Medium: Support for STEM Education is an Imperative for SF Tech Community

Tech companies in San Francisco are being viewed as changing the complexion of the city. Rents are going up, traffic is horrendous, and the ‘vibe’ has changed in many communities as longstanding locals are being replaced by affluent tech employees. Tech is blamed for much of this, but there is something that every tech company and their employees can do to make a real difference in the Bay Area.

Supporting STEM education is self-sustaining for the tech community. The supply of STEM talent is not keeping up with demand. Successful STEM initiatives help create a growing and diverse pipeline of future skilled employees and there are some incredible organizations in the Bay Area that are focused on a diverse set of STEM issues. By supporting these organizations with their time, talent and financial resources, tech companies and employees can make real progress towards breaking the cycle of poverty in the communities where they work and live.

Thanks to if(we) for providing their beautiful venue and supplying food and beverages for the event

On August 6th, ActOn mobile app brought STEM-focused nonprofits and engineers from local tech companies together in the heart of SF at the corporate HQ of social product incubator if(we). During the event, each nonprofit had a chance to share with the audience their mission and impact as well as their calls-to-action for the tech community. Below is an overview of these incredible organizations — and more importantly, what you can do to support them.

So if you are part of the tech crowd, here is your chance to get involved. Through the ActOn iOS mobile app, you will be able to find all the organizations that presented, learn about their needs and identify differnet ways to help. From donating to mentoring and volunteer or just sharing, you can make a change one act a a time (Protip — subscribe to the San Francisco Channel).

ActOn is a mobile marketplace for social impact. Here is a link to iOS ActOn or search ‘Act On’ (two words) in the app store.

Here is an overview of the 10 organizations that presented and how you can provide support


Nadia Gathers, Development and Communications at Code2040

Code2040 creates access, awareness, and opportunities for top Black and Latino/a engineering talent to ensure their leadership in the innovation economy.

Code2040 needs ambassadors who are committed to supporting black and latina/o students who are interested in pursing a career in the tech industry. Code2040 also helps place candidates with companies who are committed to creating a culture that ensures people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to succeed.

Roberta Guise, founder of Femresources

FemResources will advance tech women’s careers, fill the pipeline of female tech workers, and make employers bright stars for bringing gender equality to their tech workforce.

FemResources needs web development resource, social media marketing support, help creating and maintaining a CRM database.

Daisha Mshaka, Community Manager at Hack the Hood

Hack the Hood is an award-winning non-profit that introduces low-income youth of color to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for real small businesses in their own communities. During workshops and 6-week “Boot Camps,” young people gain valuable hands-on experience building mobile-friendly websites, executing search engine optimization, and helping businesses get listed in local online directories. In addition to relevant technical skills, youth also learn critical leadership, entrepreneurship, and life skills under the guidance of staff members and volunteer mentors who are professionals working in the field.

Hack the Hood is looking for volunteers and mentors who can open doors for low income, high potential youth in Oakland. A great way to connect with Hack the Hood is to attend their current cohort graduation party on Aug 12th at 6:30pm at the Impact HUB in Oakland.

Rebecca Wilson, Development Director at the Hidden Genius Project

The Hidden Genius Projecttrains and mentors black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities.

The Hidden Genius Project is looking for volunteers who can visit our classroom sessions to speak with students about their role and function within the technology sector and share their personal experiences in pursuing educational and career growth. They are also looking mentors who have expertise in website design.

Wes Bailey, Director of Program Operations Presented for The Last Mile (yes, that’s Guy Kawasaki in the pic)

The Last Mile is an innovative non-profit focused on curbing recidivism, prepares incarcerated individuals for successful reentry through business and technology training. California’s recidivism rate within 3 years of release is 66% — the highest rate in the country. The Code.7030 program guides inmates through a deep dive of software and web development, JavaScript, and an array of computer programming tools to prepare them for jobs after release.

Software developers are encouraged to participate as mentors, on the curriculum development team, and by developing internal systems for the program.

