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Posted under: News Technology

This Black Owned Tech Mentorship Program Just Got $1M From Google

The Hidden Genius Project is investing in Oakland's black male youth.

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An Oakland-based organization dedicated to increasing the representation of young black men in tech just received a $1 million grant from the philanthropic arm of Google – Google.org. Presented at a “Tech Slam” event held in Silicon Valley, the generous donation goes to support The Hidden Genius Project in their continued mission to connect young black males with the skills, mentors, and experiences they need to become high-performing entrepreneurs and technologists in the 21st century, global economy.

Founded by five black male tech entrepreneurs, The Hidden Genius Project was inspired by their dearth of black men employed within the local technology sector. Although Oakland is less than an hour’s drive from the heart of San Francisco, it's more than half black and Hispanic ethnic makeup does not translate to diversity in Silicon Valley. In an interview with Yahoo Finance, 14-year-old, Desmond Pare said, "None of my friends had ever really talked about focusing on the tech field, but when I go to the Hidden Genius Project everyday everyone [teachers and students] looks like me.”

Justin Steele, a principal at Google.org, wrote a blog post attesting to the impact of The Hidden Genius Project: "I first met The Hidden Genius Project when they were finalists and then winners in our 2015 Google Impact Challenge. Since our initial $500,000 grant, they’ve reached more than 1,700 Bay Area students through their 15-month intensive CS and entrepreneurship boot camp program, as well as events and workshops exposing young black men to mentors, basic computer programming, and various careers in tech, like sports analytics and video game design."
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