Conservancy support is critical to Outreachy

by Sage A. Sharp on December 29, 2020

The pandemic and other events in 2020 has disrupted all our lives. Many people have to choose between facing financial hardship, or putting themselves at risk to physically go to work.

That's why I'm so proud to work on Outreachy. Outreachy provides remote internships, allowing people to work safely from home. Outreachy interns work on free software projects, and our goal is to increase diversity in software freedom.

Outreachy's remote internships are crucial to helping attract and retain women free software, especially during a pandemic. NPR reported that women are leaving the workplace at four times the rate of men during the pandemic. This is partially because society pushes women to be the primary caregiver for children. Many women have been forced to choose between working and supporting their children.

Outreachy is proud to support parents during the pandemic. Our remote internship program means that parents don't have to choose between supporting their kids and pursuing a job working on free software. We're so proud of Outreachy interns who are mothers, like Guadalupe Arroyo, who was able to be an Outreachy intern and care for her toddler. Guadalupe was an Outreachy May 2020 intern with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. We're also proud of Lalitha, a 54 year-old mom who learned how to code after immigrating to America from India. Lalitha was an Outreachy May 2020 intern with Wikimedia.

Outreachy is proud to support people who are switching careers into tech. We're proud of Will Gutierrez, a trans Filipino, who got his first job in tech as an Outreachy intern! Will worked in many different careers before Outreachy, including as a suicide prevention counselor, cook, poet & playwright, and youth fishing & crabbing instructor. Will taught himself JavaScript through the online open source educational site, FreeCodeCamp. Will is a December 2020 Outreachy intern working with Public Lab.

Outreachy is also proud to support people in developing countries. This year, we accepted our largest internship cohort from African countries! In the December 2020 cohort, 19 out of 54 Outreachy interns are from African countries like Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda.

As word about Outreachy continues to spread around the world, our program becomes increasingly complex. It is a daunting task to handle tax forms and payments for over one hundred people per year!

It would be impossible to run Outreachy and do all of this good work without the support of Software Freedom Conservancy. Conservancy does much more than just provide a non-profit status for Outreachy. It's our fiscal parent, and our non-profit home. Conservancy goes above and beyond to help Outreachy. Conservancy staff promote Outreachy, help us find grants, navigate legal challenges, and vet mentoring communities.

Running an international free software mentoring program would be impossible without Conservancy's expertise, advice, and support. Outreachy is so grateful for Conservancy staff for their support.

Outreachy is also essential to Software Freedom Conservancy. Conservancy believes that anyone should be able to use, modify, distribute, and contribute to free software. Conservancy believes that everyone should have software freedom, especially people from marginalized communities. Conservancy is proud to support Outreachy.

I'm so thankful that Conservancy has worked with the Outreachy team to hire me to work full-time on Outreachy. It's the first time Conservancy has hired an employee on staff to work full-time on a member project. Even as a dedicated Outreachy employee, I'm now an integrated part of Conservancy staff. I can see how proud Conservancy is to do our part to create diverse and inclusive free software communities.

As Conservancy's newest staff member, I encourage you to donate to Software Freedom Conservancy's fundraiser. We are so close to hitting our goal for 2020. It's exciting to see so many people support Conservancy, and I hope you can too! Please consider becoming a Conservancy supporter today.

Tags: Outreachy

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