This Nonprofit Wants to Teach 20,000 Women to Code by 2020

Fed up with how slow progress has been, a U.K.-based charity is going full throttle on closing the gender wage gap in tech.

Code First: Girls, located in Britain, is an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to teaching free computer programming skills to women. The organization recently made headlines when it announced its 20:20 campaign—an initiative to train 20,000 women to code by the end of 2020.

It’s bold, it’s revolutionary, and it’s inspiring. But most importantly, it’s possible thanks to myriad supporters both domestic and abroad.

One such supporter is global investment firm KKR, which will provide financial backing for the campaign beginning December 2017. The firm’s generosity reflects a company culture that’s been cultivated by co-CEOS Henry Kravis and George Roberts, who have continually backed initiatives related to diversity and inclusion.

“Coding is becoming an increasingly important skill that should be available equally to all, regardless of gender,” said Jean-Pierre Saad, Director of KKR’s TMT team in London. “We are hence [sic] delighted to partner with a pioneering organization like Code First: Girls and support them in tackling gender diversity in tech, which we believe will drive better outcomes for businesses and our communities.”

“One of the biggest barriers to women entering the tech industry is education, and our 20:20 campaign is designed to address this by providing skills that are critical to the digital economy,” said Amali de Alwis, CEO of Code First: Girls. “Our partnership with a leading investment firm like KKR, which has such a deep and wide network with companies in the U.K. and worldwide, is a fantastic opportunity for our organization. Their support is key to us delivering our 20:20 campaign.”

Since its initial founding in 2012, Code First: Girls has taught over 4,000 women how to program. If the organization is to meet its 20:20 campaign goal, they will need to teach approximately 16,000 women to code over the next three years.

Challenging? Yes. Impossible? No.

Organizations Profiles

United Water and KKR Give Little League a Chance

Little league
IMG: via United Water

Who can forget the devastating images of Hurricane Sandy?  Homes and businesses were torn apart and the emotional toll was even higher than monetary value.   It can be difficult to rebuild and get a fresh start with damages in the millions.

However, United Water and its financial partner Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) recently donated $50,000 to Bayonne Little League to help restore facilities that were damaged during the storm. The money was presented at Little League Family Day which was sponsored by both companies at the Little League complex.

Part of the reason they chose to donate to this particular cause was that it was for the kids.  They wanted to give the children hope for their team.  The playing fields, office, concession stand and bathrooms were all inundated and damaged by tidal waters during the storm.

United Water often provides assistance to community organizations that are in need.  According to Chris Riat, senior director of NJ contract operations for United Water, “We chose the Bayonne Little League because of the outstanding impact it has had on the city’s youth over the years and the countless hours spent by the volunteers who run the organization. We are proud to be of assistance.”

“With United Water and KKR’s assistance, we are able to restore the Little League facilities and continue to provide an enriching experience for the children in Bayonne,” said Joe Spengler, commissioner of the Bayonne Little League. “We are grateful for their contribution and support.”

KKR is a global investment firm that works with companies and investment partners around the world “to deliver flexible capital solutions.” Henry Kravis is the co-founder and co-CEO of KKR.  According to the website, KKR is “a global investor with a long-term horizon.  KKR makes…decisions that can have an enormous impact: millions of individuals depend upon [us for]…quality of life.”

Organizations Resources

KKR Global Institute Helps Companies Grow Sustainably

KKR Global Institute Helps Companies Grow Sustainably
IMG: via Shutterstock

One of the world’s leading investment firms, KKR recently established the KKR Global Institute, led by General David Petraeus, in order to invest funds in emerging markets in the smartest and most productive ways possible.  In recent years, KKR has recognized the importance of growing businesses sustainably, and this will be the cornerstone of the newly founded investing arm of a company that could be a major part of building the global economy.

KKR manages over $78 billion in assets, and can therefore make a huge dent in global economic development.  The firm recognizes its responsibility to ensure that future generations benefit from the decisions it makes today.  Knowing that millions of people depend on returns on investments that KKR manages for retirement or education or even employment, KKR focuses on building long term, sustainable investments that all stakeholders can benefit from.

