KKR portfolio companies will help teach girls tech skills.

By Madeline Farber
May 2, 2017

For the past five years, Girls Who Code has primarily looked to the technology industry for help with its urgent mission: closing the tech gender gap.

But on Tuesday, the nonprofit announced a new type of partner: private equity firm KKR. The PE company exclusively tells Fortune that two of its tech-focused portfolio companies—GoDaddy and First Data—will sponsor Girls Who Code’s Summer Immersion Program, a free, seven-week curriculum where rising high school senior and junior girls learn coding skills. Nationwide, the program serves about 1,600 girls. This year, First Data and GoDaddy will host 20 students each, concentrating on web development and design, robotics, and mobile development.

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KKR is also doubling any donations its employees make to Girls Who Code throughout the month of May. The funds raised will be help pay for student stipends, curriculum development, measurement and evaluation, and software.

In the future, the PE firm says that more of its 100 portfolio companies will take part in the partnership—a welcome move, considering Girls Who Code has an abundance of applicants to its summer program, but not enough resources to accommodate to all the girls who want to take part; this year, more than 5,000 girls have applied for the summer program, according to Hannah Nance, the director of corporate partnerships at Girls Who Code. But with 93% of past Summer Immersion Program participants saying they’re more interested in pursuing a degree in computer science because of the experience, the nonprofit says solidifying partnerships like the one with KKR is becoming increasingly important.

“What they [Girls Who Code] need is more companies to step up, offer space, money, and resources,” says Ted Oberwager, a member of KKR’s private equity and TMT growth teams. “We’re doing just that.”

Additionally, Oberwager says that many of the firms’ 100-plus portfolio companies are tech-focused, putting KKR in an “unique position” to expand this effort. “Since technology is impacting more and more of these companies everyday, this is just the start,” he says.

Previously, Girls Who Code has worked mostly with technology companies, says Nance. The partnership with KKR is “an exciting next step—we’re engaging in a sector that we haven’t before,” she says.

“Who better to parter with than a firm that is investing in companies that are influencing our day-to-day lives?” asks Nance. “[These companies] are likely going to one day employ the girls that are going through these programs.”

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