Uber is giving a $1.2 million grant to Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in tech, as part of a multi-year partnership. As part of the collaboration, Uber’s recently hired Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John is joining the Girls Who Code board of directors to push for gender diversity in tech.
“If I’m going to go for it, I’m going to go for it all,” Saint John told TechCrunch about diving into work at Uber.
When Uber released its first diversity report in March, the company pledged to donate $3 million over the next three years to organizations working on diversity in tech. This $1.2 million is the first investment Uber has made as part of that commitment.
The money will help Girls Who Code teach 60,000 more girls technical skills. In the past five years, Girls Who Code has reached 40,000 girls through its after school clubs and summer programs.
“We’re trying to grow the program especially in places where kids have little access,” Girls Who Code Founder and CEO Reshma Saujani told me.
As part of the collaboration, some Uber employees (of all genders) in technical roles will volunteer to set up coding workshops and mentorship programs at local Girls Who Code chapters throughout the U.S.
“I’ve said it quite a bit, but I believe in representation and that it matters,” she told me. “And there’s no better time than right now to talk about women in tech and women in these very specific ladders. We obviously want more leadership and want more women in tech, so we need to make sure the pipeline is strong.”
Saint John mentioned her eight-year-old daughter, who has not yet started coding, but has plans for her to.
“I want her to have the opportunities and if this is a way to sit at the table and contribute to this very important moment in time, then I want to do that,” she said.
As part of the Girls Who Code board of directors, Saint John will be tasked with inspiring and ensuring the success of girls who want to learn technical skills. Other members of the Girls Who Code board of directors include Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark, Gilt Groupe Founder Alexis Maybank and others.
“Right now, my duties are quite broad and I think they’re more philosophical in nature — inspiring and ensuring the success of girls who want to learn these technical skills,” Saint John said. “I want to be a champion for that. I’m very visible and I want to make sure I’m pointing a light toward an area we all need to see.”