ShareProgress: "Our 2014 Progressive Giving Report"

As part of our commitment to being a progressive company, ShareProgress donates one percent of our annual revenue to various progressive, nonprofit organizations. The organizations we support are selected by members of the ShareProgress staff (one organization per person), and the donations are equally divided between each selected organization. This year, we selected five different organizations to support. The organizations are listed below, along with a quick rundown of what each one does, and why our staff chose to support them.

CODE2040

What they do: CODE2040 works to close the opportunity gap often encountered by Black and Latino/a technologist who have the skills but not the network to procure technology jobs. They do this by focusing on three areas: experience, connections, and skills building. They believe that by providing black and Latino/a talent access to these core elements, students will thrive (not just survive) in the tech industry. They provide those experiences, skills, and connections through their Fellows Program, Technical Applicant Prep, and Entrepreneur in Residence.  CODE2040’s flagship program is their summer Fellows Program, which places high performing Black and Latino/a software engineering students in internships with top tech companies.  While working in the internships, students receive leadership coaching and network-building guidance from CODE2040 staff and volunteers through workshops.

Why Jim chose them: There are so many exciting things happening in the tech world these days, but it’s frustrating to see the lack of diversity within the developer community. I’m inspired by the work that organizations like CODE2040 are doing to bring talent from under-represented communities into this space, which I believe will ultimately lead to a stronger and more socially-conscious technology sector.

Learn morehttp://www.code2040.org

 

 

FastCompany: "CAN INTEL SOLVE TECH'S DIVERSITY PROBLEM?"

Standing before a large crowd at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich laid out the company’s plan to change the future of technology. He debuted a 3-D printer that’s 10 times faster than any of the others on the market. He chatted with the CEO of iRobot, who rolled onto the stage via a teleconferencing automaton that flaunted Intel’s new emotion-detecting cameras. Then he closed his keynote with a plan that might prove far more challenging than either of those other ­innovations: Over the next five years, Intel plans to invest $300 million in something called the "diversity in technology initiative," which will aim to bring the company’s workforce to "full representation" by 2020.

Clarion call: The Rev. Jesse Jackson spotlighted tech’s diversity issue last year at Hewlett-Packard’s shareholders meeting.Photo: Matt Rourke, AP Photo

"It’s time to step up and do more," Krzanich said. "It’s not just good enough to say we value diversity and then have our workplaces and our industry not reflect the full availability and talent pool of women and underrepresented minorities."

Krzanich’s announcement was met with great applause, and rightly so. Silicon Valley companies have been subject to sharp criticism and scrutiny over their lack of racial and gender diversity, and pressured by activists such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson to disclose their employee figures to the public. The industry’s dismal numbers—for example, just 24% of Intel’s workforce is female (although Renée James is the chipmaker’s president), 8% is Hispanic or Latino, and 3.5% is black or African-American—has led to healthy debate over the past 12 months, inside and outside the Valley, on where to even start closing the gap. Apple, the most valuable company in the world, recently announced a $50 million grant to cultivate more computer engineers at historically black colleges. But the hefty figure that Intel pledged—which is really a drop in the bucket (like Apple’s), considering its record 2014 revenue of $56 billion—does have symbolic value: Here was Intel, the company that commoditized the microprocessor that forms the innovation bedrock of Silicon Valley, ­stepping up and vowing to once again transform the technology industry, this time through diversity.

"Intel’s pledge is probably the most exciting thing to happen so far," says Laura Weidman Powers, cofounder and CEO of Code2040, an organization that connects ­college and graduate engineering talent with tech jobs. "They said, ‘We’re going to do this by 2020.’ That is a great way to motivate folks and to hold themselves accountable."

The sizable task of heading up the initiative belongs to Rosalind Hudnell, Intel’s chief diversity officer and VP of human resources, who’s been at the company for more than 20 years. "We’re going to publish our goals and we’re going to track our progress and show all of you," says Hudnell. "Forget tech—who else has said that?"

And yet, when I speak with Hudnell a few weeks after the announcement, she has few details to reveal. That’s because Intel doesn’t yet have a solid plan for how or where the funds will be spent. Hudnell explains that much of the money will go ­toward building more diverse hiring teams that might lure a wider range of job candidates. But the one thing she is explicit about is which part of the talent pool Intel is focusing on. "We have always set our goal against full market availability," she says. Intel will home in on high-skills minorities who will graduate in the next half decade, like high school AP students and collegians headed toward engineering. "We’re not going to drive incremental improvements that might take us another decade or 15 years," she says, then invokes a golf metaphor. "I would call it the short game."

Intel’s pledge puts it far ahead of its cohort. But when it comes to funneling more minorities into tech, will five years and $300 million be enough to make a significant dent? The "short game" approach isn’t reassuring.

[FULL STORY ON FASTCOMPANY]

Atlanta Daily: "Ford Motor Freedom Fund dinner celebrates technopreneurs at Charles Wright"

The Ford Motor Company in conjunction with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, celebrated its commitment to innovation with its 17th Annual Ford Freedom Awards, which celebrated the achievements of past and present technology entrepreneurs.

