4 big ideas awarded $40 million from Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott to advance women – because equality can’t wait

Billionaire philanthropists Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott have formed the ultimate dream team, awarding tens of millions to advance girls and women this week.

“The awardees are strong teams working on the front lines and from within communities to help women build power in their lives and careers,” MacKenzie Scott said. This is not the first time she has given directly to nonprofits.

Last year, her team took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital. She gifted over $4 billion in four months to the 384 organizations listed in her blog post.

“We can break the patterns of history and advance gender equality, but we must commit to lifting up organizations, like the ones receiving awards today, that are ready to lift up women and girls.” – Melinda French Gates

Here are the four winning ideas, each awarded $10 million grant:

💡  Building Women’s Equality through Strengthening the Care Infrastructure: National Domestic Workers Alliance & Caring Across Generations

A cross-movement coalition of organizations transforming antiquated attitudes around caregiving as unpaid work to establish a publicly supported care infrastructure — National Domestic Workers Alliance organizes domestic workers in the United States for respect, recognition and labor standards, and Caring Across Generations connects across generations to strengthen family and caregiving relationships.

💡  Changing the Face of Tech: Ada Academy

Ada Academy offers a cost-free software developer academy for women and gender expansive folks. With the grant, the nonprofit will expand their immersive training and internship program creating pathways for thousands of women and gender expansive people into impactful software development careers.

💡  Project Accelerate: Girls Inc

The nonprofit Girls Inc proposes “Project Accelerate” — accelerating young women’s trajectories through college and career entry, leveraging partnerships with corporations and social impact organizations to ensure their preparation and access to positions of influence. Project Accelerate aims to lift 5,400 diverse women into corporate positions of power and influence, shifting the equity landscape for generations.

💡  The Future is Indigenous Womxn: New Mexico Community Capital & Native Women Lead

 The Future is Indigenous Womxn is a project to support and scale impactful businesses owned by Native womxn. An established coalition between New Mexico Community Capital and Native Women Lead will deliver a culturally relevant solution to the gender and racial wealth gap — scaling impactful businesses owned by Native womxn to create a waterway of investable companies. Their growth will increase power and influence within their families and unlock potential for wealth creation through community employment opportunities. In addition, the national investment landscape will be assessed through an Indigenous lens, engaging investors to remove systemic blocks Indigenous people face. 

The “Equality Can’t Wait” challenge will award additional funding to two finalists, and feature top ideas on the new Equality Can’t Wait Idea Lab website. We can’t wait!

Girl Geek X Community ADOPTED a public Oakland high school for the 2021-2022 school year!

We have ADOPTED a public Oakland school starting in the pandemic 2021-2022 school year, serving students grades 6-12.

Our goal is to support students at Coliseum College Prep Academy in Oakland, California serving grades 6-12 with a computer science pathway, by providing access to role models from the professional community for these students. 

CCPA has the highest college-going rate in the district despite being located in one of Oakland’s highest poverty neighborhoods. 

If your employer wants to Adopt an Oakland School for the upcoming school year, please email osv@oaklandfund.org.

Girl Geek X CCPA Volunteering School Year in Review 2021-2022:

Thank you to our volunteers for August 2021 BACK-TO-SCHOOL support of CCPA teachers in East Oakland. Here’s a group pic we remembered to snag before we spent the afternoon helping teachers prepare their classrooms and hallways for back-to-school reopening! (Read more)

Thank you to our volunteers for November 2021 CAREER PANEL for CCPA students! Volunteers shared invaluable career advice with 11th and 12th graders about showing up, making connections, and more. (Read more)

Thank you to our volunteers for December 2021 support of CCPA senior capstone projects in Oakland. (Read more)

senior capstones april

Thank you to our volunteers on April 26, 2022 who attended Day 1 of Senior Capstone Project Presentations. (Read more)

ccpa april girl geek x volunteers

Thank you to our volunteers on April 27, 2022 who attended Day 2 of Senior Capstone Project Presentations. (Read more)

girl geek x ccpa teacher appreciation may anthonys cookies

May 11, 2022 Teacher Appreciation Luncheon at Coliseum College Prep Academy in East Oakland with Anthony’s Cookies and Girl Geek X goodie bags. (More pictures)

This partnership is facilitated by Oakland Public Education Fund, a non-profit connecting groups with schools to make a positive impact on school culture and student achievement through relevant and meaningful volunteer projects.

