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Update on the Hacker Grants Program

Jun 12, 2012

by precipice

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Two months ago, we announced a partnership with Hacker School to provide ten, $5,000 grants for women interested in joining the summer class of Hacker School, taking place here at Etsy HQ. The class has been filled and has started, and I wanted to give you an update on the results, as well as announcing more Hacker Grants from our friends at 37Signals and Yammer.

When we announced the program, we were aiming to find 20 women to join the summer class. The previous class, in the spring, had only around 7 female applicants and wound up with 1 female student, so we knew it would take a big effort to get to our goal. Since Hacker School runs admissions and structures the classes, Etsy’s primary role was to get the word out about the grants — and we asked for help from our community in reaching as many great candidates as we could.

To say that worked would be a serious understatement. With help from all of you, Hacker School received applications from 661 women, nearly a 100-times increase from the previous session. (As they put it, they received more applications this time from women named Sarah, than all applications from women for all previous sessions combined.) Hacker School has admitted 23 of those women for the summer program — exceeding our original goal by 3. It’s been incredibly exciting to see.

The response to the Hacker Grants program was much larger than we expected. 597 (90%) of the 661 female applicants requested financial assistance. We believe that the existence of the grants did play a major role in causing the increase in applications from women. Of the 23 female students admitted, 18 of them requested grants — 8 more than we’d planned to provide.

I asked for help from friends at a number of other companies that I knew were interested in increasing the number of women in engineering roles. Two companies, Yammer and 37Signals, both stepped up in just a few hours, and each of them agreed to provide four additional Hacker Grants, bringing the total up to 18. All of the female students who requested a grant were given one. We also increased the Hacker Grant amount to $7,000, which means that the total amount given out was $126,000 — $28,000 from each 37Signals and Yammer, and $70,000 from Etsy.

Jeremy Perez-Cruz

I wanted to give my huge thanks to both Yammer and 37Signals, and to everyone who supported this program by forwarding news about it to their friends and coworkers. Also, of course, an enormous thanks to Hacker School, for agreeing to work with us on this idea and for going far beyond our expectations for what could happen. I’m so impressed with the work they’re doing, and the results they’re getting. Finally, thanks to all of the students of Hacker School, for applying, for showing up, and for creating such an enriching classroom for each other.

Walking into the Hacker School rooms and seeing a gender-balanced group of students, hacking on open source and learning to be better developers, is nothing short of incredible to me, given how unbalanced our industry has been as long as I’ve been managing. It almost feels like time travel, more futuristic than any technology project I’ve seen: a trip to the future of what our industry should and will look like. I’m so glad to see it becoming real today.

21 comments

  • tomsgrossmami

    Tom's Grossmami from tomsgrossmami said 4 years ago

    Congrats on the success!

  • thehouseofhemp

    sarah parker from thehouseofhemp said 4 years ago

    Fantastic!

  • SusiesBoutiqueTLC

    SusiesBoutiqueTLC from SusiesBoutiqueTLC said 4 years ago

    Thats great. :)

  • ChuckEBrydWallArt

    Chuck from ChuckEByrdWallDecals said 4 years ago

    How wonderful that you where able to do this! I have 5 daughters and this father is very glad to see so many women getting this opportunity. Congratulations on your success.

  • JelloSalad

    Jello Salad said 4 years ago

    I think that's fantastic!!

  • JLynnSupplies

    Brad from CasualInvertebrates said 4 years ago

    Am I the only one who has a problem with etsy using our fees to do this? Instead of something that only benefits 18 women in New York, how about something with a little further reach?

  • Railin

    Mel from Cuteling said 4 years ago

    I think it's awesome, and I wish I could be one of them :) Love anything to do with computers ...

  • vcherniy

    Vadim Cherniy from vcherniy said 4 years ago

    niiice!

  • elit716

    Elena from TheCraftyRascal said 4 years ago

    I was one of three girls in my Computer Science class of over 200 students, so definetly a good step in the right direction

  • minouette

    Ele from minouette said 4 years ago

    Way to go! I'm very pleased to read about this initiative (as someone who was one of only 2 women in the physics specialist program when she was an undergrad).

  • patspottery

    Pat Parker from PatsPottery said 4 years ago

    This is sooo enormous, I am at a loss for words!! You go etsy♥

  • TheWallaroo

    Sandra from TheWallaroo said 4 years ago

    Congrats to those who are part of the summer batch. Thanks to this initiative I was able to see how many wonderful things can happen for women with just a little bit of encouragement. I'm sure that even those who were not accepted learned more about themselves, their goals, and the wonderful opportunities that a career in tech may offer. :) great work Etsy!

  • WinchesterLambourne

    WinchesterLambourne from WinchesterLambourne said 4 years ago

    Congratulations to all who applied and got in. :D

  • PeeledBananasToGo

    Margarita from PeeledBananasToGo said 4 years ago

    Let me add that the students -men and women -this program attracted are top tier! Good Luck!

  • sherrytruitt

    sherry truitt from sherrytruitt said 4 years ago

    This is a simply stellar program which will likely change the lives of all involved. Thanks for making it happen, and kudos to your new partners who stepped up to provide additional opportunties.

  • pictatro

    Preda Bianca Angelica from PredaBiancaFineArt said 4 years ago

    I wish I could be one of them :)

  • CurlicueCreations

    Jennifer Schifano Thomas from CurlicueCreations said 4 years ago

    Go Girls! I'm a little bit ignorant, though. What is Hacker School about?

  • MandLyn

    mandy newell said 4 years ago

    awesome program.

  • isoscele

    isoscele from isoscele said 4 years ago

    Agreed. Super Idea.

  • laeeqkhan

    laeeq khan said 4 years ago

    really nice! http://www.phpzag.com/

  • mjhjr

    Mike said 4 years ago

    Hey Marc, I too am a father of a young daughter, and happen to be working for a growing VC funded start-up in NYC in the VP Engineering role. We are looking to hire intern (paid)/apprentice level Engineers (1 or 2) and would love to be able to help bring more women into the field. I attempted to find info about how to hire graduates or even current students, but the hacker school site didn't offer much help ( It said they aren't even taking meetings specifically). I was wondering if you had any ideas about how to pursue this or could help in any way? Trying to help. Thanks, -Mike

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