Google is doling out a cool $1 million grant to an Oakland, Calif.-based organization that is dedicated to increasing representation of black male youths in tech.
The Google.org grant is just one of the company’s several attempts to do better when it comes to diversity.
The grant will be going to the Hidden Genius Project, which mentors young black men in technology creation, entrepreneurship and leadership skills. According to Justin Steele, a principal at Google.org, the funds will “help the organization grow into new cities, train more staff and expand their work to inspire more young people to pursue careers at the intersection of tech and their passions.”
In a blog post making the announcement, Steele noted:
Coding is evolving and influencing how we think about all industries, including fashion, music and art. But even as CS becomes more important across a wide variety of fields, millions of Black, Hispanic and female youth aren’t unlocking its benefits.
One reason behind a lack of representation is perception; according to our research with Gallup, students are five times more likely to take an interest in computer science if they often see people who look like them in that field. As we often say, “you have to see it to be it.”
I first met The Hidden Genius Project when they were finalists and then winners in our 2015 Google Impact Challenge. Since our initial $500,000 grant, they’ve reached more than 1,700 Bay Area students through their 15-month intensive CS and entrepreneurship bootcamp program, as well as events and workshops exposing young black men to mentors, basic computer programming and various careers in tech, like sports analytics and video game design.
The grant was presented to the Hidden Genius Project at Tech Slam, a Silicon Valley event that exposes children to activities and people who combine computer science with other passions such as music, fashion and sports.
“For the past five years, the Hidden Genius Project has been able to serve youth in a holistic fashion, revealing their genius throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. With a broadened vision of themselves, our Geniuses become change agents for their own lives and their communities. Thanks to the Google Impact Challenge Grant, we were able to increase our investment in program operations and expand our youth development opportunities to open an additional program site in Richmond, Calif.,” Brandon Nicholson, executive director of the Hidden Genius Project, said of the grant, according to Black Enterprise.
“Our efforts and results have positioned us to scale nationally, and additional funds from Google will help us reach our goal to provide career exposure opportunities like Tech Slam that offer entrepreneurship, leadership, and technology creation skills to youth throughout the country,” he added.
Editor’s note: This story previously had the wrong dollar amount in the headline. It is actually $1 million.