In efforts to diversify the STEM industry and expose African-American youth to career paths within the field, Google granted $1 million to a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating a stronger Black male presence in tech, the Huffington Post reported.
The Hidden Genius Project—an Oakland-based organization—received the grant at the “Tech Slam” event which was hosted in Silicon Valley, the news outlet said. Through mentorship and training, the organization provides Black boys with the tools they need to become successful in the tech industry. Program participants take classes that cover everything from computer programming to problem-solving and later learn how they can leverage those skills in an array of different professions.
The grant, which was given through Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org, will go toward introducing the Hidden Genius Project in other underserved cities and training more staff to expose more Black youth to tech. According to the news outlet, the non-profit has served over 1,700 students in the Bay Area.
“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,” Justin Steele,of Google.org, said in a statement. “This work builds on over $35 million in Google.org grants focused on providing opportunities for underrepresented students to become pioneers of technology, and we’re excited to see how The Hidden Genius Project uses this new grant.”
Two years ago, the foundation received $500,000 after becoming finalists in Google’s Impact Challenge. Brandon Nicholson, executive director of The Hidden Genius Project, told Black Enterprise that the grant will be an integral part of furthering their mission to show underserved youth that they have the power to be “change agents” in their community.
The $1 million grant provides a sense of hope during a time when several tech giants are being called out for their stagnant diversity numbers.