Boston-Area Nonprofit Spotlight :: G{Code}

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The Greater Boston area is home to many exceptional nonprofits, but the ones that serve moms are especially close to our hearts. Boston Moms is excited to spotlight and support the local nonprofit organizations that make our area so great.

This month we are showcasing G{Code}.

G{Code} is a local Black-female-led nonprofit designed to educate, empower, and comprehensively support young women and nonbinary people of color to pursue careers in technology.

Join us in celebrating G{Code} by learning more about them and donating to their cause!

What is G{Code}’s mission?

Based in the Roxbury community of Boston, G{Code} is rooted in a place-based model and enables young female and nonbinary people of color between the ages of 18-25 to gain economic mobility by providing stable housing, intentional community, and intensive technical training. By sharing a co-learning, co-living space in a Black-majority neighborhood threatened by gentrification, G{Code} graduates will pursue lucrative careers in tech and, in turn, revitalize the local economy, resist displacement, and promote community cohesion.

How did this begin?

G{Code}’s founder, Bridgette Wallace, came to America from the West Indies during her childhood. Settling in Boston during a time of white flight, forced busing, and urban disinvestment, Bridgette witnessed how many community members were left marginalized and reliant on inadequate policies to try to close gaps in housing, economic development, education, and health. Now, as these same urban spaces become attractive to high-income populations, low-income communities of color are threatened by gentrification and displacement. This pattern of reinvestment and disinvestment ignited a passion within Bridgette to work toward systemic change and build solutions to address inequities in access to stable housing, quality education, and economic mobility.

Why is offering this type of programming to young female and nonbinary people of color so important?

Boston is a bustling city of wealth and opportunity, but it is also rife with racial, gender, and socioeconomic inequities that target young female and nonbinary people of color. These inequities are amplified in the tech industry, where Black and Latinx women comprise only 3% and 2% of the workforce, respectively, and data on nonbinary people of color in tech is largely unavailable. As such, female and nonbinary people of color have limited access to the financial security and career development that the tech industry offers.

The programming G{Code} offers is crucial for reducing the wealth and opportunity gaps that pervade our city. By tapping into Boston’s tech ecosystem, we not only enable young female and nonbinary people of color to attain economic mobility, we also diversify the industry and push for more innovative, inclusive tech products and solutions.

Tell us about your new project — G{Code} House.

The G{Code} House is a 5,000-square-foot home in the Roxbury community that will serve as an empowering communal living and learning space for young female and nonbinary folks of color committed to pivoting into careers in tech. With more than half of our current Intro to G{Code} cohort members having past experiences of homelessness or housing insecurity, the G{Code} House will address overarching barriers and allow cohorts to focus their energy on learning cutting edge technical skills, building professional networks, gaining internship experience, and transitioning into the workforce.

The G{Code} House programming is unique in its design, incorporating a cohort model to encourage peer-to-peer learning and mentorship while also fostering affirmation and ownership over each individual’s personal and professional success. Current Intro to G{Code} cohort members have also contributed to the design of the physical space itself, ensuring the colors, furnishings, and other elements of the house will reflect their needs, celebrate and honor the diversity of their backgrounds and cultures, and foster safety and belonging.

How might someone apply to join your program?

While we work toward our long-term vision at the G{Code} House, the G{Code} team runs a biannual introductory program called Intro to G{Code}. This is a free, part-time, low-risk opportunity for folks to uncover interest and aptitude in tech within a highly supportive environment (applications open one month prior to the start of each program). The program covers the fundamentals of web development and also includes workshops on personal and professional development topics like financial literacy, personal branding, physical wellness, and more. Many alums of the program continue on in their tech journeys with the support of the G{Code} community by participating in bootcamps, paid internships, and even landing full-time tech and tech-adjacent roles.

Are there volunteer opportunities? 

Yes! G{Code} relies on volunteers with engineering backgrounds to support our Intro to G{Code} program. These volunteers help to teach new material, host office hours, provide 1:1 individualized support, and more. We also call for volunteers to join us for various personal and professional development workshops throughout the year. Finally, volunteers can assist with administrative tasks to support our operations.

What do donations to G{Code} go toward?

Donations to G{Code} allow us to provide stipends for food, transportation, and tech equipment for our Intro to G{Code} cohort members, significantly reducing barriers to learning. Additionally and crucially, contributions enable us to move forward in renovating the G{Code} House. The renovation process will occur in stages, starting with the completion of the permitting process, then demolition and construction for the 2,000 square foot carriage house on the property that will serve as a tech center and community space, followed by renovation for the main house that will provide stable housing for up to 14 cohort members at a time. 

What does the future look like for G{Code} and G{Code} House? 

In the near term, G{Code} will continue running the Intro to G{Code} program while also working to renovate the G{Code} House in parallel. A near-term priority is to have the G{Code} House and additional intensive technical training in full operation. Looking beyond that, we expect to continue iterating on the G{Code} House model in our community and then look to replicate the model in other cities across the country.

Is there anything else our readers should know?

At G{Code} we strive to invest in the entirety of each individual. Instead of preparing our cohorts with only the necessary skills needed to land jobs in the tech industry, we focus on supporting their personal and professional development holistically. We believe this is the most effective way to prepare each individual to be successful in their careers long term. We also intentionally break down the typical teacher/student, mentor/mentee dynamics to encourage leading and learning from every member of our community with a focus on empathy, vulnerability, and trust. Finally, the design of our programming, and the G{Code} House itself, is led by a team of women of color with the direct input of our cohorts, and that ownership is key; we are creating spaces and programs through collaboration, centering the voices, needs, and goals of those we engage with at every turn.

Follow G{Code} here:

Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Website

Donate to G{Code} here.

Join us on June 23, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. as we go LIVE on Facebook with G{Code} and NEDC to discuss the G{Code} House project!

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