The theme of the evening was Celebrating Technopreneurs: Builders of the Innovation Economy.

They paid homage to the achievements of three entrepreneurs who used technology to affect change: Ford Freedom Honoree Elijah McCoy, inventor; Ford Freedom Award Scholar, Laura Weidman Powers, founder of CODE2040; and special Legacy Award recipients Mitch Kapor, Lotus 1-2-3 developer, and his wife, Freada Kapor Klein, entrepreneur and social activist.

“At Ford, we recognize the power of innovation and technology and the impact it has on making our lives better,” said Ziad Ojakli, group vice president, government and community relations, Ford Motor Company. “We are proud to honor these diverse individuals for their pioneering work, and we further salute them for sparking the imagination of our youth.”

The Ford Freedom Award honoree is a distinguished African American who dedicated his or her life to improving the African American community and the world at large. The award is presented posthumously.

The Ford Freedom Award scholar is an African American who has excelled on a national or international level in their field. The scholar serves as a living legacy, carrying forth high ideals, and serving as inspiration for a new generation.

Take Laura Weidman Powers, who was a graduate student, studying youth development and the arts when someone suggested to her in 2009 that she apply for an internship at a tech company.

“I did it and fell in love with it,” Powers said.

From there she discovered that technology is an industry that encompasses everything that you do. She also discovered that there were few women and people of color studying or working in the field.

Seeing the need for action, Powers started CODE2040 in 2012, an organization that works in multiple ways to connect college students to high-demand tech jobs.

The organization helps to provide fellowship opportunities in Silicon Valley for Blacks and Latinos in engineering. CODE2040 takes its name from the year when ethnic minorities are expected to represent the majority of the U.S. population. The organization is working to ensure multicultural groups are trained to fill the growing number of STEM-related jobs. She named it 2040 to mark the year that census data project people of color will be in the majority in America.

With hard work and determination, the company has grown from one person, that being her in 2012, to 15 people today, and the number of fellows in a complex career program has grown from five in 2012 to 35 this summer.

Powers’ work at CODE2040 earned her this year’s recognition as the Ford Freedom Award Scholar.

This year, the Ford Freedom Award honoree was Elijah McCoy. The son of fugitive slaves, the Michigan-raised McCoy trained as a mechanical engineer and went on to receive nearly 60 patents, many of them involving lubrication for steam engines.

One invention, an automatic lubricator, distributed oil evenly over an engine’s moving parts, allowing locomotives and other machinery to run continuously for long periods of time without pausing for maintenance. McCoy died in Detroit in 1929.

This year a special Legacy Award was given to Mitch Kapor and his wife, Freada Kapor Klein. The two were honored for their philanthropic efforts toward educational access, diversification in technology to include more Blacks and Latinos and Latinas, and also creating technological social impact in various underrepresented communities.

Currently, only 5% of the tech workforce is Black and only 18% of the people studying computer science in American universities is Black. However, analyst envision that there will be 1.4 million new jobs in technology by 2020.

“One million of those jobs will go unfilled at the rate we’re going,” Powers said. “Our fellows leave with the skills, experience, confidence and connections to succeed. Technology is in every industry. It’s in sports, music, travel. Each of these industries relies on technology to function. They all have apps. Coding is really just a computer-related way to solve a problem.”

Other notables who attended the event and presented include Detroit native Big Sean, multiplatinum-winning musician and founder of the Sean Anderson Foundation; Van Jones, founder of #YesWeCode; and Barrington Irving, founder, Flying Classroom. Lyndsey Scott, technology expert, app developer, actress and Victoria Secret model, also served as a presenter at the Ford Freedom Award VIP reception and champagne red carpet host.

“African Americans have contributed to the technological advancement of the United States since its inception, so much so that our most recent permanent exhibit, ‘Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology,’ is completely dedicated to exploring this fascinating history,” said Juanita Moore, president & CEO of The Wright Museum. “We’re proud to partner with Ford Motor Company in presenting this year’s program in a way that highlights technology and entrepreneurship – two areas very relevant to our society’s present and future.”

Proceeds from the event benefited the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, who is celebrating its 50 year anniversary.

Zack Burgess is an award winning journalist. He is the Director/Owner of OFF WOODWARD MEDIA, LLC, where he works as a writer, editor and communications specialist. His work can be seen at zackburgess.com. Twitter: @zackburgess1

Detroit Free Press: "Ford Freedom Awards focus on tech innovation"

Laura Weidman Powers was a graduate student studying youth development and the arts when someone suggested in 2009 that she apply for an internship at a tech company.

"I did it and fell in love with it," she said.

One of the things she discovered is that technology isn't one industry; it's an important facet of all industries.

She also discovered during the internship and subsequent jobs that there were few women and people of color studying or working in the field.

That's what led Powers to start CODE2040 in 2012, an organization that works in multiple ways to connect college students to high-demand tech jobs.

