Dear Beloved Community,
Six years ago, Zakiya Harris, Mary Fuller, and I came up with the idea to empower local small businesses by pairing them with young people in the community to plan and build their websites, then use that experience to introduce the young people to careers in tech as well as enable the youth to build a portfolio to utilize in their job searches.
Today, Hack the Hood has 15 staffers, and our business model multiplier has provided the impact of serving 235 young people in 2017, and more than 600 youth and small businesses over the years. Since our first bootcamp, we have continued to expand our curriculum and in-depth skills training programs that prepare youth developers to grow their skills, confidence, and power for entrance into community college, coding classes, and careers in the tech economy. Additionally our work with small business owners very much increases their economic sustainability and provides economic development for our community.
I’m very proud of all we have accomplished. And yet, it is time for change. As of June 28, 2018, I will step down from my role as CEO of Hack the Hood. In late July, I will join an Oakland-based arts and education non-profit as their Executive Director.
It has been rewarding and powerful to turn an idea about introducing low-income young people of color to 21st century skills and careers in tech into a living, breathing organization. Over the course of my leadership, Hack the Hood has expanded and deepened its programs in Oakland, developing a range of innovative programs and services for young people ages 16-25; recruited and supported 9 partners we trained to deliver our core program, Bootcamp, in San Francisco, East Palo Alto, San Jose, Hayward, Modesto, and Merced; grown from serving 18 students and 40 small businesses to engaging more than 600 small businesses, 100 volunteers, 20+ tech companies and more than 50 education, government workforce and community-based partners. In addition to guiding the organization to scale its impact, I am proud of all of the leaders we have helped develop, an executive team with a majority of people of color, and a staff that has hired 15+ young people from our programs as permanent and seasonal skilled employees and leaders.
Building a fully functional organization over the past 5 years has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. From that moment in 2014, when Hack the Hood won $500,000 from Google.org during the first Bay Area Impact Challenge (as a good idea at a VERY early stage!) to our full range of year-round programs today, it has been humbling and a constant education to be able to do this work.
There’s never a right time to make this kind of change, and yet I think it is the right time to transition Hack the Hood’s leadership. This is a moment to provide new energy, new ideas, and new blood to expand upon the work we have begun. Our team is motivated, capable, and dedicated to the mission. I have pride and full confidence in the board, the staff, and the community of young people and small businesses we have created. I am supporting the board as they recruit and bring in an interim CEO and have gladly accepted a board seat.
As a new board member, I look forward to supporting Hack the Hood so this organization continues to grow, thrive, and change lives. I’m impressed by everything that the team has accomplished during this time, and will always love the vision and community of Hack the Hood.
Hack the Hood Blog
News items and musings on tech inclusion, youth development, buying local and more.