March 4, 2021
New Interactive Education and Mentoring Program Empowers Girls and Young Women to Learn Coding Skills and Envision Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 4, 2021 – The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today announced a $1 million, multi-year initiative with its philanthropic arm, the ESA Foundation, and Black Girls CODE (BGC) to support educational and mentoring programs for girls and young women interested in technology. The initiative boosts BGC’s mission of teaching coding and technology skills to one million girls and young women by 2040.
“Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. Our industry is committed to expanding opportunities in our sector by working to grow talent and spark interest and excitement for STEAM careers, especially for those from underrepresented groups,” ESA President, CEO and ESA Foundation board chair Stanley Pierre-Louis said. “Since the ESA Foundation’s mission focuses on diversity as a central tenet, it is ideally positioned to lead, develop and manage this industry initiative and bring to life our partnership with Black Girls CODE. Our goal is to attract more girls and young women into software coding and related technology fields. We look forward to celebrating the success stories of these young women as they develop their skills and become technology leaders in the video game industry and beyond.”
The ESA Foundation, which has awarded more than 400 college scholarships since 2007, will collaborate with BGC chapters across several U.S. cities, including: Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Raleigh, N.C., San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The multi-year commitment includes direct financial support as well as investments in volunteer time and other industry resources to support curricula, workshops and mentorships with many of the world’s most recognizable brands.
“The partnership between the ESA Foundation and Black Girls CODE is tailor-made for this moment,” ESA Foundation Executive Director Anastasia Staten said. “We believe our program will have a lasting impact on girls and young women who otherwise might never have considered careers in the video game industry. And the most exciting part for me is that, beyond their generous financial support, some of the world’s leading video game companies and their teams are committed to mentoring young women in ways that will open up opportunities to explore STEAM careers and create entertaining video games that all of us will want to play.”
Launched in Oakland, California a decade ago, BGC now operates in 15 cities across the country and South Africa. It introduces computer programming and technology to girls ages 7 to 17 from underrepresented communities by providing workshops, hackathons and after-school programs. Areas of focus include web design, robotics, game development, mobile app development and more.
“We are excited to work with the ESA Foundation and video game industry on increasing access and opportunities for girls and young women interested in exploring technology as educational and career options,” according to a statement from BGC. “By cultivating the next generation of developers, we hope to grow the number of women of color in the technology sector who will ultimately become the future leaders in this space.”
About the ESA
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) serves as the voice and advocate for the U.S. video game industry and offers a wide range of services to its member companies, including conducting business and consumer research; providing legal and policy analysis and advocacy on First Amendment, intellectual property, technology and e-commerce issues; managing a global content protection program; owning and operating E3; and representing video game industry interests in federal and state government relations. For more information, visit the ESA’s website or follow the ESA on Twitter @theESA.
About the ESA Foundation
The ESA Foundation awards scholarships to the next generation of industry innovators and supports schools and nonprofits that leverage interactive entertainment technology to create meaningful opportunities for America’s youth. It seeks to harness the power of the video game industry to create positive social impact and supports geographically diverse projects and programs benefitting grantees of all ages, races and genders. For more information, visit the ESA Foundation’s website.
About Black Girls CODE
Since 2011, Black Girls CODE has been committed to providing girls from underrepresented communities access to technology and 21st century skills necessary to become tech leaders. Having reached more than 20,000 young women in 15 chapters around the world, Black Girls CODE’s organizational vision is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. Black Girls CODE aspires to teach one million girls of color to code by 2040.