San Francisco’s Mission Bit nonprofit group has secured $1 million in funding from the San Francisco government to expand their after-school computer science programs. The organization currently offers these computer classes to high school students in Oakland and San Francisco.
Mission Bit is helmed by CEO and San Francisco Board of Education commissioner Stevon Cook. Cook grew up in public housing in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point and attended Thurgood Marshall High School. After studying at Williams College in Massachusetts, Cook returned to find that his alma mater had deteriorated into a dead-end institution. After a stint as the high school’s academic advisor, he became determined to fix the institution’s problems. He launched a campaign for Board of Education Commissioner and won. As CEO of Mission Bit, he has used his experience in education to bring programming and computer skills to under-served youth.
Mission Bit began life in 2013. Founded by software engineer Tyson Daugherty, the nonprofit is designed to provide programming and coding classes to teenagers, particularly those who would not otherwise have access to these resources. Mission Bit makes an effort to encourage minority and female students to enroll in their classes. The organization offers classes in computer science and web programming. Mission Bit has three main courses for students: a fall semester, a spring semester and summer classes.
The San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families awarded Mission Bit a $1 million grant this week. The nonprofit plans to use the funds to kick-start a two-year program that will help students learn in the long term. Mission Bit hopes to dramatically expand their student body with the five-year grant. Currently, they have 150 students enrolled in their classes, and they plan to increase this number to 10,000 students by 2020.