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Black Girls CODE awarded IBM Open Source Community Grant

In today’s climate, racial equality and equity is top of mind. The tech industry has a renewed focus on giving girls in underrepresented communities access and exposure to STEM, particularly in the pre-teen and teen years that are critical to keeping girls interested in STEM subjects. Giving adolescent girls access to skills like coding and introducing them to open source prepares them for college and career and opens new doors and opportunities

IBM has a longstanding commitment to investing in diversity and inclusion. The IBM Open Source Community Grant recognizes a nonprofit organization dedicated to education and skill building for women, under-represented minorities, and underserved communities, while also promoting open source. The grant includes a cash award ($25K) and a technology award (valued at $25K) to directly support education and career development activities. Our internal open source community votes on the winners.

Black Girls CODE awarded grant

As part of our continuing social justice efforts and commitment to racially equality, IBM is awarding our next open source community grant to Black Girls CODE. Launched in 2011, Black Girls CODE (BGC), with 15 chapter cities in the U.S. and abroad, is a transformative global movement that hosts technology-focused weekend workshops, hackathons, summer camps, and many other enrichment opportunities for more than 20,000 low-income, Black girls — or as they call themselves, Tech Divas.

Additionally, IBM has partnered with Black Girls CODE as a National Alumnae Ambassador Program Sponsor to help cultivate the next generation of STEM developers. This partnership allows Black Girls CODE and their Tech Divas to participate in two initial opportunities with IBM — one with IBM’s Call for Code for Racial Justice program and another with IBM offerings for workshops on STEM topics like quantum, artificial intelligence, and hybrid cloud.

Call for Code for Racial Justice was announced on October 13 following three years of successful global programs addressing natural disasters, climate change, and COVID-19. Call for Code for Racial Justice encourages the adoption and innovation of open source projects to drive progress in three key areas of focus

  • Police & Judicial Reform and Accountability
  • Diverse Representation
  • Policy & Legislation Reform.

The five solutions that emerged from Call for Code for Racial Justice are being announced and made available to the open source community at the All Things Open Conference where Black Girls CODE will participate on a panel with IBM entitled “Underrepresented Communities in Code.”

The partnership between IBM and Black Girls CODE will help BGC expand on its unique, culturally sensitive STEM program for underserved girls around the world. IBM seeks to help grow the number of women of color in technology and give underrepresented girls a chance to become the future leaders in technology driving innovation.

We all have a unique opportunity to help influence young minority women to embrace their brilliance and build upon their skills. The journey to equality in STEM and closing the skills gap should be a proactive one — an open one. This is the power of inclusion.

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. Yolanda Rabun is the senior counsel for the IBM Research & Systems group.