Mission Bit has been looking to expand its free project-based coding courses to underserved cities in the San Francisco Bay Area. The organization, which originated in San Francisco, now serves Oakland, East Palo Alto, and the newest addition, Richmond. Mission Bit is exploring partnerships with Richmond-area high schools to provide semester-long technology courses to students. Furthermore, they plan to offer on-site workshops to local educators and non-profits, introducing students to different coding languages.
San Francisco families are becoming increasingly priced out of the housing market. Richmond has become an attractive option for families to move, due to its more affordable housing prices. Mission Bit wanted to ensure that its programming could reach the families who would benefit the most.
When researching potential expansion opportunities, Mission Bit observed that Richmond’s demographics were aligned with its mission to reach more Black and Latinx students. They discovered that Richmond is made up of 43.8% Latinx and 18% Black residents. This is a significantly higher concentration of minority residents than in San Francisco. Furthermore, Richmond’s high school population strongly reflects the city’s diversity.
Smaller cities like Richmond struggle to secure funding for extracurricular activities. This makes Mission Bit’s expansion even more valuable to the communities they set out to serve.
What made the expansion to Richmond possible?
Electronic Arts (EA) has been instrumental in Mission Bit’s expansion to Richmond. With EA’s five-year support of $150,000, Mission Bit is able to build relationships with school partners, city officials, and donors. About half of EA’s support is directed toward expansion efforts into new cities like Richmond, while the other half is allocated to existing programs such as those in San Francisco.
Building relationships with the Richmond community will ensure Mission Bit has a reliable source of funding for their free programming. This will enable them to continue their work in Richmond even after EA’s generous donation has been used up.
Aspirations for Richmond programming
In November 2019, Mission Bit partnered with the RYSE Center to host a 90-minute Code Remix workshop. During the workshop, students were taught how to use block-based coding to create their own musical projects.
Students will have access to a range of courses and professionals in the tech industry, equipping them with the knowledge, connections, and resources they need to succeed. This will give more young people the chance to pursue a career in technology.
Over the next 5 years, Mission Bit hopes to serve a total of 1,100 students in the Richmond area. By volunteering, donating, or even following them on social media, you can help make this vision possible.