Another Unforgettable Year
2021 has been another year we will never forget. We have collectively grappled with ongoing systemic racism, the widening of economic inequality, challenges to our democracy, and the continuation of a global pandemic. Through it all, the Kapor Center family of organizations has remained steadfastly committed to our mission — to build a more equitable tech sector, economy, and society.
We’re proud to celebrate a year of impactful and meaningful work that has touched communities all over the country, from our headquarters in Oakland, CA.
Students engaged in CS/STEM programs
People accessed resources and trainings on advancing diversity in tech
Strategic grantmaking to support marginalized communities
Investments in gap-closing technology companies
We aimed to reimagine K-12 computer science education working with students and teachers, publishing research, providing training/webinars, promoting policy change, and supporting advocates across the education, technology, and nonprofit spaces–all with the goal of expanding equity in CS.
We continued our work expanding pathways into technology jobs by supporting upskilling, reskilling, and apprenticeship initiatives, and supporting communities of practice and trainings for expanding diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in tech workplaces.
We launched a new racial justice and tech policy initiative to build awareness and capacity to address, mitigate, and prevent harms of technology in communities of color. And we supported civic engagement efforts and COVID relief for communities of color.
And we contributed to the broader field by publishing reports on Expanding the Latinx Tech Pipeline, The Black Technology Workforce, Racial Justice In Technology, The Computer Science Teacher Landscape, and the California Computer Science Access report. We also developed a statewide data dashboard to track computer science courses in California high schools and provide an actionable tool to advocate for policy change.
By The Numbers
At SMASH, we’ve taken a deep and holistic approach with our scholars and alumni to address the root causes of why the underrepresentation of people of color in STEM persists. From SMASH Academy to SMASH Rising, Admit, Persist, and Career Catalyst, we’ve been SMASHing barriers throughout 2021 and are well-positioned to SMASH more next year.
To make a tangible impact, we adapted our operations to account for the biggest change to every education system in the US: a shift to at-home learning. For the first time in 20 years, the SMASH Academic Year Program (AYP) ran virtually, serving 500 scholars with 24 hrs of core programming delivered across 9 sites, plus 66 hours of electives and workshops offered as part of wraparound programming focused on STEM career exploration.
On the Academy side, we’ve secured new university partners, planned for our first-ever hybrid model of virtual and in-person learning for our scholars, and launched our biggest-yet long-term partnership with Raytheon Technologies.
Through our SMASH Rising partners including Meta, Autodesk, Zillow Group, Canary Center at Stanford, Raytheon Technologies, and more, we’ve placed hundreds of students into meaningful tech internships and jobs.
This past May, Danielle Rose, a fierce advocate for systemic change and an engineer of education equity, was named SMASH’s first woman CEO in our nearly 20-year history.
In her first six months, Danielle has made significant impact across the organization; most notably completing a successful second cycle of virtual programming, building and leading the Sustainability Strategy Work Plan + Groups, expanding SMASH’s presence at HBCUs through a new partnership with Spelman College, and conducting partnership health check meetings with all investing university partners. She has also streamlined operations overall, identifying expense levers to reduce the 2022 budget by $2.2M.
In June, Dr. Hassan Brown joined SMASH to lead our new upcoming STEM career exploration digital platform for underrepresented students of color, Career Catalyst, as its Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Brown has developed a bold direction for Career Catalyst including curriculum, podcasts, and short films featuring surgical oncologists, aerospace engineers, pilots, entrepreneurs, and more set to launch in 2022.
By The Numbers
of our SMASH Academy scholars demonstrated significant growth in their mastery of skills essential to thriving in STEM classrooms and the workplace.
of our SMASH seniors committed to majoring in STEM, compared to the 45% national average.
of our SMASH alumni graduate college within 5 years compared to the national average of 55%.
SMASH recruited, hired and trained over 300 facilitators from across the nation on The SMASH Way, providing a transformative STEM educational experience for scholars rooted in equitable learning practices. Of these facilitators, nearly 80% were educators who were able to take their SMASH learnings to over 10,000 students across 18 states.
Through Kapor Capital, we’ve continued to invest in early-stage startups that close gaps of access and expand economic opportunity, making a positive impact on our society and economy. We celebrated our tenth year running our Venture Fellow Summer Associates program, creating pathways for underrepresented individuals to enter the world of Venture Capital.
Kapor Capital Portfolio Highlights
Despite hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic and its continuous aftermath, our portfolio has remained strong and brought us impactful success stories in Ed-tech, FinTech, and Health Tech. Across the board, patients in hospitals, students in classrooms, and communities otherwise excluded from financial services have improved their circumstances through our startups.
Just two years ago, Clever was 9th in Fast Company’s category of World’s Most Innovative Company. This year, our Ed-tech startup was acquired by Norwegian educational giant Kahoot! Clever is a digital learning platform that connects students, districts, educators, and parents both in school and at home.
HealthSherpa, a Healthcare.gov certified web broker, helps individuals, families, employers, and nonprofits enroll in health plans, with a special focus on underserved communities. This year, HealthSherpa enrolled more than 3 million people in coverage, during the pandemic.
The needle-free blood draw company, Velano Vascular was acquired by BD earlier this year changing the way patients have to experience blood extraction when hospitalized. Velano Vascular collects blood painlessly after the initial placement of an IV line and enables filling as many tubes as needed over the course of an inpatient visit.
By The Numbers
The Year Ahead
As we face a new year, with continued national dialogues shaping the way we learn, work and coexist, the Kapor Foundation, Kapor Capital, and SMASH are doubling down on our work — creating a more inclusive technology sector for all. In 2022, we look forward to impacting more lives, fighting for larger changes, and leveling the playing field for all in tech.