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Girls Who Code Gets Some Big-Name Backing

A female programmer typing away on her laptop.

Photo credit: RP Baiao / Shutterstock

 

Girls Who Code, the groundbreaking nonprofit working to close the gender gap in technology, has just received backing from one of the biggest private equity firms in the world: KKR.

KKR—founded in 1976 by partners Henry Kravis, Jerome Kohlberg, and George Roberts—manages over $90 billion in assets.

The prosperous investment firm announced that they will double employee donations made to Girls Who Code throughout the month of May. KKR’s generous support is part of the company’s lifetime commitment to inclusion and diversity. KKR even has an Inclusion and Diversity Council, which is focused on hiring employees with a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, skills, and experiences.

“Similar to the financial sector, the field of technology is often lacking the kind of diverse workforces that lead to the highest performing teams, the highest performing cultures, and the best business outcomes,” said Ted Oberwager, a member of KKR’s Private Equity and TMT Growth Equity teams. “As the tech industry expands and companies increasingly need to integrate technology in order to succeed, this imbalance will not only impact Silicon Valley, but every industry.”

In addition to matching employee donations, two of KKR’s portfolio companies, First Data and Go Daddy, will each sponsor a Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program. These seven-week courses are designed to teach coding skills to high school junior and senior girls. The curriculum will cover web design and development, robotics, and mobile development. Each course has 20 students.

“We need women in technical roles at all companies, and the commitment from KKR, GoDaddy, and First Data will help provide the necessary training and experience to empower more girls to pursue majors and eventually careers in computer science,” said Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code.

The financial support from KKR and its affiliates will help Girls Who Code expand their existing programs. As of now, the organization has not been able to keep up with the demand. Hannah Nance, Director of Corporate Partnerships at Girls Who Code, says that over 5,000 girls have applied to the summer program, but due to limited resources, the organization is only able to serve about 1,600.

On the bright side, the Summer Immersion Program has been shown to be highly effective. An astounding 93% of participants claim that they now want to major in or are interested in pursuing a career in computer science.

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