Google Gives $1 Million Grant to Increase Representation of Young Black Men in Tech

Google is doling out a cool $1 million grant to an Oakland, Calif.-based organization that is dedicated to increasing representation of black male youth in tech.

The grant is just one of the company’s several attempts to do better when it comes to diversity.

The grant will be going to the Hidden Genius Project, which mentors young black men in technology creation, entrepreneurship and leadership skills. According to Justin Steele, a principal at, the funds will “help the organization grow into new cities, train more staff and expand their work to inspire more young people to pursue careers at the intersection of tech and their passions.”

In a blog post making the announcement, Steele noted:

Coding is evolving and influencing how we think about all industries, including fashion, music and art. But even as CS becomes more important across a wide variety of fields, millions of Black, Hispanic and female youth aren’t unlocking its benefits.

One reason behind a lack of representation is perception; according to our research with Gallup, students are five times more likely to take an interest in computer science if they often see people who look like them in that field. As we often say, “you have to see it to be it.”

I first met The Hidden Genius Project when they were finalists and then winners in our 2015 Google Impact Challenge. Since our initial $500,000 grant, they’ve reached more than 1,700 Bay Area students through their 15-month intensive CS and entrepreneurship bootcamp program, as well as events and workshops exposing young black men to mentors, basic computer programming and various careers in tech, like sports analytics and video game design.

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SOURCE: The Root, Breanna Edwards