By funding Hypatia, you are enabling us to build the next iteration of Hypatia into 2018 with the following improvements:
Part time mentorship coordinator to manage and track the status of our students
Funding for the Emergency Cash Relief Program
Part time administrative support staff
I found out about Hypatia through a friend of mine when I was in a severe time of need and personal crisis. Without the assistance of their emergency cash fund, I hwould have likely would have lost electrical services to my home and been out of food. Additionally, the program was able to help with the costs associated with filing for my name change.
So, for that, I am so thankful that the program exists for those who need it. Speaking from experience, it’s an amazing thing to have that kind of help when the world seems darkest.
— Bridget, 2017
In the beginning…
Hypatia Software Organization (HSO) was founded in 2015 by a group of homeless and disabled trans developers creating the Hypatia Engine (https://engine.hypatia.software). Since not everyone in the group of developers had the skills required to work on the project, the group quickly adopted an informal peer-mentorship model. Simply put, the community pooled their efforts to teach each others the required skills necessary for developing the Hypatia Engine. At the time, the goal was simply just to build the Hypatia Engine, to create their portfolios, and enable them to obtain gainful employment in the tech industry. After a few months of hard work the group founder, who had been homeless until this point, secured employment and this greatly improved her life circumstances. At the beginning of the next year, HSO was re-conceived as a resource to help others better their situations and bring hope to trans people who experience systemic disenfranchisement, poverty, and homelessness. We seek to provide opportunities for experiences of transmisogyny, the intersection of misogyny and transphobia, to flourish, in software and beyond.
HSO has come a long way since its founding. Most significantly, Hypatia obtained 501(c)(3) charity status in February 2017. Obtaining non-profit status has allowed Hypatia to reach an ever-growing number of trans individuals in need of aid, and will allow us to grow to meet future demand.
This year we have been working hard on improving the efficacy of our programs, internal organization, and reducing our operational overhead to optimize our ability to help our members the most we can with the means provided by our generous donors and contributors. This includes providing our members with part-time paidinternships with HSO to help grow and maintain the organization.
HSO is currently volunteer run with help from paid interns. In 2017 Hypatia has accomplished the following milestones:
Added 47 new full members, bringing the entire membership to over 205 full members as of of this blog post
24 of the new members were enrolled in our Mentorship Program
On-boarded 31 new peer mentors
Processed 52 Emergency Cash Relief (ECR) applications to help stabilize our membership’s access to food, transportation, medication, and other basic needs
Our Mentorship Program aims to provide disenfranchised experiencers of transmisogyny with the tools to help them overcome the obstacles of their situation and the systematic discrimination that has denied them such opportunities. We believe that by equipping our members with the skills they need in order to get hired in the tech industry, our members will flourish economically as there is a high demand for tech workers. Our mentors utilize our syllabus along with their professional knowledge and experience in order to teach in-demand skills such as full-stack web development and systems administration. Another important aspect of our mentorship program is that our mentors double as role models for our members. Our members can see themselves in their mentors and be encouraged that they themselves can achieve success.
Working with my mentor has given me some confidence that I can actually do more technical things. Tackling python has been an issue for me since I am the type of person who needs support to get through tougher problems in general, and learning python makes you hit a lot of walls if you don’t know your way around. My mentor has shown me things while pointing out that I have my own ability too. I am now less scared of larger, complex projects that I can now figure out.
— Janice, 2017
Throughout the mentorship program, our members work on projects that demonstrate their skills to their future employers. Additionally, we help our members with their resumes and also help them prepare for interviews. By providing our members with this fully fledged package of help we optimize their ability to handle job interviews with confidence and success.
Technology Resources Program
HSO’s Laptop Program aims to provide disenfranchised participants of our Mentorship Program and other eligible members with the tools needed to utilize the knowledge and skills we provide through our Mentorship Program.
The Laptop Program is mission critical part of our endeavors to help our disenfranchised experiencers of transmisogyny secure the foundations required for them to overcome their situation and succeed, without the equipment to put their knowledge into use a lot of opportunities would be gate-kept, as not all jobs come with physical location or company devices. While portable devices have increased in computing power, these devices can not do what a full laptop can for creation. Note: relevance? The laptops costs less or similar to phones
Through our Emergency Cash Relief Program we help ensure the basics needed for the survival and stability, such as food, medicine, and shelter, required to focus on studying and job hunting. This is a mission critical component that ensures the retention and efficacy of other programs such as the Mentorship Program by diminishing or removing factors such as homelessness, starvation, and depression from daily life, thus providing both our members and HSO with the optimal foundation for helping experiencers of transmisogyny succeed. Without this program many participants of the Mentorship Program would have to drop out, being unable to stay the course due to avoidable issues relating to depression, starvation, and homelessness.
I recently lost my job and while looking for employment i ran out of funds. I live in an apartment and was unable to cover my entire rent. Hypatia helped with what i needed and if it hadn‘t been for [Hypatia’s] promptness i might have been without a place to live during the holiday season. I‘m very thankful that there is an organization like this to help people like me.
On behalf of Hypatia Software Organization I would like to extend a special thank you to the people at FundClub who were able to raise $8,500 USD for us!!We are extremely excited about this development, and cannot wait to begin the difficult, but important work ahead. These funds give us the ability to fully offer our services to homeless, and disenfranchised, trans women.
We are planning on using the funds assist Hypatia in some of the following core areas:
Streamlining and expanding the mentorship program
Emergency cash relief funds to assist in buying HRT, bus fare, etc.
Laptops for homeless / disenfranchised trans women
Overhead (eg. VPS, domains, service providers)
Assisting with internships
Creating job opportunities
Thanks again to the FundClub – you are an amazing group!
It is an honor to have be added to the ever growing list of organizations that you have helped empower though your good will.We at Hypatia will do our best to put these new funds to work, in the spirit that they were given.
The next steps will be decided at our weekly Membership Meetings, which currently are every Sunday at 5:00PM CST and last one hour. If you would like to attend, please join the #member-meeting channel on the Slack Team. If you need to be invited to the Slack Team, please fill out either the Volunteer, or Benefits Application, and we will invite you as soon as we can.
We’re now selling shirts, hoodies, and teddy bears! Really cool people have been wearing Hypatia shirts and hoodies (see pics below!)! 100% of the proceeds go to empowering transgender women. From now until March 15 get 15% off hoodies–our hoodies are awesome!