Project Alloy is a 501(c)(3) organization that's tackling the fact that women, people of color, trans and gender non-confirming individuals, those with disabilities, and other minorities remain dramatically underrepresented at technical conferences. Conferences should bring together the best and the brightest, but there are many barriers to attending.
Project Alloy lowers those hurdles by offering financial, moral, and social support to individuals who are early in their tech careers and underrepresented in the industry so that they can successfully attend tech conferences.
The idea is that when you’re first starting out, conferences can really help you find a footing — meeting people, learning from them, and forming bonds with others who can mutually support you in careers down the line.
Project Alloy was inspired by Kyle Kingsbury's public pledge (www.aphyr.com/diversity) to pay out-of-pocket for anyone from an underrepresented group in tech to attend a conference. So we founded Project Alloy as a vehicle for formalizing Kyle's approach.
When we give grants through Project Alloy, we give directly to people for whom we wish to open doors of opportunity. This approach is change we believe in, and also change within reach — we, as individuals who work in the tech industry, are capable of making this kind of difference for others. So we decided to form a nonprofit to centralize and scale the process so we could reach even more people.
If you're wondering — why does any of this matter? Obviously, there are questions of fairness and justness. Working to build a more just society is the right thing to do. And from an economic perspective, having broader representation in the tech industry drives business growth, increases returns on equity, promotes creative solutions, and improves problem solving. But most of all, it matters because that's the kind of industry we want to work in.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (August 2017)