The Kapor Center Is Giving Away $1M To Help Diversify Tech
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The Kapor Center Is Giving Away $1M To Help Diversify Tech

The Kapor Center, an organization working to increase tech training and job skills to minority populations through funding and programs, has announced a new $1 million funding competition, hoping to “catalyze tech inclusion.”

The Kapor Center is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as part of the organization’s educational initiatives. The Oakland-based organization’s Tech Done Right National Challenge will provide grants ranging from $100,000 to $150,000 to individuals and organizations that can implement solutions to diversify the tech industry.

“We prefer short sprints that enable a set of partners to quickly discover the viability of the proposed solution and allow for rapid iterations,” the Kapor Center said on its website. 

The Kapor Center is looking to provide funding for individuals who are “particularly interested in solutions centered on prototyping, experimentation, and rapid iteration cycles.”

In 2018, the Kapor Center released Leaky Tech Pipeline — a website and tool for identifying key trends causing the lack of diversity and inclusion in tech.

“Experimentation will help us all better understand how to best build a technology sector that’s inclusive by design, not as a mere afterthought,” Sergio Rosas, Program Lead for the Tech Done Right Challenge, said in a press release. 

Oakland has become a hotspot for technology innovation initiatives in recent months. Dream Corps, an Oakland-based non-profit, announced a partnership with Apple to provide coding classes to underserved and minority communities. Google’s Code Next program launched in Oakland in 2016 and has since branched to Harlem and Chelsea, New York.

“These problems are certainly not unique to Oakland. We know other cities face similar challenges yet many may not have access to the education, research, and capital resources we are privileged to have,” Lili Gangas, The Kapor Center chief technology community officer, said in a blog post. “For that reason, we are launching the #TechDoneRight Challenge as a prototype of a new approach to grant funding in the tech philanthropy sector.”

Organizations who have dedicated themselves to increasing the number of women and minorities in the tech, venture capital, entrepreneurship, and education are encouraged to apply.

Applicants are required to complete video responses and grant proposals. If accepted, the money can be used in conjunction with other organizations to cover grant-related expenses. Applications for the Tech Done Right Challenge close May 7.