Welcome StreetCode Academy: SV2’s newest Community Partner Grantee!

The mission of StreetCode Academy is to “empower communities of color to achieve their full potential by sharing the skills, mindsets and networks they need to embrace tech and innovation.” StreetCode desires to be the bridge between Silicon Valley and their community of East Palo Alto/Belle Haven and the BIPOC community at large through programming that addresses core barriers to inclusion by focusing on: 

  • MINDSET – the belief that one belongs in the tech world
  • SKILLS – the knowledge required to leverage the power of tech tools
  • ACCESS –  the networks that provide aspiring individuals inroads to tech careers 

StreetCode was founded in 2014 by Olatunde and Tamara Sobomehin on the realization, highlighted by Jesse Jackon in their college years, that the digital divide was the human rights issue of the time. They met at Stanford, both from Black communities and started volunteering in East Palo Alto (EPA) as undergrads. Racial justice is built into their organization and programming. StreetCode was originally a free tech coding provider for East Palo Alto students aged 16 to 20. Yet they soon had the key insight that technology is intergenerational, and because they believe in a holistic community approach, they have broadened their programming and offerings to make them available to family and community members (digital inclusion) throughout EPA and Belle Haven.

The pandemic further highlighted and intensified their mission and purpose. StreetCode pivoted to address families in profound need by providing access to technology to support distance learning. They have a partnership with the Ravenswood School District in EPA, providing laptops, hotspots, and tech support for Ravenswood school district students and their families through their Level Up program with local tech partners.

Join us in welcoming StreetCode Academy to the SV2 community! If you are interested in getting involved with StreetCode, please contact Amy Badiani at abadiani@sv2.org.

The Reimagining Education Equity in the COVID Recovery Grant Round — part of SV2’s local Pathways to Opportunity focus — looked at education approaches and organizations that are addressing the effects of the COVID pandemic and building toward more equitable education outcomes in the recovery.

The pandemic disproportionately affected low-income students and families, and both revealed and intensified inequitable academic outcomes for students from underrepresented groups. The focus of this Grant Round was to understand and solicit learning from those on the ground in the educational trenches regarding the state of education, what factors during the pandemic exacerbated inequity, and the interventions they highlighted to reimagine education post COVID with an eye on equity and addressing learning loss.

As part of SV2’s commitment to embedding an equity lens in our grantmaking practice, we designed the Grant Round based on insights from a variety of community stakeholders, especially those close to the ground and with lived experience. A Partner research team interviewed 22 stakeholders to give us perspective, identify levers for impact, and recommend nonprofits to consider. We also continued SV2’s application approach in which virtual “coffee chats” between small groups of Partners and nonprofit applicants take the place of written grant applications. As SV2 continues to implement Trust-Based Philanthropy into our grantmaking, we look forward to building on these practices going forward.