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How We’re Working to Diversify Brigade Leadership

At Code for America, inclusion and diversity are core values. As Catherine Bracy, Director of Community Engagement at Code for America says, “We believe civic tech cannot work unless it works for everyone.”

This is only possible if a diverse community of leaders and creators help build the technology and government processes intended to serve them.

To hold ourselves accountable to our values, and to support strong Code for America volunteer chapters that look like the cities where they work, we wanted to share what the Code for America Brigade is doing to bring everyone, not just anyone, into our network in 2015.

Baselines: Understanding Where We’re At

To spur real change, community leaders must reflect the cities where they work. To understand where to go and what steps to take to get there, we first needed to see the current composition of our Brigade leadership teams. To do this, we conducted a demographic survey of Brigade leadership teams. The responses were collected online and represent 54 percent of the full population. We’ve surveyed Brigade membership in the past, but this was the first time we focused on the leadership.

Here is what our Brigade leadership community looks like:

Race/Ethnicity 

brigade-race_720[At Code for America, inclusion and diversity are core values. As Catherine Bracy, Director of Community Engagement at Code for America says, “We believe civic tech cannot work unless it works for everyone.”

This is only possible if a diverse community of leaders and creators help build the technology and government processes intended to serve them.

To hold ourselves accountable to our values, and to support strong Code for America volunteer chapters that look like the cities where they work, we wanted to share what the Code for America Brigade is doing to bring everyone, not just anyone, into our network in 2015.

Baselines: Understanding Where We’re At

To spur real change, community leaders must reflect the cities where they work. To understand where to go and what steps to take to get there, we first needed to see the current composition of our Brigade leadership teams. To do this, we conducted a demographic survey of Brigade leadership teams. The responses were collected online and represent 54 percent of the full population. We’ve surveyed Brigade membership in the past, but this was the first time we focused on the leadership.

Here is what our Brigade leadership community looks like:

Race/Ethnicity 

brigade-race_720](http://www.codeforamerica.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.06.06-PM.png)

[At Code for America, inclusion and diversity are core values. As Catherine Bracy, Director of Community Engagement at Code for America says, “We believe civic tech cannot work unless it works for everyone.”

This is only possible if a diverse community of leaders and creators help build the technology and government processes intended to serve them.

To hold ourselves accountable to our values, and to support strong Code for America volunteer chapters that look like the cities where they work, we wanted to share what the Code for America Brigade is doing to bring everyone, not just anyone, into our network in 2015.

Baselines: Understanding Where We’re At

To spur real change, community leaders must reflect the cities where they work. To understand where to go and what steps to take to get there, we first needed to see the current composition of our Brigade leadership teams. To do this, we conducted a demographic survey of Brigade leadership teams. The responses were collected online and represent 54 percent of the full population. We’ve surveyed Brigade membership in the past, but this was the first time we focused on the leadership.

Here is what our Brigade leadership community looks like:

Race/Ethnicity 

brigade-race_720[At Code for America, inclusion and diversity are core values. As Catherine Bracy, Director of Community Engagement at Code for America says, “We believe civic tech cannot work unless it works for everyone.”

This is only possible if a diverse community of leaders and creators help build the technology and government processes intended to serve them.

To hold ourselves accountable to our values, and to support strong Code for America volunteer chapters that look like the cities where they work, we wanted to share what the Code for America Brigade is doing to bring everyone, not just anyone, into our network in 2015.

Baselines: Understanding Where We’re At

To spur real change, community leaders must reflect the cities where they work. To understand where to go and what steps to take to get there, we first needed to see the current composition of our Brigade leadership teams. To do this, we conducted a demographic survey of Brigade leadership teams. The responses were collected online and represent 54 percent of the full population. We’ve surveyed Brigade membership in the past, but this was the first time we focused on the leadership.

Here is what our Brigade leadership community looks like:

Race/Ethnicity 

brigade-race_720](http://www.codeforamerica.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.06.06-PM.png)

](http://www.codeforamerica.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-4.06.06-PM.png)

Gender

brigade-gender_720

Age 

brigade-age_720

In addition to race/ethnicity, gender, and age we also surveyed Brigade members on the following:

LGBTQI: 9.4 percent of Brigade leaders identify as LGBTQI compared to 2.3 percent nationally, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Education: 90.1 percent of Brigade leaders report completing a Bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 28.8 percent nationally, as reported by the United States Census.

Income: The median income of Brigade leader is $50,000.01-$75,000 compared to $30,454 average median income for a worker in the United States, as reported by the United States Census.

Goals & Execution: Where We’re Going & How We’re Going to Get There

In 2015, we want to help bring more people into the Brigade to create a network that is increasingly more representative of the communities in which our Brigades live and work. Here are three steps we’re taking to get there:

Work with Brigades to Pilot Inclusion Strategies

We’re working closely with a few Brigades to develop and execute inclusion strategies for their local chapters. We’ll document the process for each group and share them with the network so Brigades can understand what worked, what didn’t, and what strategies and tactics they’d like to use to make their Brigades more inclusive.

One strategy we’re already excited about is the spread of partnerships between local Brigades and Girl Develop It chapters modeled after Code for Philly and GDI Philly’s Summer of Open Source. The partnership resulted in gender parity in Code for Philly’s Brigade membership and new opportunities for GDI Philly fellows to practice coding skills. A handful of Brigades are looking to host their own Summer of Open Source program.

Support Brigades in Recruiting More Diverse Leadership Teams

We are planning a series of training sessions for Brigade leaders on building and working with diverse leadership teams. The programming sessions will be in collaboration with local Brigades who have already executed on diversity strategies.

Spread the Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy Across the Network

In 2014, Code for America created a Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy that applies to our network activities, events, and digital forums. In 2015, we are requiring that all Official Brigade Chapters and Brigade Network Members publish a Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy. We will also require all events participating in CodeAcross and National Day of Civic Hacking have a Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy published on their event webpage.

We’re focusing on the Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy to set the standard of what constitutes safe space across the Code for America Brigade Network.

We’re committed to doing this work, talking publically about lessons learned, and reporting back on our progress. We will be running a demographic survey of Brigade leadership every February and a demographic survey of Brigade membership every August.

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