This editorial article is a part of Technical.ly's Women in Tech month.
Philly nonprofit TechGirlz, the principal organization in local STEM education for middle-school girls founded in 2010, announced Tuesday it will be acquired by Chicago-based Creating IT Futures, a nonprofit arm of IT trade organization CompTIA.
The news come just shy of TechGirlz’ first decade working to increase gender equity in tech. To date, the organization exposed 15,000 girls to careers in technology through interactive workshops, which have been taught in over a dozen states. Its online workshop contents have also been taught by volunteers abroad.
TechGirlz founder Tracey Welson-Rossman, the longtime CMO of Fort Washington, Pa.-based software firm Chariot Solutions known as a booster of women in tech, called the news a cause for celebration.
“As a nonprofit that has been working in this space, to have that value seen by a larger organization is something to be celebrated,” Welson-Rossman told Technical.ly last week.
The nonprofit will continue to operate locally as “TechGirlz” under the Creating IT Futures umbrella, adding to its existing adult-focused IT training programming. As part of the deal, the Chicago organization will take over all of TechGirlz’ assets including its trademark, logo, brands and cash assets. TechGirlz’ Philly-based staff of five will continue to run local operations, and no layoffs are expected. Women in Tech Summit, the multi-city event series cofounded by Welson-Rossman and Gloria Bell, is also part of the acquisition, with Bell continuing her role as director of operations.
Now, for the nonprofit world, acquisitions mean something a bit different than in the for-profit realm. The CEO said there was “no big check in this for me or anyone at TechGirlz” as part of the acquisition. As part of the deal, TechGirlz will receive a $50,000 grant from Hanover, Md.-based TEKsystems. (TechGirlz posted nearly $400,000 in expenses in FY 2016.) The connection for that grant came through Franklin Reed, that company’s director of inclusion and diversity, who sits on the Creating IT Futures board of directors.
Creating IT Futures will also be investing in new TechGirlz staff members, Welson-Rossman said.
“We are eager to expand our relationship with Creating IT Futures in service to the millions of future technologists that can benefit from our combined efforts,” she said. “The lack of available tech talent and the proven competitive advantage of a diverse workforce has created a unique opportunity to build a path for more young girls to pursue a career in technology. By ensuring these women have a critical part to play in America’s technology industry we can also help them secure greater economic and social influence.”
Here’s a quick video from the CEO announcing the move:
The founder will continue to serve as a spokesperson and advisor for TechGirlz. For the next five years, she’ll serve on the Creating IT Futures board of directors. She will not retain the CEO title.
Charles Eaton, CEO of Creating IT Futures, praised the work TechGirlz has done to connect young girls with a career in tech.
“More than any other organization, TechGirlz has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to inspire and teach middle school girls to do more than just code,” Eaton said. “”We are thrilled to apply our institutional knowledge to help rapidly scale this proven model and grow even larger pools of future technologists.”-30-
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