Here is some fantastic news to close out Pride Month: Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and his wife philanthropist Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen are giving $250,000 to two organizations that support LGBT people in tech.
According to USA Today, the Andreessens are supporting Trans*H4CK, which holds hackathons to develop new products for the trans and gender nonconforming community, and Lesbians Who Tech, a group that holds networking and educational events around the world.
Lesbians Who Tech was also featured in our “Out in Tech” article about diversity. As we reported, funding is considered “murky” for the LGBT community because federal guidelines do not recognize them as an “underrepresented minority.”
“We are just thrilled that there are two such high potential organizations that already have demonstrated measurable impact that we can support to create an even broader sense of inclusion in the technology sector,” Arrillaga-Andreessen told USA Today, adding that the couple’s philanthropy “reflects their aspirations for the world their infant son is growing up in.”
While many tech companies took part in this past weekend’s Pride events, there is still a lack of information about how inclusive the world of tech is for the LGBT community.
“The reality is that we don’t have any real data on whether or not LGBTQ people face discrimination in Silicon Valley and we need that data,” Lesbian Who Tech’s founder Leanne Pittsford told USA Today. “We do know that women and people of color are underrepresented here and obviously queer women are accounted for within that community.”
USA Today reports that Lesbians Who Tech plans to use its $165,000 grant for two pilot programs: Bring a Lesbian to Work Day for mentoring and job shadowing, and a Coding Scholarship Fund. Trans*H4CK’s $85,000 grant will go toward creating an online hackathon space and education center to help the group build more apps for the trans community.