Computer science careers haven’t traditionally been geared toward women or non-white subcultures. Kimberly Bryant is changing that. She founded Black Girls Code, an organization that hosts events in major cities around the U.S. and internationally to teach girls of color about computer programming. Bryant’s goal is to reach 1 million girls between the ages of 7 and 17 by 2040.
“One of the most important things is to plant that seed of interest because [our students] don’t generally have any knowledge of computer programming or computer science before they come into our classes,” she said.
The opportunities provided by Black Girls Code fight against the marginalization of women and minorities in an increasingly technological world, Bryant said — even better, these skills can empower women of color to become technology leaders.
Founded in 2011, the nonprofit gained immediate moral and financial support from individual donors such as Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, as well as notable organizations like the Kapor Center for Social Impact. Two years of crowdfunding through Indiegogo has yielded about 3,000 supporters and $130,000.
Donations allow Black Girls Code to run events centered on topics like robotics, game and mobile app development, and Web design. The organization also hosts boot camps for older students where they can work alongside engineers at companies like Twitter and gain first-hand experience of what it’s like to develop real technologies used the world over.