First Tech Fund

First Tech Fund

Over the last two years, we have been able to support over 130 students, with 24% of the students coming from Asian-American backgrounds across all five boroughs of New York City. We measure overall success through a few mechanisms: student confidence shifts in technology usage and skills, measured in a pre

First Tech Fund

Our co-founders both have the lived experiences of the students we serve -- Josue is a first-generation undocumented immigrant raised by a single mother in Los Angeles who had to explore a range of industries (non-profit, advertising, financial services) to understand what career pathway made the most sense for him financially and professionally. Our other co-founder, Hana, is a third generation Brooklynite who got a scholarship to a college in Silicon Valley and only then realized that a business career in the technology industry would enable her to live out her creative dreams while also helping support her family to uplift her trajectory into a new, stable income bracket. Being disabled and Asian-American, Hana is passionate about ensuring people with identities that aren't frequently represented in high-earning industries like tech, law, finance and more understand the breadth of possibilities that exist in these spaces, and how they can create a pathway for themselves that will support their families long-term trajectories. Growing up in large metropolitan cities exposed our leadership team to ensure we build impactful programs that focus on having the minority communities that made us who we are feel seen, heard, empowered and united in an intersectional way. Outside of our leadership team, 2 of our 7 board members identify as Asian American (Chinese American & Filipino American). Of our junior board, 14 of our 38 members identify as AAPI with a total of 32 members identifying as a racial or ethnic minority. These figures prove that we are thoughtful in comprising a team that represents the students we serve across a variety of industries and skillsets. Our Impact:

About the Organization:

Our co-founders both have the lived experiences of the students we serve -- Josue is a first-generation undocumented immigrant raised by a single mother in Los Angeles who had to explore a range of industries (non-profit, advertising, financial services) to understand what career pathway made the most sense for him financially and professionally. Our other co-founder, Hana, is a third generation Brooklynite who got a scholarship to a college in Silicon Valley and only then realized that a business career in the technology industry would enable her to live out her creative dreams while also helping support her family to uplift her trajectory into a new, stable income bracket. Being disabled and Asian-American, Hana is passionate about ensuring people with identities that aren't frequently represented in high-earning industries like tech, law, finance and more understand the breadth of possibilities that exist in these spaces, and how they can create a pathway for themselves that will support their families long-term trajectories. Growing up in large metropolitan cities exposed our leadership team to ensure we build impactful programs that focus on having the minority communities that made us who we are feel seen, heard, empowered and united in an intersectional way. Outside of our leadership team, 2 of our 7 board members identify as Asian American (Chinese American & Filipino American). Of our junior board, 14 of our 38 members identify as AAPI with a total of 32 members identifying as a racial or ethnic minority. These figures prove that we are thoughtful in comprising a team that represents the students we serve across a variety of industries and skillsets. Our Impact:

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

0-5 Years

The Issue:

Several problems affect the communities we serve - first, the digital divide disconnects our communities from the resources they need, which is why we provide their first piece of technology & empower them through mobile connectivity. In 2020 alone, more than 2600 NYC students did not attend school during remote learning , most from low-income communities specifically. The second problem is the fact that nationwide, there is an average of one counselor for every 455 K-12 students, according to the American School Counselor Association. This makes for a dangerous, and systemic problem that ensures low-income students of color have neither the access nor the support to navigate the high school journey and the complex college process, one of the only ways to break cycles of poverty. In addition, our students face other challenges that are beyond their control and oftentimes as a result of poverty- lack of access to a network, lack of insight into careers, and a lack of available mentors in their communities. In addition to this, only one in four young people receives work experience by age 17 , and young people from middle-income families are three times more likely than young people from low-income families to get these early, formative work experiences. We know that young people from higher income backgrounds have greater resources and access to internships, summer programs, and other WBL opportunities. Moreover, this early disparity factors into postsecondary decisions, and greater disparities down the road. The combination of these data points display a very concerning ecosystem for low-income youth in the NYC community and we work to address this issue in a multi-faceted way to ensure students are getting all their needs met, to bridge the gap between what they need to rise up from systemic poverty and other societal issues that afflict them.

The Solution:

Our theory of change is that if we provide low-income students of color with a holistic set of services including individualized support paired with mentorship, tech access, and exposure to various career pathways, students will have a significantly higher chance of being successful in their respective fields. We believe in the saying - “you can’t be what you can’t see” so we ensure that the majority of our speakers identify as people of color so students know that there are people in careers they’re interested in who look like them and come from similar backgrounds as they did. By providing students with their foundational needs – technology and Internet – and then supplementing the traditional high school system by pairing them with mentors and an after-school curriculum that teaches professional and personal skills needed to succeed, as well as exposure to careers and industries not traditionally found in inner-city communities, we are able to increase a students’ trajectory to success and breaking cyclical poverty. Many of our students have never set foot in an office building or connected with a lawyer – through our program, they’re exposed to new skills and experiences that are imperative to be prepared for careers that can change the trajectory of their lives, helping them break generational cycles of poverty, while at the same time, being exposed to other ambitious, hard working students from all over NYC (over 40 districts represented) who they can connect with to find out about other opportunities and who can help them build their first network to rely on. We’re uniquely positioned to work with students because many of our staff, board, and leadership experienced poverty and a lack of access firsthand, so we created a blueprint for success according to our own experiences and mistakes.

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