Nonprofits for Diversity in Tech

Megan Zander Tech Diversity Feature Image

This is an inclusive list of non-profit organizations whose mission is to create opportunity for diversity in technology and digital. I researched these on my own. If you know of any organizations I might have missed, don’t hesitate to reach out and suggest additions.

“What is not known cannot yet inspire.”

It’s no secret. The number of positions in tech held by ethnic minorities, women, and LGBTQ individuals needs to grow exponentially. The positive effects on diversity in workplaces are numerous. And yet, many communities are entirely underrepresented in the tech industry. Below is a list of organizations working to make the tech world better represent the diversity of the whole world.

Who to Follow in the Quest for Inclusion and Diversity in Tech

Anita Borg Institute: “Women in technology are at the heart of ABI’s mission. We are on a quest to accelerate the pace of global innovation by working to ensure that the creators of technology mirror the people and societies who use it. Our programs and awards highlight the accomplishments of women technologists, and recognize organizations building innovation-driven teams. Our events and communities enable women to find their peers and form relationships that result in mutual benefit.” | Twitter: @anitaborg_org

Out In Tech: “Out in Tech unites the LGBTQ+ tech community. We empower aspiring tech leaders to improve our world by showcasing accomplished speakers, producing timely and thought-provoking events, and connecting our members to new opportunities and each other. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, we provide resources and mentorship to ensure career access for LGBTQ youth and provide web services for LGBTQ activists around the world.” | Twitter @OutInTech

Digital Diversity: “Digital Diversity Network is a non-profit trade association whose mission is to advance Diversity & Inclusion in the leadership and ownership of digital media and the technology industry. With a focus on working professionals, DDN works to ensure that the hi-tech producer/earner economy mirrors the demographics of key consumer/user groups. By providing resources and opportunities for career and business development; recruitment and networking; as well as reward and recognition programs for industry professionals, DDN helps to retain and grow the existing pipeline of diverse tech talent, thereby accelerating and sustaining diversity.” | Twitter @ddnoinfo

TechWomen: “TechWomen empowers, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities. Through mentorship and exchange, TechWomen strengthens participants’ professional capacity, increases mutual understanding between key networks of professionals, and expands girls’ interest in STEM careers by exposing them to female role models.” | Twitter @techwomen

Black Girls Who Code: “Our vision: To increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. To provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020, and to train 1 million girls by 2040.” | Twitter @blackgirlscode

National Center for Women & Information Technology: “NCWIT is the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a non-profit organization chartered in 2004 by the National Science Foundation to increase the participation of girls and women in computing. Before NCWIT was formed, programs focusing on women and computing (K-12, post secondary, or corporate) existed mostly in isolation, without the benefit of shared best practices, effective resources, communication with others, or national reach. Today, NCWIT employs a three-prong strategy.” | Twitter @NCWIT

Information Technology Senior Management Forum: “ITSMF increases the representation of black professionals at senior levels in technology, to impact organizational innovation and growth. We do this by developing and nurturing these dynamic leaders through enrichment of the mind, body and soul. By 2020, ITSMF will graduate 500 professionals through a series of rich, developmental, and career-advancing programs, and do so by being a second family to its members and partners.” | Twitter: @itsmfonline

Lesbians Who Tech: “We all know that familiar feeling of meeting someone in a work setting, knowing she’s a lesbian, and trying to work it into a conversation and make that connection. We’re about making that happen: connecting lesbians and building a network of colleagues, associates and friends in the industry.” | Twitter: @lesbiantech

Code2040: “We believe that Blacks and Latinxs are powerful innovators. Our Bold Goal is that, by 2040, we are recognized and valued as such, we are leading benefactors to and beneficiaries of the innovation economy, and we have the economic and social capital we need to thrive and to build generational wealth. We believe the nation as a whole will be stronger when the contributions of communities of color are sought out and included within the innovation economy. As result, in 2040, we envision a nation as a whole that is more equitable, innovative, and prosperous.” | Twitter: @code2040

TechStars Foundation: “The Techstars Foundation was founded in 2015 and is committed to increasing diversity in entrepreneurship. We do this by investing in organizations with grant money and leveraging the Techstars network to empower these organizations to accelerate their mission forward.” | Twitter: @techstars

Trans*H4ck: “We shift the ways trans*, gender non-conforming, agender, and non-binary people live by creating technology that economically empowers, improves access to social services, promotes gender safety and community sustainability, while bringing visibility to trans* tech innovators and entrepreneurs.” | Twitter: @TransH4ck

Girls In Tech: “Girls in Tech (GIT) is a global non-profit focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology. Adriana Gascoigne founded GIT in 2007 to create a support framework to help women advance their careers in STEM fields. Today, GIT aims to accelerate the growth of innovative women entering into the high-tech industry and building startups. We achieve this through the creation of proprietary, innovative programming and strategic global partnerships.” | Twitter: @GirlsinTech

