Black Girls Code (BGC) is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on providing technology education for African-American girls.
Kimberly Bryant, an electrical engineer who had worked in biotech for over 20 years, founded Black Girls Code in 2011 in hopes of rectifying the underrepresentation of the female and African-American demographic in the technology industry. The organization offers programs in computer programming, coding, as well as website, robot, and mobile application-building, with the goal of providing African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. in 2020.
Black Girls Code received a $50,000 grant from Microsoft’s Azure development(AzureDev) community campaign in January 2014. Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant also received a “Standing O-vation” presented by Oprah Winfrey and Toyota in November 2014.
It has announced a partnership with General Motors, which includes a generous donation of $255,000. The funding will be used to launch and maintain a local chapter of the organization in the Detroit metro area.
This partnership aims to increase interest in STEM career fields for girls of colour. Women of colour are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, especially in technology. Only 3 percent of African-American women and less than 1 percent of Latinas receive degrees in computer science.
Kimberly Bryant, CEO of Black Girls Code, comments, “Although we’ve hosted workshops in the area off and on since 2012, we are thrilled to officially launch a Black Girls CODE chapter in Detroit with the support of GM and other corporate and community partners like Comcast and Wayne State University.
“Our regular programming, launching this fall, will lay a foundation to fully engage girls of colour in Detroit and is designed to inspire them to continue their paths as future STEM professionals,” she adds.
Since their launch in April 2011, Black Girls Code has had the ultimate goal to provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020, and to train 1 million girls by 2040.
The organization was recently offered a $125,000 donation from Uber, but Bryant politely turned it down because she says she felt that it was just a PR stunt meant to distract people from Uber’s dismal track record on diversity issues. She then went and raised $150,000 for the organization through crowdfunding.