Nonprofit Spotlight: CodeCrew

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In September 2021, PennyLoafer donors collectively gave to Code Crew!

The Rundown

  • Years founded: 2015

  • Leadership: Executive Director, Meka Egwuekwe, has a B.S. and M.S. in computer science. He’s been a professional software developer for 20+ years, building software for government and fortune 500 companies.

  • Issue they address: the digital divide and diversity in tech - only 3% of Black students learn computer science in high school or beyond.

  • What they do: mentor underrepresented youth in Memphis, TN to be tech innovators and leaders through practical, hands-on computer science education programs

  • How they do it:

    • Youth programs: in-school electives (in 6 schools, kids learn to code as part of their class schedule); afterschool and weekend programs; 6-week summer courses.

    • Host events like Hackathons, Hour of Code and Family Code Night

    • Professional development for high school computer science teachers.

    • Code School: hands-on, intensive 6-month course designed to train adults to be entry-level software developers.

Why they were chosen

Code Crew has dedicated leadership. Since 2015, over 2,000 students have learned to code – of the 500 kids they serve weekly, over 90% are Black or Latinx, and over 40% are girls. I love the variety of ways kids can participate and that they’re teaching tangible skills in a competitive field, with 89% of their students more likely to study computer science.

  • For more, check out this video on their program.

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💻 What is the digital divide?

A report that analyzed the digital divide for K-12 students during covid defined it as a lack of access to adequate connectivity (think high speed, broadband internet), devices (laptops or tablets), and/or digital training and support for remote learning. It found:

  • The numbers: there are still ~12 million K-12 students without reliable internet, a working device, or both in this U.S.
    • That number has narrowed from ~16 million when schools first went remote in March 2020 (thanks to schools mobilizing with CARES act funding, broadband discounts, and partnerships).
  • Most impacted: Southern states with large rural populations (i.e. Mississippi, Alabama); Black, Latinx and Native American students; and students from low-income houses (annual incomes less than $50k).
  • 3 main causes: affordability (cost of internet, devices), availability (areas – usually rural – that lack access to reliable broadband internet), and adoption (often language barriers).

This article offers what will be needed to remedy the divide.

👀 Bill to watch

The Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which contains a $65B investment in broadband. It awaits passage in the house.

If you enjoyed this and want to get involved, you can support the Quality Education cause on PennyLoafer, starting with as little as $5/month. Each month, you’ll support and learn about a different nonprofit working to improve the education system.