The Forward Community Investments has announced that its Game Changer Grant for May has been awarded to the tech nonprofit Maydm.
Maydm was founded four years ago by Winnie Karanja with a mission to introduce more kids to the world of technology, in a healthy way, of course. “We envision a world where all students know that a career in STEM is possible for them; a world where all students are equipped with the skills to elevate their quality of life; a world where all students can pursue their dreams as entrepreneurs, developers, engineers, or professors,” Karanja said.
Maydm’s focus is introducing and equipping kids of color, especially girls, with opportunity in the tech sector. Maydm works with students in 6th through 12th grade in after and outside of school programs. These programs work to teach kids the skills that they need to pursue opportunities in the tech sector; students learn through project based programs – things such as how to build websites and mobile applications – and how to utilize those skills and engage in the tech field.
The Game Changer program offers a $3,000 grant every month to an organization in Wisconsin working on racial equity. The simplified application process requires only a short form and short video explaining the organization or project mission. .
Maydm also recently received a $50,000 grant from CUNA Mutual Foundation.
Maydm intends to use these grants to build their programs as well as support the new director of operations position, which is a position they have added on to help keep the organization expanding.
Students in the upcoming summer program will have a mentor who works in the tech field and will have the opportunity to meet with them once a week when they’re in the program and once a month throughout the calendar year. Students will also have the opportunity to take trips to different tech companies so they can see people using coding, building and programming language in real life. These trips also are beneficial to students to “close the gap between experience and exposure. We want to show students not only a world of possibility but also the job prospect,” Karanja said. The summer program and Cards and Code Event, an event held in December, are open to all students; and during the school year Maydm partners up with specific schools to share with its students.
Students who come out of this program are more likely to pursue a career in STEM, and after the program 83 percent of students claim they love STEM, Karanja said. The number of students who feel they belong in STEM and that they have chosen a career path increased by 31 percent in 2018 among those in the program. Maydm works to provide a supportive and comfortable environment for its students, especially girls of color, to show that a career in STEM is suitable for anybody.