In June of 2014, TechCrunch launched Include, a program designed to direct TechCrunch’s resources to improve diversity in the startup community.
In year one, our approach was simple. The headliner was a $50k grant to support an organization making strides in line with Include’s mission. The recipient last year was Black Girls Code, a wonderful non-profit run by Kimberly Bryant to introduce girls of color to technology through workshops and after school programs. Include also partnered with several other groups, including Mission Bit, Latino Startup Alliance and Oakland Digital Arts and Literacy Center, to provide members with free access to TechCrunch events.
We learned a lot in our first year with Include, and benefited from getting to know dozens of applicants for the grant as well as members of the Include Board and our non-profit parters. The take away? TechCrunch has much more to do to to make our events and community more inclusive.
Today, we’re announcing Include 2.0, an expanded series of initiatives that will deepen our efforts around inclusion and extend them beyond Silicon Valley. Here are the key initiatives:
1) Include Grants. Once again applications will be open for grants to non-profits working to increase diversity in tech. Once again, TechCrunch will distribute pool of $50k, but divide that pool among the winners and will actively solicit applicants from London and New York, in addition to Silicon Valley, in line with the three cities where Disrupt events are held. Applications will open in early September.
2) Include Office Hours. The best introduction is a warm introduction, but that’s not always within reach in venture or media if you don’t have the right networks. TechCrunch will help facilitate those warm intros by hosting office hours with VCs and TechCrunch writers for founders who qualify.
3) Include Events. Include will host several events that aim to build community within underrepresented groups that are attending Disrupt or other TechCrunch events. Following a successful Women in Tech(Crunch) event this spring in NY, similar gatherings will be hosted alongside Disrupt in San Francisco and London later this year.
4) Include on TC. Include will have a permanent home on TechCrunch. The page will serve as a resource for individuals and non-profits to find resources, both TechCrunch’s and others, that will help them move their ideas and careers forward. It will also track our own progress with Include 2.0.
Specific announcements for the above initiatives will made in the coming weeks and months but for now, keep an eye on the blog. If you’re interested in sponsorship opportunities, want to collaborate or have feedback for the team, email firstname.lastname@example.org.