Friday, February 26, 2021

Feel Good Friday - The Hidden Genius Project

For our last Feel Good Friday during Black History Month, we’re coming back to California to profile Oakland’s own Hidden Genius Project.


The Hidden Genius Project was founded in 2012 by five Black male entrepreneurs and technologists who saw the high unemployment of Black male youth in a region full of technology jobs and created a program to address the issue.


The mission, explained on the website states, “The Hidden Genius Project trains and mentors Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities.”


The main program is called the Intensive Immersion Program and here’s why. It’s a 15-month, holistic mentorship experience designed for Black males in 9th – 11th grade. In this program, students learn computer science, software development, entrepreneurship and leadership skills. Virtual cohorts based in both the Bay Area and Los Angeles begin in June and you can apply here.


To encourage continued development of program graduates, an Alumni Venture Seed Fund was created last year to support these young entrepreneurs through the five phases of startup development. Participants will showcase their work at an event in April. 


There are also single and multi-day Catalyst Programming events and workshops throughout the year. These are designed to expose young people to basic computer programming and mentors in order to spark interest in technology careers. These events are free and subscribing to the newsletter is the best way to stay informed.


To see the impact the program is having on the over 7000 students served since 2012, take five minutes to watch this video. You’ll hear directly from the founders, mentors and current participants and see how much the program means to all of them. 


If this work means something to you, get involved! Volunteer positions with The Hidden Genius Project are full but you can still show your support with a donation and by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @HiddenGeniusPro.


Friday, February 19, 2021

Feel Good Friday - My Block, My Hood, My City

After watching the documentary film A Tiny Ripple of Hope in the Slamdance Film Festival this week, I was inspired to share the story of this organization in today’s Feel Good Friday.

The movie profiles Jahmal Cole, founder and CEO of My Block, My Hood, My City (MBMHMC), also known as M3. He created M3 in 2015 with a mission “to help teenagers overcome the poverty and isolation they face, boosting educational attainment and opening them to opportunities that make a difference in their lives.”

Chicago is the most racially segregated city in the United States and many young people don’t travel outside of their neighborhoods. M3 found that taking educational trips makes students more likely to be academically and financially successful, it influences their career choices and it increases their curiosity both in and outside the classroom. 

For these reasons, the main focus of M3 is the Explorer’s Program. Youth from under-resourced neighborhoods in Chicago are taken on trips around the city to explore new communities, cultures, and cuisines in an effort to gain a greater understanding of their city and to expand their vision of what is possible. Participating teenagers get access to 8 Explorations, which include food and transportation, as well as MBMHMC gear and access to internship opportunities with corporate hosts. In the 2019-2020 school year, My Block, My City, My Hood served 150 high school students!


Other direct-action programs run by M3 include a small business relief fund, services for seniors, block club training and a volunteer crew that shovels snow for seniors and people with disabilities.


If you’d like to support My Block, My Hood, My City in their efforts to help students in Chicago “Explore. Experience. Evolve.”, there are several ways to do so. Make a donation to the general fund or to the “I Gotchu” Scholarship Fund which supports Explorer alumni in post-secondary initiatives such as college or trade school. You can also shop for shirts, hats and masks and amplify their message by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @mbmhmc.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Hearts in San Francisco

Sunday is Valentine's Day, which makes this a perfect Feel Good Friday to talk about Hearts in San Francisco.

If you live in, or have ever visited San Francisco, you've likely seen the heart shaped sculptures painted by local artists and displayed throughout the city. Did you know that they are part of a program to raise money for the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation?

As explained on the website, "In 2004, 131 spectacular giant hearts were created by local Bay Area artists and placed around the city to let everyone enjoy them. Then they were auctioned off, raising $3 million to support ZSFG. Every year since, we’ve commissioned and auctioned heart sculptures to raise funds for the hospital."

The mission of Zuckerberg SF General Hospital is "is to promote excellence in research, education and care for all." The Foundation, established in 1991, supports this mission by using the funds they raise for patient services, facilities, equipment purchases and research efforts. Examples include support for the Orthopedic Trauma Institute, the Acute Care for the Elderly Program, fellowships for physicians and continuing education for nurses.

Of the $220 million the Foundation has raised since its establishment, $11 million has come from 350 Hearts of San Francisco being auctioned. If you want to see the 2021 hearts but are not in San Francisco, watch this video or view all 18 years of hearts in this galleryYou can also show your support of frontline healthcare workers by downloading and displaying the It Takes Heart icon.

If you'd like to support the work of Zuckerberg SF General Hospital via the Foundation you can bid on a heart sculpture, make a more traditional donation and follow news of the Foundation by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @SFGHFoundation. Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 5, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Black Futures Lab

Today is the first Feel Good Friday of Black History Month and we're kicking it off with Black Futures Lab.

Launched in 2018 by Alicia Garza, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, Black Futures Lab "is a vehicle for Black People and Black community-based organizations to build independent progressive political power."

As explained on the website, "we engage Black voters over the long term, we empower Black voters to share the policy discussions that affect our lives, and we energize a new generation of leaders, officials and decision makers who care about issues facing Black communities. We experiment with policy solutions and community alternatives that can be put into place at the local and state level."

This work is carried out through three main programs:  

There are also resources on the website that provide information on everything you need to know about elections and staying safe while peacefully protesting.

To support the work of Black Futures Lab you can volunteer your time, donate your money and amplify their message by liking their Facebook page following them on Twitter @blackfutureslab.