Amazon donates $3.9M to CodeVA to support computer science education
Richmond nonprofit will train teachers, students in 700 "high needs" schools
Amazon.com Inc. announced Wednesday that it will donate $3.9 million to Richmond-based CodeVA through 2022 to support the Richmond-based nonprofit’s plan to offer computer science education and training to more than 700 “high-needs” schools in the commonwealth.
The first of three $1.3 million installments, which has already been donated, will allow CodeVA to create virtual computer science curriculum for more than 12,000 teachers and 500,000 Virginia students in the Eastern Shore, Southern and Southwest Virginia regions that historically have lacked access to advanced computer science training, which is needed to fill jobs like those Amazon plans to create in its forthcoming HQ2 campus in Arlington. The Amazon donation will double CodeVA’s annual operating budget.
“Today’s young people, especially our computer science students, are tomorrow’s scientists, engineers, researchers, entrepreneurs and job creators,” Rebecca Dovi, CodeVA founder and director of education, said in a statement. “Now more than ever, it’s imperative more students have computer science resources to solve some of the big, unprecedented challenges our world faces.”
CodeVA already developed virtual learning programs for both students and teachers in the wake of school closures statewide in March. Programming has included code-along events, AP computer science exam preparation sessions and computer science education resources. CodeVA was founded in 2014 by Dovi, a former Hanover County teacher and a member of Code.org’s Education Advisory Council, to expand access to computer science literacy in Virginia, and more than 2,000 K-12 teachers have been trained since then to teach computer programming to their students. The organization also hosts summer computer camps for children.
Virginia’s first lady, Pamela Northam, a former science teacher and chair of the Virginia STEM Education Commission, announced the donation during a virtual visit to CodeRVA Regional High School computer science students who are learning from home.
In February, Gov. Ralph Northam announced more than $1.3 million in state grants to support the implementation of Virginia’s Computer Science Standards of Learning.
“We have made great strides in recent years in igniting curiosity in STEM education and careers in an equitable way, and we won’t let this pandemic slow us down,” Pamela Northam said. “Amazon’s donation to CodeVA strengthens Virginia’s first-of-their-kind computer science standards and will help students develop these critical workforce skills while they learn from home and once they transition back to the classroom.”