James Lee and Hilary Naylor, Board Members at MOUSE Squad

MOUSE Squad of California’s mission is to empower underserved youth, grades 4–12, to learn, lead, create and collaborate with technology, preparing them with skills essential for their academic and career success.

MOUSE Squad is looking for technical (and non-technical) professionals to do one of three things: 1) come speak to young people about your career, 2) conduct a hands-on demonstration and 3) host a fieldtrip at your company. All three of these are powerful, yet simple, ways to engage youth in real world STEM opportunities and help continue to diversify the tech field.

Hue Mach, Founder of and Reuben Garcia

RRR Computer is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to divert old computers from being sent to recycling centers, and instead send them to the desks of low-income K-6 students. The three Rs in our name stand for Reclaim, Refurbish, and Reuse. At, we believe there are better uses for old computers than being scrapped for parts and creating unnecessary e-waste in landfills. We believe every child should have a computer at home in order to be successful in their education.

If you or your business has older or non-functioning computers, please donate them to RRR by filling out this form or dropping off at a donation drive on the last Thursday of each quarter (Mar, June, Sept, Dec).

Marjorie Schlenoff, President and founder at Teach with Africa presented at the event

Teach With Africa’s goal is to increase local capacity by bringing educators to Africa both teach and learn. Teach With Africa supports academic programs, sustainability efforts and social entrepreneurship initiatives by placing highly qualified educators in underserved schools in South Africa. In addition to working directly with students, Teach With Africa Fellows partner with school faculty to share best practices on instructional methodology, differentiated learning, critical thinking, lesson planning, assessment practices, technology integration, and curriculum development.

Teach with Africa is looking for IT mentors and/or math or science teachers to volunteer in rural and township areas of South Africa for 2 weeks to 2 months. They are also looking for volunteers, with skills in finance, accounting, social media, or fundraising.

Rachel Wold, Partnerships and Community Director at Techbridge Girls

Techbridge inspires girls to discover a passion for technology, science and engineering. Through hands-on learning, we empower the next generation of innovators and leaders.

Techbridge is looking for mentors to serve as a “Role Model” (commitment of 2 hrs or more to visit girls in class, opportunities Sept-June, training provided). You can also get your company involved: Arrange a field trip for our students, or a role model training or brown bag lunch talk about Girls in STEM for employees

Jen Kim,Deputy Director at #YesWeCode

#YesWeCode is an initiative that targets low-opportunity youth and provides them with the necessary resources and tools to become world-class computer programmers. By learning this highly valuable and relevant 21st century skill, these young people are shifting the trajectory of their futures and transforming their relationships with their communities and their country.

#YesWeCode is looking for volunteerscorporate sponsors for events, and companies interested in building meaningful partnerships with workforce development programs.

Here are some other great STEM-focused organizations that you can support through ActOn


Through community outreach programs such as workshops and afterschool programs, Black Girls Code introduces underprivileged girls to basic programming skills in languages like Scratch and Ruby on Rails. is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.

Girls in Tech is a global non-profit focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of influential women in technology and entrepreneurship. We focus on the promotion, growth and success of entrepreneurial and innovative women in the technology space.

The Level Playing Field Institute is committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and fostering their untapped talent for the advancement of our nation.

LPFI is still looking for youth participants and adult mentors for our hackathon on August 22 and 23 at Twilio. We are particularly looking for more mentors from underrepresented communities, including women and people of color.

Mission Bit is a nonprofit that offers FREE programming classes taught by experienced engineers and entrepreneurs to San Francisco public school students.

Samaschool uses the Internet to provide low-income people with training that connects them to the digital economy. Our learning programs provide students with in-demand skills, resources and the support they need to be successful in online work and their careers.


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Support for STEM Education is an Imperative for SF Tech Community

"Diversity brings so much more to the table - and by focusing outside of the usual and rewarding all sorts of people in tech - we can only make it better. #YesWeCode is doing exactly that."
- Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple