Wow, our first year is in the books. As the co-founder and Executive Director of TechEquity, I feel extremely humbled by the work our members have done to build a tech-driven economy in the Bay Area that works for everyone. As we wrap up the year and start looking forward to doing big things in 2018 (check out our plans on housing advocacy here) I wanted to take a moment to round up five accomplishments from our first year.
- Over 700 tech workers pledged to take action to ensure the region’s economy is creating broad-based opportunity rather than driving inequality and displacement. At a time when the public narrative around tech’s role in our democracy and our economy is under scrutiny, the fact that so many of us are willing to step up and stand for something different is extremely hopeful.
- We won our first campaign. Working as part of the Our Beloved Communities Action Network, we got the City of Oakland to include $2.2m in its budget for anti-displacement services (housing counseling, legal representation, and emergency rental assistance). This was up from $0 which the City had initially allocated. Thanks to all our members who called and wrote their council people to help make this happen.
- Seven hundred people attended our events. We learned a lot about the region’s economy this year, especially how the economy is experienced by people who are struggling the most. We talked about the connection between transit policy and housing policy, the unique challenges formerly incarcerated people face in getting a foothold in the economy, and the “missing middle” among other things. We’re really looking forward to continuing — and expanding — our event series in 2018.
- We launched our housing platform. We laid out the principles that will guide our work on this complicated and politically fraught topic. Our balance of the need to build new housing with the need to protect vulnerable communities has won praise from housing experts and advocates and we’re looking forward to advocating for policy that reinforces these principles next year.
- Dozens of members signed up to be matched with nonprofit boards. We trained dozens of our members on what it takes to serve on a nonprofit board and then matched them with organizations looking for board members. We facilitated at least six conversations and are looking forward to expanding this program next year.
As I reflect on the work we’ve done this year, I’m both satisfied with our progress and hungry to do even more. In 2018 we will be doing more advocacy work, expanding our events series (including our book club and adding things like candidate forums), launching new programs in our workforce development focus area, and getting tech companies on board with our agenda.
In order to do this work, we need you. If you work in tech and want to be part of the solution, join us today.
See you all in 2018!