Code.org just raised another $12 million to help students around the world learn about computer science.
The Seattle-based non-profit on Monday announced the new funding, which comes from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Infosys Foundation USA — both previous backers — as well as PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Since launching in 2013, Code.org has reached 10 percent of all students worldwide with its annual Hour of Code campaign and provides computer science K-12 curriculum for large school districts across the U.S. The organization has raised $80 million to date from big-name donors like Microsoft, Facebook, and the Gates Foundation.
Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org and a longtime Seattle entrepreneur who founded Code.org with his brother, Ali, noted that the Gates Foundation “is widely respected for the thoroughness of their process when vetting the organizations they fund.”
“It’s a unique privilege to receive such a substantial grant from them,” Partovi told GeekWire.
The fresh funding will primarily help fund professional development and more curriculum. Code.org, which also helps change education policies and train teachers, employs nearly 70 people.
A vast majority of the $80 million raised to date has gone toward expanding access to computer science education for women and underrepresented minorities. At an event hosted by Code.org to kick off Computer Science Education Week, the organization announced today that there are now more than 10 million girls with student accounts on its platform. It noted that female students make up only 18 percent of university computer science graduates in the U.S.
Also at today’s event, Code.org announced new pledges by eight states, 76 school districts, and 102 organizations worldwide to expand computer science education. More than 50 percent of schools in the U.S. still don’t offer any computer science courses, it noted.
Some of the pledges include Florida investing $15 million to expand computer science opportunities in middle and high schools; Arkansas putting $500,000 to a new computer science stipend program for K-8 teachers; the launch of Computer Science for California, a new campaign to get computer science in all California schools by 2025; and the United Kingdom putting £100 million in its 2018 budget to train 8,000 new computer science teachers in secondary schools and establish a new National Centre for Computing Education.
“While significant work remains ahead, today’s pledges, dedication, and support reflect unprecedented global momentum behind the vision that every student in every school deserves the opportunity to learn computer science,” Partovi said in a statement.
A recent New York Times article about Code.org noted that President Donald Trump’s “efforts to limit immigration make Code.org’s teach-Americans-to-code agenda even more attractive to the industry.”
Other backers of Code.org include Amazon; Google; Ballmer Family Giving; Omidyar Network; Vista Equity Partners; and more. People like Bill Gates; Jeff Bezos; Reid Hoffman; and others have also contributed individually. Even former President Barack Obama and celebrities like Serena Williams and Russell Wilson have put their support behind the program.
Code.org has faced criticism in its four-year history, particularly with folks wondering if all students really need to learn how to code, or describing Code.org as “pop computing.” Partovi addressed many of these concerns early on with this blog post.