This is a rare practice in today’s “get rich quick” mentality of Wall Street.  The company participates in the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment, a voluntary framework that lays out how investing should be managed for the greater good.  Members of the firm also helped create the Guidelines on Responsible Investment for the Private Equity Growth Capital Council.

In 2008, KKR introduced a Green Portfolio Program, which has 25 participants managing green portfolios, which measure financial impact toward an environmental cause and measures reduction in carbon emissions.  Last year participating companies collectively reported $644 million in sustainable investments and large emission reductions, landfill aversions and less water use.  The company has a strong set of core values and remains one of the most highly respected investment firms in business.


Prominent People in Philanthropy: Jenny Farrelly

Jenny Farrelly
IMG: via

Jenny Farrelly is a successful businesswoman who is dedicated to helping young people move up in the world. With a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Farrelly knows how far a good education can take a person.

Her education has taken her to KKR, the private equity giant led by co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts. Jenny Farrelly is a member of the Global Public Affairs team and key media contact for KKR. Her education was specialized for work in finance and corporate communications, and she has worked for other notable corporations like Edelman’s Corporate & Financial Communications practice, Citigroup, and Stifel Nicolas.

Jenny Farrelly’s résumé is enviable, but through her involvement in programs like the Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) and Student Sponsor Partners (SSP), she has proven that she’s dedicated to helping others do the same.

To read the entire profile on Jenny Farrelly, visit here.

Profiles Resources

Non-Bank Financial Companies

Non Banking Financial Companies
IMG: via

Most of the time when people think about borrowing or saving money or making investments, they think about banks. But banks are not always the only option for individuals dealing with capital. Non-bank financial companies (NBFCs) are financial institutions that are not legally banks, yet can provide many banking services to the public.

Though NBFCs cannot usually accept deposits from the public, they can still provide an array of services, such as giving out loans, funding educational costs, lending credit lines, providing retirement planning, and other investment services dealing with money markets and stocks. They also commonly provide real estate investments for companies.

In the past few years, the number of NBFCs has grown greatly, and they continue to pop into existence here and there. For example, Henry Kravis’ and George Roberts’ private equity company, KKR, recently partnered with Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund to set up an NBFC that will primarily lend money for property developers in India.

This is particularly good news for developers, as loans have been harder and harder to come by during these hard economic times. Banks are becoming more hesitant to lend money for fear that it will not be paid back because of the economic slump; however, this only serves to exacerbate the problem by discouraging growth. NBFCs can help remedy the issue.

“The NBFC will offer structured debt to real estate companies and it is a good way to bring permanent, long-term debt and equity capital into the sector,” said one source close to the KKR and Singapore partnership.

Since public deposits cannot usually be accepted by NBFCs, they must find some other way to stay afloat. This is where companies like KKR come into play, since they lend the money needed to fund operations. When loans are repaid with interest, the investing companies earn back the money spent and then some, all the while helping to spur economic growth.

Profiles Resources

Thomas Uger Profile

Thomas Uger
IMG: via

One business executive who is doing big things in the philanthropy world is Thomas Uger, co-head of KKR’s Media and Communications industry team in North America. Uger received his B.A. from the prestigious Dartmouth College, and since then he’s kept himself active in the philanthropy scene.

The Dutchess Land Conservancy has a mission to protect wildlife habitats, forests, water, and open space in the county from being developed or damaged. It does so by gaining private property easements through donation or purchase. A landowner in Dutchess County, Thomas Uger made a significant donation the Dutchess Land Conservancy—125 acres, which includes a rare circumnatural bog lake home to many rare creatures and plants.

Also interested in preserving arts and culture, Thomas Uger served as a board member for the Katharsis Theater Company, which is currently on artistic hiatus. A classic theater group, Katharsis has put on productions of classic tales for contemporary audiences, aiming for dramatic interpretations of time-tested stories that hold universal truths, conditions, and experiences for all audiences.

