Entertainment Software Association donates $1 million to support Black Girls Code

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The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and its philanthropic arm, the ESA Foundation, is supporting Black Girls Code with $1 million for education and mentorship programs for girls and young women interested in technology.

The initiative reinforces Black Girls Code’s mission to teach coding and tech skills to 1 million girls and young women by 2040. And it helps ESA recruit more diverse people to learn create games and learn science, technology, engineering, art and math. (TO SMOKE).

“We’re really excited that this expands a lot of opportunities to learn more and help each of their Chapters that we work with,” ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said in an interview with GamesBeat. “And our members are thrilled because they’re located in so many different cities across the country, which allows many of our members and others to participate as mentors.”

While women have made strides in technology and gaming, there is still work to be done. The National Girls Collaborative Project said women only earn 18% of computer science bachelor’s degrees in the United States. Although women make up 47% of all employed adults in the United States, they fill only 25% of IT roles, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). And, of the 25% of women working in tech, black and Hispanic women made up just 3% and 1%, respectively.


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Above: Stanley Pierre-Louis is CEO of the Entertainment Software Association.

Image credit: ESA

The ESA Foundation, which has awarded more than 400 college scholarships since 2007, will work with Black Girls Code chapters in several US cities, including: Dallas; Houston; Los Angeles; New York; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C. The multi-year commitment includes direct financial support as well as investments in volunteer time and other industry resources to support programs, workshops and mentorship with many of the world’s most recognized brands. world.

ESA Foundation Executive Director Anastasia Staten said in an interview that the effort this summer will not involve in-person programs, but there will be plenty of online education.

“We’re going to be able to roll it out to seven chapters and then to virtually every girl in every chapter who wants to take part in workshops and studio tours,” Staten said. “It really is a great organization.”

Founder Kimberly Bryant started Black Girls Code in 2011 in Oakland, California to get her daughter and other girls interested in programming. Her daughter wanted to understand how video games are made. Now her daughter is going to college and Black Girls Code now operates in 15 cities across the country and in South Africa. It introduces computer programming and technology to girls ages 7-17 from underrepresented communities by offering workshops, hackathons, and after-school programs. The group has reached over 20,000 girls to date.

Kimberly Bryant is the founder of Black Girls Code.

Above: Kimberly Bryant is the founder of Black Girls Code.

Image Credit: Black Girls Code

“When I was younger and involved in activities involving games and technology, I was the only person in the room who looked like me,” said Sloane Miller, ESA Foundation Fellow and student at the North Carolina A&T State University which participated in Black Girls Code programs for three years, in a statement. “Black Girls Code taught me that I could combine my love of video games with my passion for technology and develop skills that I can use in college and in my career.”

ESA’s goal is to help Black Girls Code fund an interactive education and mentorship program in seven US cities. The goal is to help 7,000-10,000 girls of color in underserved communities prepare for STEAM careers in the gaming and tech industries. Gaming companies will play an important role in the effort with funding, resources, and hands-on mentorship.

Anastasia Staten is Executive Director of the ESA Foundation.

Above: Anastasia Staten is Executive Director of the ESA Foundation.

Image credit: ESA Foundation

“One of the things we’re really focused on is building infrastructure, with Black Girls Code, which includes starting to create programs for workshops, setting up formal mentoring opportunities and agreements. with ESA member companies,” Staten said. “We can also create meaningful experiences for so many professionals who want to be mentors and volunteers, to help these young women find their way, celebrate their own successes, as they develop skills around technology and, hopefully to give an introduction to the video game industry.

I asked Pierre-Louis, who spoke at our recent Diversity and Metaverse-themed Metaverse event, about plans for the digital Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), but he wasn’t ready. to talk about it. We’ll talk about it next time.

“We were thrilled to partner with them and our foundation because of Anastasia’s work in creating scholarship opportunities for minorities and women,” said Pierre-Louis. “We can provide opportunities for them to learn about our industry, learn about skills and introduce them to our industries, but also provide opportunities for our industry to partner with them as mentors, guest speakers and mentors. So we’re excited to help propel what they do.

The ESA has also just announced its support for a fellowship with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, D.C.

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Helen D. Jessen