The Hidden Genius Project in downtown Oakland recently had a renowned special guest visit the organization.
Broderick Johnson, chair of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Advisory Council, former member of the Obama Administration, and current executive vice president of Digital Equity and Public Policy for Comcast, met with members of the organization.
He punctuated his visit by making a surprise donation of free laptops to the 40+ Geniuses in attendance.
The event featured a fireside chat during which Johnson was interviewed by former Hidden Genius Kevin Butler, 22, of Oakland, who studied computer science and is now an educator and entrepreneur. Mr. Butler founded a startup called TechZen Collective, which supports artists seeking to participate in Web 3.0 and creates Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to showcase their work.
The Hidden Genius Project was founded in 2012 by five Black male entrepreneurs/technologists who were dismayed by the dramatic gap between high unemployment among young Black males and the abundance of career opportunities within the technology sector.
To address the challenge, the founders established a program to connect young Black males with skills, mentors, and experiences that they need to become high-performing entrepreneurs and technologists in a 21st century global economy. The Hidden Genius Project has served more than 8,400 students and offered more than 612,800+ hours of direct training.
“The tremendous impact that Hidden Genius Project has made in the lives of Black male youth in Oakland, Richmond, and the East Bay is the reason we’ve been a partner since 2014 and have steadily increased our support and commitment to the organization,” said Johnson. “I’m delighted that our ongoing support will enable the organization to continue its important mission and potentially expand to other cities across the country, helping even more Black male youths.”
The Hidden Genius Project partnership showcases Comcast’s long-standing investment in diversity, inclusion, and equity by empowering the Geniuses with digital training and leadership skills.
Furthering its commitment to Oakland specifically, Comcast has also established more than 20+ Lift Zones in the area. Lift Zones provide free high-speed WiFi from Comcast in community centers and other locations to allow students, seniors, and families to get online and more fully participate in the digital economy.
Comcast has also twice selected Oakland as a RISE Investment Fund Grant city, making $2 million in cash contributions to 200 diverse-owned small businesses in the city. In fact, the location at which the event was held, Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, was a RISE recipient.
Jon Koriel is the public relations manager for the California region of Comcast.
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