My name is Winter, and I have created this campaign to help me pay for my living expenses while I attend a web developer bootcamp. I want to be able create apps and platforms that bring people together.
I’ve spent most of my working life at non-profit organizations that empower girls and women, advocate for homeless and at-opportunity LGBTQIA youth, and create safer, more inclusive spaces through working groups. About three years ago, I stumbled into the tech world through a “task”-oriented gig economy platform; one of my jobs was assembling product for an IoT startup. Nine months later, I’d become the company’s Operations Manager, where my duties included working with the developers and performing web and app QA.
Since then, I have wanted to be able to create my own platforms. I’ve always been creative, and web development to me is a medium of expression. It’s amazing to be able to go from nothing to a beautiful, functioning app or website or product.
Beginning in March, I looked into various coding programs around New York City, but none were accessible to me financially. It was sheer luck that around the same time I started seriously looking for a bootcamp, a dear friend shared a full-tuition scholarship opportunity through Dev Bootcamp’s inaugural Access Fund Scholarship.
After I was awarded the scholarship, I enrolled in a cohort which was to begin two months later on August 7 so I would have enough time to fund my living expenses (since I would have to leave my job). After a lot of internal debate, I decided to apply for a personal loan rather than rely on crowdfunding my living expenses.
The stars had aligned--I had a full-tuition scholarship, given notice at my job, purchased a new MacBook, and secured my cost of living loan. Then, on July 12, Dev Bootcamp announced that they were closing their doors due to an unsustainable business model, and the cohort I was scheduled to attend was cancelled. DBC reached out to other bootcamps in the industry and found one that is willing to honor my scholarship, Flatiron School. However, the loan I had received through Skills Fund was school-specific, so I can't use the funds for the new program. As it seems, each school determines whether to offer financing for tuition only or tuition and cost of living, and this new school, I learned, only offered a tuition financing option. That was another hard blow.
I enrolled in my new cohort, which begins October 9, and now I need to find funding to support me while I learn.
WINTER, WHY A CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN?
I am asking the community for support because it serves the community to hold each other up when systems let us down. All kinds of people use tech, so tech should be created by people that span the multitude of the various genders, races, nationalities, economic statuses, neurodiversity, and so on.
I’ve turned to crowdfunding because it would be a shame to have made it this far only to not be able to attend because I wouldn’t be able to afford a place to sleep, food to eat, or a way to get to school.
I have scoured the internet for grants or scholarships to help pay for living expenses while doing my web development immersive, but have come up empty-handed. It’s not that I haven’t been awarded anything--I haven’t even found money for which I can apply. Most scholarships are only for undergraduate or graduate students. Grants are rarely offered to individuals; usually an individual needs to be sponsored by an organization. And even then, I haven't come across many options. That is why I turn to the general public to help me pay for my day-to-day living while I embark on this new chapter of my career.
WINTER, HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR CAMPAIGN GOAL? WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING?
I chose the campaign goal based on my monthly expenses multiplied by the number of months I will not be able to work. While the bootcamp will last about 4 months, I need to account for potential time between when bootcamp ends and when I find a job (and get my first paycheck). I've also included a little extra to account for the fee that GoFundMe takes out. I’ve outlined my monthly expenses below.
x 4 months (duration of bootcamp) = $7,223.92 x 7 months (4 month of bootcamp + potentially 3 months looking for employment) = $12,641.86
** GoFundMe fees on $13,750 (8%): $1,100
Because my campaign goal accounts for up to 3 months after bootcamp to secure a job, there is a chance that I will not need the full amount of funding. If there are unused funds from this campaign at the time that I find a job, I would like to put that money towards contributions for other POC to attend bootcamp or donate to an organization serving underrepresented groups in tech.
WINTER, I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY TO DONATE, BUT I WANT TO HELP. WHAT CAN I DO?
I appreciate your support in every way. If you want to help, but you don’t have money to contribute, there are other ways you can help:
1) Spread the word! Share this with your circles. You never know if you know someone who has the means to help financially or if you have a friend of a friend of a friend who knows of grants or scholarships that are available.
2) If you have a service/talent/connection that you would like to add as a reward to add a little more incentive for donating. Sometimes knowing that a person has helped lift up Black, queer, trans voices in tech is enough, and sometimes a person just wants some stuff.
3) Contribute services or goods that take the place of expenses. Want to share a meal? Have access to free laundry facilities (and a vehicle to transport my laundry)? Know a magical way to make student loans disappear?
* For the sake of transparency, the credit card balances are from a combination of buying a laptop for bootcamp, and paying expenses while in between jobs last winter.
** GoFundMe charges a 5% fee per donation plus a processing fee of 2.9% + $.30 per donation.