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Seventh-grade humanities teacher Carlito Umali explains a homework assignment to his students at TAF Academy. (GeekWire Photo / Lisa Stiffler)

The GeekWire Anniversary Bash on Thursday will feature plenty of fast-moving dodgeball, ping pong and foosball action. But it will also be a place to showcase some of the amazing work of more than a dozen GeekWire Impact Partners, non-profit organizations that are making the Seattle community stronger through innovative programs related to education, science, leadership and inclusion.

We’re thrilled to welcome these non-profit groups, and excited to connect them to the more than 1,500 attendees. This new effort at the GeekWire Bash dovetails on GeekWire’s weekly Impact Series, an in-depth editorial series that showcases people and innovations that are making a positive difference in peoples’ lives and the health of the planet. Started four years ago, the series focuses on the intersection of technology in health, education, environment, science research, homelessness and women and minority issues. It is underwritten by the Singh Family Foundation.

Over the years, we’ve covered everything from using drones to study the Northwest’s beloved orcas to profiles of tech leaders who are immigrants to a scrappy after-school program for low-income kids to the Pacific Science Center’s startup-inspired reinvention.

Make sure to check out our Impact Partners at the GeekWire Bash on Thursday, and hear how they are harnessing tech for good. More details on the GeekWire 7th Anniversary Bash here.

Here’s a look at this year’s Impact Partners with links to past coverage and more information:

Ada Developers Academy

Founded in 2013, Ada targets women and gender diverse people for technology training. The tuition-free program provides six months of full-time classroom training followed by a five-month, paid  internship in a tech job. Ada has 246 students and alums, with more than 95 percent of graduates landing software jobs.

Mission statement: “Ada Developers Academy’s mission is to diversify tech by providing women and gender diverse people the skills, experience and community support to become professional software developers who contribute to changing the world with software.”

As seen in GeekWire: Ada Developers Academy coverage here, here and here.

Engage: Companies can host Ada graduates.

Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST)

The nonprofit BEST offers training and consulting to help businesses stop sex-trafficking in their workplace and among employees. Their work includes preventing employees from engaging as customers in sex-trafficking. The BEST Employers Alliance is the first U.S. public-private partnership to work across industries to prevent sex trafficking and sex buying.

Mission statement: “Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking strives to create a world in which no one is trafficked. BEST believes that every person has the right to be free from sexual exploitation and forced labor.”

As seen in GeekWire: Find BEST coverage here.

Engage: Get training for your staff and join the Employers Alliance.

ChickTech Seattle

ChickTech Seattle serves girls, women and gender non-conforming people in the greater Puget Sound region. Their K-12 programs seek students who don’t naturally see themselves as likely to succeed in technology. Adult programming targets those launching new careers as well as seasoned professionals, and includes events and conferences to build technical and professional expertise in a supportive community. ChickTech Seattle also works with companies eager to create a more empowered and inclusive workplace.

Mission statement: “ChickTech is dedicated to retaining women in the technology workforce and increasing the number of women and girls pursuing technology-based careers.”

As seen in GeekWire: Find ChickTech Seattle coverage here.

Engage: Find volunteer information here.

Greater Foundation

Former Seattle Seahawks lineman Russell Okung launched the Greater Foundation in 2016. The nonprofit is focused on providing tech experiences for at-risk youth, with programs featuring Lego Robotics, Apple Swift coding, developing leadership skills and professional development for young adults, particularly student athletes.

Mission statement: “The Greater Foundation is guided by the spirit of innovation, equality, diversity, and inclusion, equipping students from all backgrounds for 21st century opportunities. Focusing on under-served communities in Seattle and beyond, Greater deploys high-impact educational programs and experiences with influential leaders in their community and cutting-edge technology.”

As seen in GeekWire: Find Greater Foundation coverage here and here.

Engage: Find mentoring opportunities here.

Kal Academy

Launched in 2011 by tech industry veterans, the nonprofit Kal Academy is a low-cost coding bootcamp for women and minorities. The classes are offered on weekends, limited to 20 students and cost $35. Kalpana Viswanathan (Kal), a female, software industry veteran and current Microsoft employee teaches the classes.The nonprofit has helped place more than 200 women in tech jobs.

Mission statement: “Our mission is to make it easier for women to build a career in the tech industry and increase diversity which is critical for innovation. We do that by providing women with affordable, accessible and relevant training and certification, that offers lucrative career growth opportunities.”

As seen in GeekWire: Find Kal Academy coverage here.

Engage: Kal Academy is looking for corporate partners.

Latino Community Fund

The fund’s Latinos in Tech program meets on the second Monday of every month to network, collaborate and learn about upcoming opportunities in the technology sector. The group hosts a social mixer at the end of each month. The program, part of the group’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, has close to 500 participants. Their 2018 kick-off mixer was sponsored by Amazon, and the event this month is sponsored by the Climate Corporation.

