Hack the Hood is an Oakland-based non-profit located on Alice Street in Oakland Chinatown. Credit: Ricky Rodas

Oakland nonprofit Hack the Hood is offering free website design services to Bay Area-based small businesses and non-profit organizations this summer. Participants of Hack the Hood’s upcoming Hustle: Tech Foundations program, which is free, will design and build websites for qualifying businesses. 

“These are youth who sometimes don’t have access to their own laptops or these tech boot camps that are expensive, so we provide a $500 stipend and a laptop,” Ayana Ivery, Hack the Hood’s senior communications manager said. Participants are local BIPOC youth between the ages of 16-25. “I feel like it’s crucial that the tech industry is not only focused on making money but using tech for good.” 

The deadline for small businesses who want a new website or website redesign is Wednesday, June 15. Applicants must be able to pay for the domain name and hosting service and commit to at least two meetings with Hack the Hood’s team to share website needs and later get an orientation to their final website.

Founded in Oakland in 2012, Hack The Hood offers a variety of tech skill-building programs to youth and communities of color. The organization’s two other programs, Build: Data Science and Drive: Your Career Pathway, expand upon the basic tech skills participants learn in the Hustle Tech Foundations initiative. Last year, Hack the Hood partnered with Oakland Public Education Fund and Intel to teach 50 students from McClymonds High School and Oakland Technical High School basic tech skills.

Through the Hustle Tech Foundations initiative, the organization hopes to give young people a chance to practice their tech skills while also helping small businesses that have little to no digital presence.

“We like to focus on building up our local economy,” Ivery said. “We understand that small businesses don’t necessarily have the resources to employ someone to fill this need, so they often take on the task themselves.” 

Ricky Rodas is a member of the 2020 graduating class of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining The Oaklandside, he spent two years reporting on immigrant communities in the Bay Area as a reporter for the local news sites Oakland North, Mission Local, and Richmond Confidential. Rodas, who is Salvadoran American and bilingual, is on The Oaklandside team through a partnership with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.