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Expanding Our Impact in 2016

| Co-Founder & CEO  
Before founding Paradigm, Joelle was a civil rights lawyer. Joelle’s legal background highlighted the consequences that can result from companies failing to consider diversity and inclusion early, and inspired her to found Paradigm.


Our first and most important core value at Paradigm is “impact”: we believe in doing work that has both broad and deep impact in improving equity and inclusion. This value guides every important decision we make as an organization. At the end of 2016 our team decided to expand our impact by supporting other organizations doing meaningful work to advance equity and inclusion. To focus our efforts, we first met as a team and proposed a list of nonprofits to support. We then discussed how we wanted to prioritize, paying particular attention to the state of our country and our community in the wake of the presidential election. We chose seven organizations.

We then asked each member of the team to share an additional organization they personally wanted Paradigm to invest in this year. Below we share more about the organizations we chose as a team and as individuals. We hope you’ll consider adding some of these to the list of the organizations you support in 2017.

We supported the following organizations as a team:

  • Black Girls CODE: Black Girls CODE works to increase the number of women of color in STEM by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures. By providing coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities, Black Girls CODE has set out to prove to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow.
  • Centro Legal de la Raza: Centro Legal is a legal services agency protecting and advancing the rights of immigrant, low-income, and Latino communities in California. This organization provides legal services that keep families together and address discrimination, while providing know your rights trainings to empower the community.
  • Code 2040: Code2040 creates access, awareness, and opportunities for Black and Latinx engineering talent to ensure their leadership in the innovation economy. Code2040’s programs bring Black and Latinx people into the technology industry as engineers and entrepreneurs, while providing those already in the industry the opportunity to volunteer and partner in this important work.
  • NAACP: Black Lives Matter, and we support the NAACP’s work to ensure political, educational, social, and economic equality while eliminating racial discrimination. Given the racist comments made by the president-elect and the threats to voting rights being faced by communities of color, the NAACP’s work is as important now as ever.
  • National Council of La Raza: NCLR is dedicated to issues faced by the Latinx community in our country. They advocate for fair immigration policies and fight threats to voting accessibility, among many other important efforts. We support NCLR’s efforts to keep our promise to America’s DREAMers through the preservation of DACA.
  • Planned Parenthood: We believe that all women should have access to vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information. We’re worried that this access will be undermined and threatened by the new administration.
  • Southern Poverty Law Center: We support SPLC’s work to combat racial harassment and intimidation, and its efforts to track these events in the wake of the presidential election. At a time when the president-elect has proposed a religious test for entry into our country, and amidst the proliferation of white nationalist rhetoric, we believe these efforts are vital. SPLC also works with youth to reduce prejudice while promoting equality, inclusiveness, and equitable learning environments in the classroom.

The following are additional organizations we supported based on individual recommendations from each member of the Paradigm team, and the names of the people on our team who recommended each:

  • Book Booster: Book Booster aims to improve literacy by providing books to high-need schools in the Bay Area. The organization consults with local non-profits and teachers union representatives to identify schools that would benefit most from new books. For the 2016–17 school year, BookBooster will donate books to 20 high-need schools in the Bay Area. — Ivy Onyeador
  • East Bay College Fund: This program gives students (many of color, most first generation college students, and some undocumented) from Oakland public schools 4-year scholarships to college. Along with the scholarship, every student also receives a mentor who provides them the support they need to be successful in college. — Aleah Warren
  • Equal Justice Initiative: EJI’s goal is to end mass incarceration and to fight racial and economic injustice. Their areas of focus include children in prison, mass incarceration, and the death penalty; their work in these areas is brought to life in Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, which should be required reading for every American. — Tyi McCray, Carissa Romero, and Sean Malahy
  • ScriptEd: ScriptEd equips students from under-resourced schools with coding skills and professional experiences that create access to careers in technology. ScriptEd currently runs programs in schools in New York and San Francisco, and is working to expand to other cities. — Natalie Johnson
  • STEM Advantage: This organization’s mission is to mentor, prepare, and inspire young women and underserved communities to pursue STEM careers through paid internships, mentorships, and scholarships. Their 360-degree approach is designed to provide the support needed to keep promising scholars in a STEM program, including the skills and work experience that will assist them in landing their first position after graduation, plus graduate with less student debt. — Lauren Aguilar
  • Transgender Law Center: This organization works to change law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression. They engage in legal and policy work focused on employment, housing, health, immigration, prisons, and more, and they run a legal helpline to provide information about laws that affect transgender people. They also have a number of free resources on their website, like a Know Your Rights document for transgender people at work. — Joelle Emerson

January 2, 2017

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