Google, Microsoft, and other major names in tech are joining together with the nonprofit Code.org in a major fundraising drive that hopes to introduce 100 million students to coding. Code.org wants to bring its computer science courses into tens of thousands of new classrooms over the next year, and it says that it'll need $5 million in order to do that. It's launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise the money, but it'll only need to get half of it from web donors — the other half will come from dollar-for-dollar matching provided by the supporting tech companies and figures, which also includes Bill Gates and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.
Code.org is particularly focused on promoting its Hour of Code program, which introduces students to coding with a basic, hourlong tutorial. The nonprofit's hope is to reach schools that don't already offer computer science courses — and 90 percent of schools don't, it says — thus giving kids their first exposure to coding, which is becoming an ever more valuable asset when looking for a job. The campaign has a worldwide scope and isn't aimed at any particular grade level. It also intends to divide its focus evenly between boys and girls, potentially narrowing the gender gap that's become increasingly apparent as large tech companies release statistics on their lack of workforce diversity.