In 2019, the Kapor Center, Kapor Capital, and SMASH have many exciting accomplishments we’re delighted to share with you.
Our mission remains clear: we’re dedicated to removing barriers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and tech careers for underrepresented people of color and increasing diversity in the tech ecosystem.
How do we do this? We take a comprehensive approach to addressing barriers at every stage of the tech pipeline: from K-12 education through the workplace and implementing STEM education programs, conducting research, building inclusive tech ecosystems, and investing in social impact startups.
Some key highlights include:
- SMASH Expansion: In our 17th year of operating SMASH, our signature residential STEM program served underrepresented high school students of color at 8 university sites across the nation. In addition to our four sites throughout California, we’ve expanded nationally to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia.
- Computer Science Equity: We contributed leadership, research, data, and communications to the CS for CA coalition, highlighting equity gaps in K-12 computer science education. Through the coalition’s efforts, California adopted a strategic plan for computer science education and allocated state funding towards increasing access and equity in CS education across California.
- Gap-Closing Impact Investing: For the first time ever, Kapor Capital released its financial and impact returns covering 100+ companies in its portfolio. Representing investments from 2011 through 2017, we are proud to report that our portfolio ranks in the top quartile venture funds of comparable size. These startups are all tech-driven but cross many sectors including education, fintech, health, justice, sustainability and work/people ops tech. More than 60% of our portfolio founders are underrepresented, and are solving real problems, often reflecting their lived experience.
- Community Events: We have provided exposure to technology, networking opportunities, and community building through events and workshops throughout the year, in partnership with TechHire Oakland, Oakland Startup Network, AfroTech, Diversity Advocates, Our Collective and LTX Fest. We have also supported our partners to build capacity to increase diversity in tech through grants to community organizations and research partners.
- Workforce Exposure: The SMASH Rising internship preparation program hosted undergraduate SMASH alumni at companies including Doordash, IDEO Co-Lab, Kapor Capital, and Autodesk, introducing students to tech-based skills such as design thinking sprints, prototyping, product development, and coding.
- D&I Leadership: The Diversity Advocates community launched a new platform to empower its membership of over 1,000 tech diversity and inclusion leaders with the resources, knowledge, and networks to advance inclusion in tech.
Check out more of our milestones below. We’re grateful to have you as part of our network and look forward to continuing to grow our impact in 2020 and beyond!