In its four years, Ada has grown from a tiny “one-room schoolhouse” of 15 students to a major tech workforce training program in Seattle that will have graduated 150 by the end of 2017 and will train an additional 96 students annually going forward.
Our program is well-known in the Seattle tech scene, and it continues to benefit from the financial and volunteer support of the tech community. But we need your help again.
Being tuition-free is not enough for up to 40% of our students. As a full-time immersion program, students must find a way to cover living expenses while attending Ada. Since 2015, Ada has partnered with non-profit community lender Craft3 to provide low-interest loans for living expenses for students who often earned less than $45,000/year, have little to no credit history, and have existing significant college debt. Since 2015, our loan program has been key to enabling over 69 students to attend and complete Ada.
This loan program has been particularly important for Ada’s efforts to attract and retain women of color (50% of our 2016 admitted students) and under-represented minorities (26% of our 2016 admitted students).
Continuing our Loan Program
For the past 2 years, Craft3 has utilized its own loan capital to fund more than $870,000 of loans to Ada students. The Ada Angels, a group of tech executives supportive of the mission, raised nearly $100,000 as a loss reserve fund that made the first two years of lending possible.
To continue to make the program accessible to all new participants, Ada has agreed to pull together additional capital to supplement Craft3’s commitments. We already have substantial support from Amazon, Getty Images, Capital One, Avvo, Milliman and Seattle Society of Information Managers (SIM), but we have another $150,000 of donations to raise by December and an additional $800,000 of impact investment funds to raise in early 2018.
Collectively, the new funding will support loans to Ada students over the next 10 years, as a “revolver”, getting loaned out, paid back and then loaned out again to future participants.
We need your help. If you, your company or organization wants to learn more, please contact Ada’s Executive Director Cynthia Tee (firstname.lastname@example.org/).
From Ania Gonzalez, graduate of Cohort 5, Software Development Engineer at Microsoft:
Before immigrating, I used to work in Mexico as an Industrial Engineer in the food industry. Once in the US, I became a stay at home mom for 5+ years while dreaming of following my passion for programming, becoming a software engineer and working at Microsoft one day. When I had the opportunity of entering ADA, I had three children aged 5 and under. Without this loan it would have been impossible for me to afford childcare and pursue my dreams outside of home. I feel that this loan, available even for those of us with no credit history, will keep making the difference for many people between just dreaming and being able to achieve.
From Rowan Cota, graduate of Cohort 5, Associate Site Reliability Engineer at BuzzFeed:
Prior to Ada I was working in the service industry, after growing up in poverty. I thought my life would continue on the predictable course of stretching to make ends meet and hoping to make it from paycheck to pay check. After my life made it clear that was going to be impossible…I came back to my childhood dream of being an engineer. Getting into Ada was the first step in realizing that dream (and a change in my life circumstances), but the Craft3 loan is what made achieving it possible. Due to the availability of the loan I was able to move across the country, enroll in the program, and not worry about how I was going to pay for food or rent. It made it possible to spend the most intense seven months of my life immersed in learning code, and gave me a chance to use what spare time I had to go to meet-ups and start making connections in the community instead of trying to figure out how to fit in a part time job. As an Ada graduate, it is my hope that more women and non-binary folks will be able to take advantage of this loan (a major change from most boot camps that want to charge you to be there) and get a start on achieving their dreams.