  1. August 6, 2021 (1pm-4pm): BACK TO SCHOOL SUPPORT
    Girl Geek X volunteers helped school staff prepare for reopening by redoing bulletin boards, arranging classrooms, etc.
  2. November 12, 2021 (10am-12pm): CAREER PANEL
    Girl Geek X volunteers from Amazon, Microsoft, Planet, and Afresh spoke about careers in tech during 11th and 12th grade seminar.
    Students shared around the websites and apps that they’re building, and gathered feedback from Girl Geek X volunteers, who encouraged their ideas.
  4. Friday, March 25, 2022 (10:30am-12noon): HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER PROGRAMS & JOB FAIR
    Introduce students to your opportunities this summer!
    Can’t attend on March 25 but have summer internships or programs? Please share them with the school’s career services director via this Google Form so she can direct students to your opportunities – thank you!
  5. Tuesday or Wednesday, April 26-27, 2022 (4pm-6pm): SENIOR PROJECT PRESENTATION
    The school would like to invite as many volunteers that are interested in attending and providing feedback. The students voiced that they enjoyed having professional feedback and this is the perfect opportunity! Give crucial feedback on students’ Senior Capstones  (apps that address a need in the community).
  6. Wednesday, May 11, 2022: TEACHER APPRECIATION
    Girl Geek X is buying lunch for educators to say thank you for all that they do. We also assembled goodie bags for the educators, with supplies for the classroom and self care.

Girl Geek X volunteers must PRE-REGISTER WITH OAKLAND PUBLIC EDUCATION FUND for each volunteer activity and provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination.

  1. In the “More About You” section, it says “Choose the Option that Best Describes You”. Volunteers should select “Adopt an Oakland School Partner“.
  2. Once you click that, another question pops up asking “Where do you work / where are you affiliated?”. Volunteers should write “Girl Geek X
  3. Look out for an e-signature email (subject line “Verify: Signed Response for Form “One-Time Volunteer Registration”) and you have to sign that form as Covid-19 liability waiver.

Case Study: Mode CTO Heather Rivers builds employer brand, boosts employee morale with Girl Geek Dinner

“We wanted to host a fun office event, and also give our employees an opportunity to do some public speaking in a really safe, supportive environment. They had so much fun. It was such a great event!” said CTO Heather Rivers, who leads engineering, product, design, and security at Mode. Hiring and recruiting talent is one of her priorities as an engineering leader in the San Francisco Bay Area, and she attributes Girl Geek Dinner as influential to multiple engineering hires!

Company: Mode (Industry:  B2B software, Employees: 100-500)
Funding Stage: $46.4M total raised – Series C (2019) 
Event Capacity: 130 (Tickets Sold: 271)
Successful Hiring: 2 (1 sourced, 1 influenced within 4 months post-event; expecting more long-term)

Mode CTO Heather Rivers sponsored the Mode Girl Geek Dinner with objectives in mind: Get our name out there, get brand exposure, do a really fun event, have the community here in our office, etc. It was a great opportunity to showcase our culture! We expect it to pay off longer term. A couple years later, these attendees will remember being in our office for this great event and they’ll come back to work with us, or they’ll go out and tell friends about us.”

How Girl Geek X partnership fit into the bigger recruiting & inclusion strategy

 “It was great for engineering — and not just engineering, but employer brand awareness. Hiring in technology is competitive here in the San Francisco Bay Area, so we always have to be doing more — and we’re always trying new stuff to get our name out there and get candidates engaged,” said CTO Heather Rivers about how Girl Geek X contributed to Mode’s successful engineering recruiting plan.

Advice for folks PLANNING a Girl Geek Dinner

 “Invest in the talks and the event experience! If we had thrown it together last minute, we may not have gotten nearly as much out of it, and folks may not have been as interested in following up to learn about the roles we’re hiring for. We created a lot of community goodwill with attendees who recognized the effort we put into making it a great experience,” said Mode CTO Heather Rivers.

The Mode Girl Geek Dinner was rewarded with high attendee rating, and earned rave reviews for excellent content.

Advice for women ATTENDING a Girl Geek Dinner

“Get to know the people there. Make a point to talk to speakers and employees. Make connections! We invited attendees in our hiring pipeline (women who were considering joining the team, or even who we were just hoping to influence to apply). One signed after the dinner, and it’s not clear she would have signed if she hadn’t experienced the event. Another candidate who heard about us from the Girl Geek Dinner was hired as well. She is now an engineer at Mode!” said CTO Heather Rivers after the Mode Girl Geek Dinner yielded two successful engineering hires.

Girl Geek X Mode = increased employee morale!

“An important side benefit or happy accident: our Girl Geek Dinner was a fun internal event! It was great for morale-building and reinforces with the team that we’re part of the community here at Mode, not isolated. It was great for retention. People were thrilled with it. Overall, it was a great experience! I’m already recommending it to everyone I know. You should host one! encouraged Mode CTO Heather Rivers.

Subscribe to Girl Geek X’s YouTube channel for events and talks!

If you’re interested in learning more about partnering with Girl Geek X, keep on reading about the ways you too can become a sponsor of a Girl Geek Dinner or Elevate Conference!