Rising Tide's Technology for Millennials of Color (T-MOC) Initiative

This project is focused on tapping and directing technology's power, speed and broad reach to dissolve entrenched, socioeconomc disparities.

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Eligibility

  • I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
  • I am over 18 years of age
  • My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
  • I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
  • My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States

Gender

  • Woman

Where are you making a difference?

Boston, Massachusetts, 02125

Focus Areas (required)

  • Business & Social Enterprise
  • Children & Youth
  • Civic Engagement
  • Development & Prosperity
  • Human Rights & Equality
  • Peace & Harmonious Relations

Date Started

July 2017

Organization Type

  • hybrid

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

Budget

  • $50k - $100k

1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.

On Boston's red line last spring, just after 3 in the afternoon, when cars are always packed, i was sitting across from a group of jock-type high school students. An older African American male with a cane entered. When he asked two young jocks watching cell phone videos to squeeze together a bit so he could sit, they spread their legs wider, denying him space. They were focused on the technology in their hands, which gave them a sense of power and isolation. The give-and-take of emotional connection which seems to be waning in the context of the increasing presence and possibility of technology and its emphasis on routine and sameness led me to consider how technology might be harnessed to extend empathy, not deny and punish the outsider.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Boston has a huge economic gap between races. The Boston Globe cites a median net worth for Black households as $8, versus $247, 500 for White households, a gap exacerbated by escalating housing costs and few good job options. Millenials of color are hit hard by these issues. They want to help build a more equitable city, and gain access to jobs in the burgeoning high tech sector--an industry in which people of color are vastly underrepresented.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Drawing on ties to UMass Boston, Rising Tide's TMOC will support millennials of color to access high-tech jobs and become leaders for a more equitable city. We will work with: 1) UMB's University Internships Office to connect participants to internships to help them gain skills, experience, and relationships to access high tech positions; 2) UMB's Venture Development Center to train participants in entrepreneurial skills and support start-up dreams; and 3) alumni and community networks to build mentoring relationships with experienced leaders, activists and professionals. Resources will be tailored to participants' needs, supporting their goals for financial well-being, leadership, and civic engagement. For this challenge, TMOC is partnering with two community-based groups. G-Code House (G-Code) teaches coding to young women of color from low-income backgrounds, providing them with a stable home base from which to gain confidence, skills, and networks to launch tech careers that improve their financial well being. The Fenix Collective is a multicultural group of young coders and organizers working to promote mastery of technology as a means of advancement for communities of color.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.

G-Code is designed to help young women of color between the ages of 18-25, who have an interest and/or aptitude for computers or technology but do not know how to develop their interest or understand the opportunities. G-Code is a program for up to 15 young women who will live and study together in a 5,000 square foot home in the community. This co-living environment helps address many of the challenges these women face such as housing, education, and support, while it helps minimize outside distractions. The program consists of nine months of in-class training, six months of an internship, and nine months of specialty training, e.g., cyber security. Rising Tide's TMOC initiative in partnership with G-Code offers these young women opportunities for much-needed internships, training, and mentoring that help them prepare for three possible pathways: tech jobs, college, or entrepreneurship.

5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?

Boston's millennials of color must struggle with systemic racism and extreme economic inequality as they try to build successful lives and make their city more equitable and inclusive. They receive little support to attain financial well-being or build their leadership and resilience. Our work, at Rising Tide, brings younger and older generations together to help millennials of color meet these challenges, with a focus on high tech skills, jobs, and entrepreneurship, as critical to these goals.

5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:

  • immigration status
  • work status
  • language
  • race/ethnicity
  • gender
  • age - youth
  • socio-economic class

6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Boston, a majority minority city with the largest population of millennials in the country, has many programs (e.g., Boys and Girls Clubs, City School, Hyde Sq. Task Force) that train youth of color as leaders and prepare them for successful lives. However, after high school, such support dwindles. RT focuses on millennials of color and supports them to develop their leadership, interests and skills using technology as a lever. Our intergenerational approach supports participants to become economically literate and successful while contributing as assets to the city and the economy as a whole.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

1)Highlighting and giving voice to the concerns, needs and potential of millennials of color as emerging leaders capable of promoting greater equity and inclusion in Boston. 2) Bringing together a core group of participants committed to building the initiative through activities such as grant writing and fundraising, curriculum development and community outreach. 3) Developing an intergenerational model through which a cohort of veteran activists and changemakers are engaged in mentoring and supporting a younger generation. 4) Creating partnerships between UMass Boston and community-based organizations with a stake in strengthening the financial well-being, resilience and freedom of millennials of color and their communities in Boston. 5) Generating a sense with millennials of color that there is a platform that they can shape to address their visions for financial freedom and success.

8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?

Winning this challenge would enable RT to add staff to promote TMOC, including entrepreneurial and educational, skill-sharing tech workshops for inter-generational community members; training participants as trainers and mentors for incoming cohorts; expanding RT's range of partners and stakeholders, including tech sector businesses and organizations; increasing visibility in the city for RT, TMOC, and its partners; organizing conferences and forums that bring together current and potential participants, partners and mentors; and feature inspiring speakers who broaden participants' horizons.

8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?

  • Organizational Growth
  • Large Scale Partnerships
  • Trainings, Consultation

9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Seed money from local foundations supports RT, and it is reaching out to additional funders and to tech companies seeking a diverse workforce. As participants gain in skill, they will offer training and consultation to the community, with proceeds supporting the program. An annual fundraiser will showcase TMOC achievements, increasing visibility. A risk is funders' lack of understanding of systemic obstacles millennials of color face. Our materials will stress the value of supporting this group.

10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Barbara Lewis, Ph.D., full-time Trotter Institute Director, oversees RT as a nexus of community engagement for UMB. Jacqui Lindsay, principal, Innovation by Design, which advises social change organizations nationally, is the TMOC project manager. Partner liaisons are Bridgette Wallace, MBA, co-founder and co-director of G Code and co-creator of hi-tech incubator Skylab, and Vonds DuBuisson, founder of the Fenix Collective, an organizer building cross-cultural ventures for economic independence.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 - Which of the following categories do you identify with? (optional)

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 - Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities? (optional)

  • Communities of color

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Word of mouth

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Photo of Janet Xiao

I really appreciated the interweaving of tech and entrepreneurship skill-building with leadership development towards building equity!