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First open source grant supports diversity and inclusion in open source communities

It’s time to make the open source world a little more open. While IBM has a long tradition of supporting diversity and inclusion in open source communities, we’ve now taken it an important step further.

In 1995, 37% of computer scientists were women. Today, that number has dropped to only 24%, with further slips anticipated if no actions are taken to actively encourage women to enter the field. While girls’ participation in computer science ebbs over time, the biggest drop off happens between the ages of 13-17.

That’s why today, we’re thrilled to award the inaugural $50,000 IBM Open Source Community Grant to Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization working to increase the number of women working in computer science.

The community grant, which will be awarded to a different organization on a quarterly basis, is an exciting opportunity to promote nonprofits that are dedicated to education, inclusiveness, and skill-building for women, underrepresented minorities, and underserved communities.

Girls Who Code enables girls to learn more about computer science through after-school classes and summer courses. Along with the advancement of IT knowledge, women also gain confidence in their capabilities.

“This grant will help close the gender gap in tech, and bring in new minds with new ideas,” said Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. “Gender equity is so important to our industry and it’s wonderful to work with IBM to achieve that.”

The grant includes $25,000 in cash as well as a technology award of $25,000 in cloud credits. The inaugural Open Source Community Grant was presented this morning at All Things Open in Raleigh.

Other finalists in this quarter’s grant competition were Outreachy, which sets up three-month paid internships on open source projects for people who ordinarily might not have those opportunities. This includes cisgender and transgender women and men. The other finalist was PyLadies, of the Python Software Foundation. PyLadies is an international mentorship group helping women become active in the Python open-source community, creating a diverse environment through outreach and education.

A big thank you to our open source community at IBM for casting their votes and helping us decide which of the many great community improvement initiatives we should support with this inaugural Open Source Community Grant.

Todd Moore is the Vice President of Open Technology and Developer Advocacy at IBM and Guillermo Miranda is the Vice President and Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at IBM.