Women Who Code: “Women Who Code (WWCode) is global non-profit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. We work to support this generation in being and becoming leaders and role models in the tech industry. Software development is one of the fastest growing job sectors in the world economy and it is projected to grow by 23%. These careers pay well with a median income that is 42% higher than other jobs.” | @womenwhocode

Catalyst: “Knowledge is power. That’s why Research and Strategy Development has driven all that we do at Catalyst for more than 50 years. Whether it’s measuring or diagnosing talent management gaps or identifying the best programs that organizations and business leaders can use to leverage top talent, Catalyst relies on fact-based, scientific methods and experience, as well as partnerships and collaborations, to find the answers. As a result, Catalyst is the most trusted resource for knowledge on gender, leadership, and inclusive leadership in the world. And it’s why more than 800 supporting organizations rely on our comprehensive, on-the-ground knowledge of today’s workplace to identify barriers and pioneer solutions.” | Twitter: @CatlystInc

TransTech: “TransTech is an incubator for LGBTQ Talent with a focus on economically empowering the T, transgender people, in our community. TransTech members provide graphics design, web development, social media management, multimedia production, and many more services. Any time someone hires a member at TransTech they are directly empowering LGBTQ talent financially through direct employment and career building experiences. At TransTech, we learn and work together to develop skills and value within marginalized LGBTQ communities.” | Twitter: @TransTechSocial

Local Tech and Digital Diversity-Seeking Organizations

KC Stem Alliance and Girls in Tech KC: | Twitter @KCSTEM

Digital Women of Kansas City: | @DigitalWomenKC

KC Women in Technology: | Twitter: @KCWomenInTech

Originally posted December 20, 2016:

“Do I know what I’m doing?” and 5 Other Questions to Stop Asking Yourself

Feature Image of unsteady bridge

Nothing is easy. Everything is an uncertainty. Make better choices.

What makes me unique?

Nothing. Nothing makes you unique. You’re just like everyone else would be if they had been dealt the exact same hand. That’s not a bad thing. It just makes you lucky! Or unlucky, depending on how you look at it. Ask yourself, ‘What makes me good?”.

What did I do wrong?

Stop that. You didn’t do anything wrong – you made poor choices. Almost everything is a choice. Next time, choose better choices.

How do I become [insert adjective here]?

Oh, so you don’t like what you’ve got going on right now? Guess what? Unless you’re already on your way to being thinner, or having more money, or living in Tokyo, you are WASTING YOUR OWN TIME. This right here – this moment – is enough. Your body, your mind, your significant other, your home. All of it really is enough. If it isn’t enough, you’d already be on your way to something else.

Do I even know what I’m doing?

Well, you can certainly ask yourself that question, but the answer will almost ALWAYS be “No.”. No one knows exactly what they’re doing. Up until Christopher Columbus came along, Europeans thought the earth was flat. Sneezes used to be symptomatic of possession by the devil. Everything in this life is an uncertainty. You might have done it 50 times before or never once, but you can’t predict the future! Roll with it!

Why don’t they like me?

Really? You’re worried about someone liking you? Really? Worry about if they respect you. Someone liking you isn’t going to mean anything. ‘Like’ goes away. Earn their respect, and if you can’t do that, you probably don’t need them around.

Why is this so hard?

Nothing is easy. It is exactly the level of difficulty it is meant to be. Even tools that make life ‘easy’ require training and experience. Maybe next time, evaluate the time and effort it will take before choosing that path.

Originally posted December 9, 2016:


Hustle Feature Image by Megan Zander

If you want to get anywhere quickly, you better hustle.

I’m a year into my first position as a marketer. I’m light years ahead of where I was when I first set out on this career path. And yet, I’m disappointed.

By now, I thought I would be practicing my trade more. I thought I’d be on track to having my own ideas. Instead, I find myself in a holding pattern. I’ve learned what I can, but there’s only so much you can learn without the opportunity to practice.

I’ve taken a step back to look at where I am now and where I want to be, and if I’m going to get there quickly, I better start hustling.

When I was a musician, I always felt like the world had failed me. Everyone else had better opportunities and I was getting the short end of the stick. It wasn’t my fault, I thought, it was the scene.

Looking back, I can see now that I didn’t hustle. I took the opportunities that wandered up to me, but I didn’t create any for myself. It’s easy to see how I failed at becoming a professional artist.

No more excuses.

I’m writing, I’m working, I’m doing my best, I’m making sacrifices, I’m volunteering my spare time, and I’m not making any excuses. I’m my own worst critic and my own cheerleader. I’ve got a plan and a timeline and if I don’t get there on time, it’ll be my fault and no one else’s.


Originally posted on November 16, 2016: