Educational Institutions

CENTER FOR MEDIA CHANGE INC

Youth learning tech by helping small business

aka Hack the Hood

Oakland, CA

Mission

Hack the Hood's mission is to empower under-resourced youth of color with the knowledge, skills, and relationships they need to pursue careers in tech. By offering mentorship, culturally-relevant knowledge, and 21st-century skills, we believe youth can become creators of change in their communities. Through our six-week bootcamp, youth learn to build websites for local small business clients. Through our year-round Alumni Membership Program, youth get ongoing case management, career coaching, peer community, further professional and technical training, and networking support. To date, Hack the Hood bootcamps and workshops have trained over 250 youth to build websites for over 500 small local businesses.

Notes from the Nonprofit

Our current evaluation system relies on survey responses, and we focus these efforts on our direct service in Oakland. 72% of Oakland youth surveyed responded. This include youth enrolled in programs in Oakland from April 2016 to April 2017 (which includes enrollments from Bootcamp Summer 2016, Membership Jan-Mar 2017, Bootcamp Spring 2017)

100% of survey respondents reported positive outcomes, including:
21 persisted education (4 in college, 17 in high school)
4 reported enrolling in college
1 enrolled in classes to complete GED
6 reported employment
4 reported starting/completing at least 1 internship
7 reported starting/completing at least 1 training

Over 60% of our youth were high school student during our programming. All youth we continue to track have either graduated or persist in high school. We continue to serve many of these youth through after school programs and coaching, as well as helping connect to tutoring and college scholarship opportunities.

Ruling Year

2007

CEO and Co-Founder

Ms. Susan Mernit

Chief Education Officer

Zakiya Harris

Main Address

900 Alice St., Suite 300 Suite 1

Oakland, CA 94607 USA

Keywords

Youth development, technology development, entrepreneurship, innovation , STEM, computer science, equity

EIN

68-0632366

 Number

1448687059

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Student Services and Organizations (B80)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Hack the Hood connects low-income young people of color and local small businesses through technology, in order to create opportunities for all the people who live in the Bay Area, and beyond, to take part in and lead the change that is happening around them.
Our programs model the change we wish to see in the world, equipping youth with a toolbox of skills, confidence, and connections to help them flourish in any career that they choose and support partners in doing this work.
Hack the Hood's programs are geared to low-income youth of color ages 16-25 whom are under-represented in the Tech industry and who face significant barriers. Examples of barriers include poverty, racial bias, history of trauma or experiencing/witnessing violence, attending schools with limited funding and opportunities, involvement in the foster care system, lack of mentorship or professional role models, and low-levels of general economic opportunities in their community.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Hack the Hood Bootcamp

Membership Program

Hack the Hood Tech Fellowship

Train the Trainer & Network Support

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Technology skills and literacy are fundamental to professional success in the 21st century, yet our school system has failed to equip young low-income 16 to 24 years old youth of color, and especially foster youth, with the skills and knowledge they'll need to enter careers in the tech industry, or technology roles in other industries.
Hack the Hood started in 2012 when we received Google Ventures funding for a pilot program to engage adult volunteers to improve the web presence of 75 small, local businesses in low-income neighborhoods. In 2013, we launched our first 6-week summer boot camp for youth with a three-year grant secured from the City of Oakland. In that first summer, 18 youth built 65 websites for small businesses. We applied for the 2014 Google Bay Area Impact Challenge and were selected as a finalist out of 1,000 applicants, and ultimately as a winner of the online voting challenge which drew almost 200,000 voters from around the globe, resulting in a $500,000 award from Google.

The highly visible Google Challenge springboarded Hack the Hood's efforts to codify and replicate our bootcamp model in partnership with on-the-ground partners outside of Oakland. In 2015 we piloted our train-the-trainer model with 3 partners who replicated our bootcamp in their communities: Richmond, East Palo Alto, and Watsonville, CA. In 2016, we expanded our train the trainer footprint across Northern California, working with 10 organizations to replicate Hack the Hood bootcamps in San Francisco, East Palo Alto, San Jose, Gilroy, Merced, Modesto, and Watsonville. Partners included: TeenForce and Silicon Valley Children's Fund, Project YES, Empower, Digital NEST, Bayview Hunters Point YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula, Collective Impact, and the Vietnamese Youth Development Center. In the Fall of 2016 we launched the pilot of our year-round Membership program, and starting in 2017, we will start to distribute the year-round model through the same network of partners.

To date, Hack the Hood bootcamps and workshops have trained over 600 youth to build websites for over 650 small local businesses. Our evaluation framework was designed by Rockman Associates and Public Profit to measure program engagement and effectiveness of our model in changing education and career outcomes for youth. We measure six specific areas of youth achievement and development:
Mastery of technical and soft skills
Success in professional environments
Confidence and efficacy of control, including goal-setting
Persistence in education and training,
Increase in income
Navigational capital: ability to network and navigate the tech ecosystem.

We use the following strategies:

1) Real-world, project-based learning - in our bootcamps, youth build actual websites for small business owners in their community, then go on to study coding, digital marketing, and social entrepreneurship before moving into college, an alternative certification program, or a job.

