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Vote for your "Local Warriors": Black Girls CODE, HackTheHood, BAYCAT, Oakland Digital, Hidden Genius Project

3 min read

The Golden State Warriors are teaming up with PG&E are giving away $10,000 to one of five local non-profit organizations in their Local Warriors program.  I've been a big fan of Black Girls CODE and Hack the Hood since their early days, and they continue to do great work.  That said, the other three look excellent as well, and I'm sure that any one of them will make great use of the money.  You find out more about the organizations by clicking on their logos.

You can vote either by tweet using a designated hashtag -- ,  , and so on (you can see the full list on the Local Warriors site) or on Facebook.  I'm not sure how long the voting lasts, but why wait?

It's really great to see support for local organizations, and hopefully there will be more projects like this in the future.   If so, here's a suggestion: look for alternatives to a winner-take-most competition.

Why?  Well, Black Girls CODE is doing valuable work by empowering girls of color by teaching them to code in Ruby on Rails.  So is Hidden Genius Project, by training and mentoring black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills.  Although I'm sure this wasn't their intent, at some level the Warriors and PG&E are asking people choose between having people choose between helping girls of color and black male youth.  And there are similar tradeoffs having to choose between other organizations.

One alternative would be to split the payout based on the relative share of votes.  Even better, instead of having the teams compete with each other, they could have set a collaborative goal -- maybe the amount that actually gets awarded is tied to the total number of votes.  

Of course, both of these alternatives would work even better if the pool of money being awarded is bigger so that each organization gets a reasonable amount.  That certainly seems possible: Warriors are worth several billion dollars and owned by local VCs and investors; and for that matter the Warriors players, some of whom are very strong supporters of the local communities, probably could find some money to contribute as well.  And there are several other successful, profitable local professional teams!

Still, better is the enemy of good enough.  Kudos to the Warriors and PG&E for doing something that helps all these projects gets visibility and steers some money to one of them.  So please help get the word out!