Philadelphia Academies, Inc. just launched a fund to put nonprofit tech programs in its classrooms - Generocity Philly

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May 18, 2016 3:08 pm

Philadelphia Academies, Inc. just launched a fund to put nonprofit tech programs in its classrooms

Knight Foundation invested $10,000 in Philadelphia Academies Inc.'s Teen Tech Fund, which will bring programs like Coded By Kids and TechGirlz into the classroom.

Coding.

(Photo by Flickr user hackNY.org, used under a Creative Commons license)

Editor's note: Christopher Wink, Generocity's editorial director, sits on the board of Coded by Kids. That relationship is unrelated to this story.
Philadelphia Academies, Inc. wants its high school students to learn how to code without taking extra time to do so out of school. So, it started a fund to bring popular nonprofit tech programs into it’s classroom.

It’s called the Teen Tech Fund, and Knight Foundation just allocated $10,000 in seed funding toward it.

Software programming nonprofit Coded By Kids and women-in-tech-focused nonprofit TechGirlz are already involved.

“What we’re doing with TechGirlz, and what we want to do with Coded By Kids and other really innovative tech and entrepreneurship programs, is to embed the programming inside the school day as compared to having it after school or on the weekends,” said Monica Steigerwald, ‎director of fund development at Philadelphia Academies, Inc.

Here’s why that’s important: Not every student has the time to get involved in those programs when they’re held after school or on the weekends — especially if they hold down a job or are involved in sports. It’s an “equalizer” for students at the Academies, Steigerwald said.

“What’s great about this, and particularly about this model, is that the industry partners we’re able to bring to the schools will impact the curriculum of teachers to make it more rigorous and relevant for young people,” she said.

Needless to say, the local philanthropy community is into it — though, besides Knight, it seems like the local tech community has taken the fundraising reins.

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Oh, and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden was at the announcement (plus former Mayor Michael Nutter).

Right now, Academy board members are reaching out to their partners to get individual donations to the fund, which has no cap.

But, in the meantime, Wallsome, the interior decor startup founded by Lenfest Foundation board chair Keith Leaphart, is running a campaign in tandem with the fund to help raise dollars.

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