholders across the spectrum, including employers, educational institutions, training providers, and policy makers to ensure we have clear and concise pathways into tech jobs with resources targeted to each aspect of the leaky tech pipeline. BxDP will partner with Bloc on improving BxDP’s data infrastructure with enhanced data collection processes and tools driving higher job placements for students.
Congratulations to each of these awardees! To learn more about our winners, please visit: https://techdoneright.kaporcenter.org/winners/