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Bank of America Senior Vice President Kim Vu and Washington State Opportunity Scholarship executive director Naria Santa Lucia kick off the Geeks Give Back program at the 2017 GeekWire Summit. (Photo by Dan DeLong for GeekWire)

This was the third year in a row that GeekWire teamed up with Bank of America to raise money for the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) during our Geeks Give Back campaign. And for the second year in a row, we were successful in raising more than $1 million.

We officially raised $1.1 million in our 2017 Geeks Give Back campaign. That’s a million Shekels. A million clams. One point one million Simoleons. Any way you look at it, that’s a whole lot of cheddar. And with it, we enabled the next generation of STEM leaders.

We chose the WSOS as the recipient of these donations for several reasons. First, the group supports a diverse population of students studying STEM in Washington state. More than half are women, 65 percent are students of color, and 68 percent are the first in their families to go to college. It feels awesome to enable these very worthy students.

The second reason we chose WSOS is that every dollar donated gets matched by the state of Washington. And the third reason: At this year’s Opportunity Knocks fundraising breakfast, The Rubens Family Foundation matched every donation above $250, effectively quadrupling the gift. Hence, one-point-one million big ones. I think we made the right choice.

Investor and entrepreneur Gary Rubens announces his matching support for Geeks Give Back at the GeekWire Summit 2016, along with Naria Santa Lucia. (Photo / GeekWire)

In 2017, we saw special programs designed to help those in need halted or taken away. When this happens the burden is on those more fortunate to pick up the slack. As a community of technologists, that means us. While the Geeks Give Back campaign has officially ended for 2017, you can still give to this righteous cause. Just click the link here and then the “donate now” button.

Thank you to all the geeks who gave back! Thank you to Bank of America for making Geeks Give Back possible. And thank you to all of our WSOS scholars who are studying hard to be the success stories that GeekWire writes about next.

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