Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Join Fund Club (@FundBetterTech)

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Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Sure, we talk a good game about diversity. We say we want more of it. We complain when we don’t get enough. Talk’s cheap. That’s why I have to tell you about Fund Club, an organization that finds diversity-centered projects, initiatives, events and organizations that are focused on supporting diverse communities.

Fund Club asks for a $100/month pledge which you give directly to the recipient project (i.e. there’s no middle man taking a cut). You don’t pay? You don’t play. This ain’t a club for quitters.

And isn’t that kind of commitment exactly what the diversity and inclusion movement needs? Yes!

Anyone working on projects for diversity and inclusion can apply for community funding from Fund Club. So far, funded projects include everything from increasing diversity in games to teaching communities of color web dev and entrepreneurship skills.

Ashe Dryden, creator of AlterConf, a traveling conference series of marginalized voices from the tech and gaming industries, partnered with Shanley Kane of Model View Culture to launch Fund Club last summer and in a very short period of time, they have already supported 8 organizations.

Check out the 8 projects funded so far:

About iNeedDiverseGames.net ($9400 raised)

So, cypheroftyr created this hashtag, #INeedDiverseGames. she did it because she’s tired of not seeing herself in the games she’s spent many years playing. She’s tired of being the trope, the joke, the one that gets fridged early in the game to fuel manpain for the PLOT.

She’s also tired of the same.fucking.scruffy.ass.dude protag in 9 out of 10 games released in a given year. She’s tired of “hero dude with tragic backstory saves the world, gets the girl plot lines.”

Oh cypheroftyr,  you had me at “the same.fucking.scruffy.ass.dude protag.” As a woman, all I can say is YES. Right? We’re all tired of being the trope, or the sex object. I Need Diverse Games is doing something about it, like hosting the “Amplifying New Voices Bootcamp” to coach people from under-represented backgrounds on improving their presentation skills within the games industry.

POCIT (People of Color in Tech) ($9000 raised)

“To highlight the current achievements of ‘people of color’ within the sphere of technology and startups, and to inspire the next generation.”

Hey, sounds like our newsletter. But these folks do more than a monthly newsletter. Every week they feature interviews by people of color all over the country, across the industry, including founders, engineers, mobile developers – even software engineer interns. I highly recommend this interview with Slack’s Erica Baker for insights like this:

“It’s not usual to see another person of color in most tech jobs. When I was at Google, if I stayed at my building, I could go literally days without seeing another person of color. That’s just like the standard in tech.  How to put it? It’s not this very tangible thing that you can name. It’s just like, eventually, after a while, it would start wearing on you that you’re the only one there.”

Hands Up United ($7800 raised)

“The revolution will be digitized. Computer programming and web development are 21st century skills that can be used to activate ideas, grow small businesses and build grass-roots movements. As a way to counter cyber warfare and address the issues of economic and educational inequality, Hands Up United will lead technical training workshops in the Furguson/Greater St. Louis area.”

With course titles like “JavaScript Justice,” Hands Up United neatly combines social justice with technology teaching and mentorship in underserved communities.

The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project ($7800 raised)

“The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project is a data-visualization, data analysis, and storytelling collective documenting the dispossession of San Francisco Bay Area residents in the wake of the Tech Boom 2.0.”

We know gentrification is a problem, but knowing it and seeing it through quantitative and qualitative data are two different things. That’s where the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project makes so much impact, because you can see the displacement that’s been happening in recent years in the San Francisco Bay area.

Revision Path ($8200 raised)

“Revision Path was created because the stories of Black designers and developers deserve to be shared and told. And since most mainstream tech and design websites and podcasts don’t share or tell these stories, we’re stepping up to the plate and providing a platform for these creative individuals to shine.”

It’s an award-winning weekly interview podcast that shares the stories of some of the best black designers in the tech industry – graphic designers, web designers and web developers.

Prompt ($7400 raised)

“Prompt is an effort to actually try to improve the lives of developers, especially those who are affected in any way by things like depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness.”

Diversity isn’t just about ethnicity, which is why Prompt is one of my favorite projects funded. They literally “facilitate the conversation” around mental health in the tech industry  by offering speaking opportunities to those affected by mental health issues, getting mental health speakers for conferences, and helping organizations start talking about an issue that doesn’t get much facetime. We’ve all got our challenges, whether it’s depression, anxiety, OCD, or something entirely different. Often, these challenges are also the fuel that makes us great at what we do; but in order to do our best work, a little help and support managing the mental jungle may be in order.

TransTech Social Enterprises ($7000 raised)

“TransTech is an incubator for LGBTQ Talent with a focus on economically empowering the T, transgender people, in our community. TransTech members provide graphics design, web development, social media management, multimedia production and many more services.”

Empowering, educating, and employing trans and gender non-conforming individuals are what TransTech is all about, and to support their work, all you have to do is hire them to do your work. A very neat and tidy system.

#WoCinTech Chat ($6330 raised)

“We are a community of women and non-binary people of color. Some of us are technologists in the making and some of us are technologists by trade. All of us are here to help each other succeed.”

This group, which isn’t even a year old, has already held a NYCTechWalk, sponsored WOC to attend 6 tech conferences, sponsored a data science workshop, hosted the first Women of Color Stock Photo Shoot, among many, many other projects. As so many of the best things do, this started as a Twitter chat, #WOCinTech, but has expanded to real-world actions that connect women of color and non-binary people of color to new opportunities.

If you’d like to support these causes, go directly to their pages – no middle men! And, if you’d like to find out who next month’s Fund Club pick, join Fund Club here.

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