As if his position at KKR didn’t keep him busy enough, Thomas Uger is also on the board of trustees for WNET. A non-profit organization, WNET is the “premier public media provider” in NYC. It is parent to two other public television stations and also hosts several digital services, websites, and more. It is governed by a board of 38 trustees that meets regularly throughout the year.

WNET is a major producer of media on local, national, and international levels, and has won several awards for its content—which includes programs covering arts and cluture, news, public affairs, science, natural history, documentaries, and children’s programming. WNET also hosts the annual Celebration of Teaching & Learning, a professional development conference for the world’s top educators, thinkers, and practitioners.


Organizations Resources

Private Equity and Charity: An Unexpected Matchup

IMG: via Shutterstock

Most people don’t exactly relate private equity and charity to each other—but maybe they should. Private equity and venture philanthropy share a fair number of similarities, including the need for efficiency, the acquisition of portfolios, and good exit timing.

The Impetus Trust and the Private Equity Foundation are two organizations that have figured this out already. The two have joined hands and are taking the charity scene by storm. Their goal is to invest from £8-£10 million in UK charities to help fight repeated criminal offenses, unemployment among youth, and poverty.

Private equity traditionally follows a model that allows them to give struggling companies an internal reorganization or “makeover,” which makes them more efficient overall. For example, private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has a program called Capstone, which places executives on the board of struggling companies to offer guidance, leadership, and support. The Private Equity Foundation and Impetus Trust will do the same with charities, helping them become more profitable and lowering overhead costs.

Both private equity and venture philanthropy also often acquire “portfolios” of investments; for private equity those portfolios are companies, and for venture philanthropy they are charities. The goal when acquiring these portfolios is usually to get them turned around and functioning independently and profitably. At that point, the “exit” is made.

Henry Kravis once said, “[D]on’t congratulate us when we buy a company, congratulate us when we sell it. Because any fool can overpay and buy a company, as long as money will last to buy it.” Private equity operates under a model that requires a successful turnaround to make a profit. That means companies like KKR are seasoned experts on creating efficiency—something that a successful charity will be as well.

The culture of giving has continued to grow over the past few years, and that’s a trend that many are hoping will continue. Older generations that have finished their careers are looking for ways to give back and the younger generations are becoming more and more socially active and engaged with causes. Partnerships like the one between the Impetus Trust and Private Equity Foundation have strength moving forward, and stand to make a huge impact on venture philanthropy.


Bill Sonneborn, KKR financier and philanthropist

bill sonneborn
IMG: via

Bill Sonneborn is perhaps best known for his professional career at Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts LLC- where he is the head of KKR Asset Management and CEO of KKR Financial Holdings.  But the reason why is he is being featured on Philanthropic People is for his dedicated philanthropy and advocacy.

Not only is Sonneborn one of the four business leaders elected to the LPCH board, but he is also a Director of the Los Angeles Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  To find out more about Bill Sonneborn read his entire profile here.






Dean B. Nelson- providing guidance

Sometimes the best type of philanthropy is that which provides guidance. Dean B. Nelson of KKR has provided a multitude of portfolio companies with just that, since he’s the one who founded KKR’s Capstone program in 2000.

Nelson’s KKR Capstone offers companies guidance, which helps them get back on their feet and become a profitable company again. By keeping companies from going under, KKR Capstone has saved thousands of jobs.

Dean B. Nelson is also an advocate for causes like CareNet.  To read all about him and what KKR Capstone does to help the environment, read his full profile here.


Robin Hood Foundation- New York Anti-Poverty

robin hood foundation
IMG: via

New York City is filled with organizations that are working to help combat poverty, but one of the best, and the most awesomely named, is the Robin Hood Foundation.  Founded more than 20 years ago, the foundation works with some of the most innovative thinkers and thought leader, including financiers like Goldman Sachs Group CEO Lloyd Blankfein or KKR’s Kenneth Mehlman.

The Robin Hood Foundation partners with innovative organizations in the New York area in order to help control and wipe out poverty. The Foundation is committed to affecting all pieces of the poverty puzzle, including chronic illnesses, education, and homelessness.

Read our full profile on the Robin Hood Foundation here.