Mission statement: “The Latino Community Fund cultivates new leaders, supports cultural and community based non-profit organizations, and improves the quality of life for all Washingtonians. To achieve its mission and address the needs of Latinos, LCF develops programs to create a vibrant community through civic engagement, economic empowerment, healthy families, arts, technology and culture.”

As seen in GeekWire: Coverage of Latino Community Fund is here.

Engage: Find volunteer information here.

Pacific Science Center

Launched in 1962 at the close of Seattle’s World’s Fair, the Science Center offers educational, exploratory experiences for all ages. The nonprofit is home to interactive exhibits, IMAX theaters and a laser dome, and also brings educational programs into schools statewide. The Science Center provides training for youth interested in science education and hosts adult-oriented talks featuring local experts in health, science and transportation.

Mission statement: “Pacific Science Center ignites curiosity in every child and fuels a passion for discovery, experimentation, and critical thinking in all of us. We bring science to life. Our award-winning, interactive programs reach more than 1.1 million people each year — in their communities, classrooms and on our campus.”

As seen in GeekWire: Science Center coverage is here and here.

Engage: Become a member or volunteer.

Rainier Scholars

Rainier Scholars aims to increase college graduation rates for low-income students of color through intensive academic preparation, leadership development and personalized support. Over the course of 12 years, the program helps individual students — 90 percent of whom come from families in which they are the first to earn a four-year degree — build critical thinking skills, embrace cultural identity and develop resilience. The nonprofit has serves more than 700 students annually and has facilitated more than 500 professional internships.

Mission statement: “Rainier Scholars cultivates the academic potential and leadership skills of hardworking, low-income students of color. By creating access to transformational educational opportunities and providing comprehensive support to scholars and families, we increase college graduation rates and empower new generations of leaders.”

As seen in GeekWire: Coverage including Rainier Scholars is here.

Engage: Find information on business partnerships and volunteering.

Techbridge Girls

This 18-year-old nonprofit brings technology to girls who might otherwise miss out on STEM opportunities in school and as careers. The group was founded in the San Francisco Bay area and four years ago launched a Seattle chapter. Techbridge Girls offers school curriculum and resources for families.

Mission statement: “Techbridge Girls excites, educates and equips girls from low-income communities by delivering high-quality STEM programming that empowers a girl to achieve economic mobility and better life chances.”

As seen in GeekWire: Find Techbridge Girls coverage here.

Engage: Find volunteer information here.

TAF (Technology Access Foundation)

TAF has been serving students of color for 22 years through an unusual nonprofit-public school partnership. TAF has its own school (formerly TAF Academy and now called TAF@Saghalie), runs after school programs, trains teachers and is helping establish their STEM-focused program at other public schools. TAF graduates have 100 percent college acceptance rates.

Mission statement: “TAF aims to equip students of color for success in college and in life through the power of an interdisciplinary STEM education and supportive relationships.”

As seen in GeekWire: TAF coverage is here and here.

Engage: TAF is looking for corporate partners.

Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS)

Founded in 2011, WSOS supports Washington students from low- and middle-income families who are seeking bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and health care. Students receive scholarships of up to $22,500 as well as professional development, skills-building workshops and industry exposure. WSOS is funded by donors including founding partners Boeing and Microsoft and matching dollars from the state budget.

Mission statement: “The Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) is a unique, public-private partnership that provides low- and middle-income students with financial assistance, career services and other student supports. WSOS is committed to preparing our students to be the face of Washington’s workforce by reducing barriers to earning degrees in high-demand science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and health care fields.”

As seen in GeekWire: Coverage of WSOS is here and here.

Engage: Find volunteer and partnership opportunities here.

Year Up

In 2011, Year Up launched Puget Sound chapters in Bellevue and Seattle. The nonprofit offers year-long, intensive training programs for low-income young adults that includes hands-on skills development, coursework eligible for college credit, corporate internships and professional support. The 18-year-old nonprofit was founded in Boston.

Mission statement: “Year Up’s mission is to close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.”

As seen in GeekWire: Find Year Up coverage here and here.

Engage: Year Up is looking for mentors, tutors and guest speakers.

We’re looking forward to working together with each of these non-profit partners, and we hope you’ll get a chance to engage with them at the GeekWire Bash. For more information about the Impact Partners of Impact Series, email us at

A big thanks to the 2018 GeekWire Bash title sponsor: First Tech Federal Credit Union.

Also, thanks to Xiamen Air, the zipline sponsor; Avalara, the arcade sponsor; OfferUp, the sumo wrestling sponsor; T-Mobile, the dodgeball tournament sponsor; Sirqul, a bar sponsor; CenturyLink, our VR zone sponsor; and ChefSteps, our Joule cooking sponsor.

And thanks to our silver sponsors MozBellevue CollegeEY, Capital OnePerkins CoieBig FishTechPowerQualtricsRealSelf, and Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt.
And to our partners: DomainToolsAIEZipwhipPlayImpossibleMox Boarding HouseSounders FC and Skytap.
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