2) Culturally-competent curriculum and staff with high engagement with youth: 92% of all enrolled youth complete our programs.,

3) Career Exposure- we introduce youth to tech professionals working at top tech companies, as well as taking youth to company campuses so they can witness first hand the work environment and provide internships/apprenticeships and coaching

4) Coaching and Career Development: Bootcamp participants continue to work with Hack the Hood to pursue their educational and career goals after graduation. We are developing an online community, advanced skills workshops and leadership development, networking and career exposure events, group and individual learning projects, career coaching, case management, and application assistance and placement in jobs, internships, higher education, and vocational training programs.
5) Life support: Especially for youth ages 18-25, life can have challenges that deflect focus from work and learning. Our case manager can support and refer the youth experiencing sudden homelessness, food instability, emotional issues and therapy.

Many tech-inclusion programs provide fun enrichment-level dosage (hackathons, week-long camps) to middle-class youth of color or girls who are already on the path to college. Hack the Hood is built from the ground up to meet the intense needs of Low-Income Youth of Color, including a high percentage of youth who have experienced violence, systemic racism, and other forms of trauma. Our approach is holistic, rooted in community, relationship-driven, and trauma-informed. We follow youth development principles, draw on both the local business and tech communities to provide opportunities and inspiration for youth. We offer real experiences, and youth develop real portfolios. We sustain contact with youth for years after they graduate to provide advanced training, referrals, coaching, mentoring, moral support, and community- whatever it takes to help them achieve their goals.

Our process is also innovative. We have commissioned User Centered Design Research to ensure our approach is well matched to the needs of our youth and we use the Community Cultural Wealth framework to guide our approach. Our organization very much resembles a start-up culture where we pilot, test, and iterate our program design to arrive at the best possible solution to meet the ever-evolving landscape of our youths' needs. Finally, our approach to scaling is somewhat unique in that we partner intensely with existing on-the-ground partners who get training, curriculum, technical assistance, marketing support, evaluation services, and funding from us to replicate our program. This means that local relationships, knowledge, and expertise always inform each implementation of our bootcamp.
The Hack the Hood approach, programs and community are having a positive and powerful impact on the young people and the small business communities that we work with. Going forward we see our mission evolving to not only support young people in the Bay area and nearby, but to also provide a program and framework so the Hack the Hood bootcamp can have a transformative impact on more youth.

We have a theory of change, logic model, and evaluation framework we update every six months. In-depth evaluation and research
We conduct research to explore critical questions around program approach and improvement and around youth segments we serve. These studies are often small, but have strong impact on how we structure programs and set desired outcomes.
Ongoing assessment and program monitoring
We actively monitor every program we run, collecting data and outcomes and then looking closely at both program delivery and program impact.
Reflection and active listening
Our process focus on more than data. We work hard to invite feedback and reflection from youth, partners, small business.,volunteers, mentors, and funders so we have a broad range of perspectives to learn from.
How we measure and what we measure

Our evaluation framework was designed by Rockman Associates and Public Profit to measure program engagement and effectiveness of our model in changing education and career outcomes for youth. We measure six specific areas of youth achievement and development:
Mastery of technical and soft skills
Success in professional environments
Confidence and efficacy of control, including goal-setting
Persistence in education and training,
Increase in income
Navigational capital: ability to network and navigate the tech ecosystem.

Since 2014, we have worked with more than 500 youth ages 16-25 in in-depth programs, and served more than 550 small business owners, many on the other side of the digital divide as well. We have scaled to work with 9 partners in 5 cities other than Oakland (San Francisco , Modesto, Merced, East Palo Alto, San Jose, Watsonville, Richmond), and have created strong pathways for our participants to move from our Bootcamps into other classes and programs we offer, along with individualized 1:1 coaching and support. Since January 2017, 344 youth have been served across 22 programs in Oakland and with 6 partners in San Francisco (Collective Impact, Bayview-Hunter's Point YMCA), San Jose (Teenforce), East Palo Alto (Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula), Modesto (Project YES) and Merced (Empower). Technical Skills Students were asked to rate their level of skill & knowledge related to website building, principles of web design, coding languages. 90% increased skill in building websites 88% increased knowledge of web design principles 78% increased knowledge of coding languages Professional Skills Students were asked to rate their level of skill & knowledge related to time and project management, communication, conducting meetings, and public speaking. 70% reported increased skills in writing professional emails 67% reported increased skills in speaking with a business partner 65% reported increased skills in communicating to a broad audience Preparation for Job in Tech Industry Students were asked to rate their level of knowledge, confidence and ability preparing for a job in the tech industry, interest working in the tech industry, and pathways in tech industry. 72% reported increased confidence working in the tech industry 68% reported increased knowledge of types of jobs in the tech industry 63% increased ability to prepare for a job or internship interview in the tech industry Navigational & Oppositional Capital Students were asked to rate their level of knowledge, comfort, and skill related to code switching, navigating different environments, recognizing and effectively dealing with discrimination, and diversity issues in the tech industry. 58% reported increased knowledge of diversity issues in the tech industry 57% reported increased knowledge of discriminatory practices & behaviors, such as microaggressions 51% reported increased knowledge of code switching Social Capital Students were asked to rate their level of connections to peers, family, supervisors, other adults, small business owners, people in the tech industry, and networking. 75% reported knowing more people with tech jobs than they knew before bootcamp 61% reported using LinkedIn to meet potential employers more than they did before bootcamp 62% reported more confidence in professional networking settings than they did before bootcamp > 83% of our participants remain in or enroll in school; 60% continue to remain involved with our programs after an initial exposure

External Reviews

External Assessments

Evaluated via the Impact Genome Project (2019)

Photos

Financials

CENTER FOR MEDIA CHANGE INC

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Yes