The company has grown from one person, herself in 2012, to 15 people today, and the number of fellows in a multifaceted career program has grown from five in 2012 to 35 this summer.

Powers' work at CODE2040 earned her this year's recognition as the Ford Freedom Award Scholar, presented Tuesday in conjunction with Ford Motor and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Powers, 32, of San Francisco, was one of several people who spoke to 1,700 metro Detroit students on Tuesday about the importance of considering technology in their future endeavors.

[FULL STORY ON DETROIT FREE PRESS]

Ford: "17TH ANNUAL FORD FREEDOM AWARD CELEBRATES TECHNOPRENEURS: BUILDERS OF THE INNOVATION ECONOMY"

DEARBORN, Mich., April 14, 2015 – Ford Motor Company is bringing its commitment to innovation to the 17thAnnual Ford Freedom Award, which next month celebrates the achievements of past and present technology entrepreneurs.

Under the theme Celebrating Technopreneurs: Builders of the Innovation Economy, Ford and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History salute the achievements of three entrepreneurs who used technology to affect change: Ford Freedom Honoree Elijah McCoy, inventor; Ford Freedom Award Scholar, Laura Weidman Powers, founder of CODE2040; and special Legacy Award recipients Mitch Kapor, Lotus 1-2-3 developer, and his wife, Freada Kapor Klein, entrepreneur and social activist.

The event takes place at 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 5, at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit. 

“At Ford, we recognize the power of innovation and technology and the impact it has on making our lives better,” said Ziad Ojakli, group vice president, government and community relations, Ford Motor Company. “We are proud to honor these diverse individuals for their pioneering work, and we further salute them for sparking the imagination of our youth.”

The Ford Freedom Award honoree is a distinguished African American who dedicated his or her life to improving the African American community and the world at large. The award is presented posthumously. The Ford Freedom Award scholar is an African American who has excelled on a national or international level in their field. The scholar serves as a living legacy, carrying forth high ideals, and serving as inspiration for a new generation.

This year, the Ford Freedom Award honoree is Elijah McCoy. The son of fugitive slaves, the Michigan-raised McCoy trained as a mechanical engineer and went on to receive nearly 60 patents, many of them involving lubrication for steam engines. One invention, an automatic lubricator, distributed oil evenly over an engine's moving parts, allowing locomotives and other machinery to run continuously for long periods of time without pausing for maintenance. McCoy died in Detroit in 1929. 

The 2015 Ford Freedom Award scholar is Laura Weidman Powers, founder of CODE2040, an organization that provides fellowship opportunities in Silicon Valley for blacks and Latinos in engineering. CODE2040 takes its name from the year when ethnic minorities are expected to represent the majority of the U.S. population. The organization is working to ensure multicultural groups are trained to fill the growing number of STEM-related jobs.

[FULL ARTICLE AT FORD]

Community Impact: "Google outreach program awards Austin tech entrepreneur"

Last-second persistence paid off for Austin entrepreneur Joel Rojo, who was was one of three people nationally to be awarded a Google residency program during the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference.

Rojo submitted his application for the CODE2040 Residency the day of the deadline after learning about the program through a friend.

“He said he knew I was looking for grant money,” Rojo said. “I immediately felt this was the kind of dream program for me, and I didn’t even know it existed.”

The CODE2040 Residency is an initiative by Google for Entrepreneurs, which last year picked Austin as its eighth North American entrepreneurial hub. The 25-year-old Harvard University graduate receives $40,000 in investment money, work space at technology incubator Capital Factory in downtown Austin, a trip to Silicon Valley for Google-led training as well as networking and mentoring from other Google for Entrepreneurs participants.

“It’s really awesome to have set office space,” Rojo said. “We’re really small, so before we used to work out of coffee shops.”

In addition, he receives support to carry out community diversity initiatives as part of the CODE2040 award, which is geared toward young minorities succeeding in the tech industry. Rojo, a 25-year-old son of Mexican immigrants, said he looks forward to being a role model for other minorities who may aspire to also become software developers.

“For me, I never really thought this was all possible but as I got older, Harvard opened my eyes and made realize these goals are attainable no matter who you are or where you’re from,” said Rojo, who sometimes returns to his native South Texas hometown to meet Hispanic students who are contemplating tech careers.

His short but busy career includes experience working at Google’s Creative Lab and job search website Indeed. His current project, TicketKarma, seeks to become a new player in the online secondary ticket market.

The seed money and Google support allows Rojo to more fully dedicate himself to TicketKarma, which he considered a side job before. He is working on a mobile application for the website that he said should be ready in the next month or two.

In the meantime, he also intends to do more outreach to help close what he considers to be a gap in minority employment at tech companies—a gap he said comes partially out of lack of minority students seeking careers in tech fields.

“If we can motivate the community to push harder and get involved and actually dream big and at the same time motivate companies to be open-minded to equality, then something beautiful can happen and the economy can shift toward more equal demographics,” Rojo said.