“We are very proud of our continued partnership with Knight Foundation to create access, awareness, and opportunities for black Latino and Latina engineering talent. This transformative investment allows CODE2040 to build the capacity needed to rapidly increase our impact on diversity in tech,” said Laura Weidman Powers, CODE2040 co-founder and CEO.
VP of programs, Karla Monterroso, in a statement to BlackEnterprise.com, said, “It is vitally important that the American workplace learns the competencies needed to engage, recruit, and retain communities of color. We are so excited to be partnered with the Knight Foundation. Their investment will be pivotal to our ability to scale this skill-building and opening [of] opportunities for talented black and Latino innovators.”
The funding will be used to expand CODE2040 programs, including the Fellows Program, which places black and Hispanic software engineering students into internships with top tech companies, and the Technical Application Prep (TAP) program. TAP prepares students for tech careers through coaching, mentoring, retreats, workshops and more.
With the funding, CODE2040 will be able to increase student participation in the Fellows Program by more than 100%.
The Knight Foundation funds efforts that support promoting quality journalism, advancing media innovation, engaging communities and fostering the arts. The foundation’s mission is to ensure “Americans have access to the information they need to be active participants in the democracy,” told John Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president for media innovation, to BlackEnterprise.com.
It was important for the Knight Foundation to support CODE2040’s diversity efforts. “Digital platforms and the internet” are “key” means people will get that information, said Bracken, adding that “it’s imperative” that these platforms are created by, and represent, “all people.” The CODE2040 funding is “one of those grants we feel really privileged to support,” he said.
More than 80 fellows have graduated from the CODE2040 Fellows Program. Many currently work for top tech companies, such as Facebook, Google, Jawbone, and Uber.
Next year, CODE2040 will partner with 41 leading tech companies, including Apple, Box, Lyft, and Pandora. The organization has helped more than 3,000 students last year though its TAP program, and will expand its outreach to more than 5,000 in 2016.
In October, CODE2040 partnered with Black Enterprise for the Black Enterprise TechConnext Summit held in Silicon Valley.