Diversity and good intentions

Supporting nonprofits that encourage diversity in the tech world.

At O’Reilly, we value diversity. At each O’Reilly conference, we choose a worthy nonprofit (particularly those that support diversity in the tech world) that we want to support. In the conference registration process, we invite attendees to make a donation to that organization, which is matched by O’Reilly Media.

Past matching donation recipients included some wonderful organizations, such as the National Center for Women & IT, Code.org, Girls Who Code, PyLadies, Anita Borg Institute, Black Girls Code, Women Who Code, and we’re currently raising money for Code2040 at OSCON.

For Solid 2015, we selected Double Union. A hacker/maker space by and for women seemed like an excellent nonprofit to get support from Solid attendees and O’Reilly.

But we made a mistake. We mentioned Double Union as the recipient of these matching donations and used their logo on the Solid Conference website, without first getting the permission of the Double Union board. That was a mistake that never should have happened.

At Double Union’s request, we’ve removed their name and logo from the conference website. We have also apologized to the Double Union board.

Some attendees of next week’s Solid Conference elected to make a donation to Double Union, but Double Union has declined those donations. If you chose to donate on your Solid registration form, please be aware that we’ll contact you soon to return your money, or offer the option of a new nonprofit recipient, to be named shortly and matched by O’Reilly. If you would like to make a donation directly to Double Union, see their website for information.

We’ve learned a lot from this experience, about our initial communication with nonprofits whose work we want to support, and a new level of awareness of the distinction between good intentions and effective outcomes in this area. We continue to feel excited about supporting many of the excellent nonprofits supporting diversity in the technology space. (If you know of a good one we may not be aware of, feel free to let us know.) O’Reilly recently started a diversity scholarship program for our events, and we look forward to supporting and participating in an increasingly diverse technology community.

— Jon Bruner and Gina Blaber

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