Over the last few months I’ve been working with various fab people to get The <goto> Foundation up and running. Being an academic, setting up a non-profit organisation is not something that I’ve got a lot of experience with, and that’s my big excuse for why it has taken me such a long time ;)
On the positive side, I have learnt a ridiculous amount this year, about setting up organisations, the non-profit sector, and a lot more besides. I’ve also learnt quite a bit about myself, which has been “interesting” too. I now know that I’m very patriotic, very passionate about computer science, and very good at overcommitting and wearing myself out amongst other things. I’ve also learnt that I’m very lucky to know so many amazing, clever, kind and giving people :)
So, I decided to set up The <goto> Foundation at the end of last year to
“make computer science more meaningful to the general public, generate interest and excitement in computing and help to create a tech savvy workforce”.
My blogpost from last November tells that story in more detail: http://drblack.posterous.com/the-foundation
Since then I have spent almost every waking moment trying to work out how to make this positive change happen. It has not been easy and I’ve at times felt that I’m not the right person to do it. I thought it would take me a couple of months to get it all going, and here we are in August and we are still near the beginning of the journey. Gah!
Anyway, I decided to knock all the self doubt I had on the head when I reached the grand old age of 50 a few weeks ago. I now have to admit to myself that I really am a grown up and I should stop worrying about stuff and just bloody get on with it ;) Doh!
So anyway. The <goto> Foundation….where are we?
Well, we have a business plan, we have a better idea of what we want to do and how, and we have held our first event in partnership with IntellectUK: #gototech – which has been a fabulous success :)) BBC News reported on the Raspberry Pi part here and Computer Weekly reported on it here, do watch the video to hear the excitement of everyone involved in a one day workshop at St Matthew’s School with Raspberry Pi, AppsforGoodCDI and Miles Berry at Roehampton Institute. We got 90 7-9 year old kids, their teachers and parents very excited about computing, it was a fab day. Read the blogpost about it.
So anyway, where are we now and why am I writing this blogpost? Well, I need your help. I have spoken to loads of great people over the last few months who have given me lots of ideas, support and feedback. We now have a business plan for <goto> that includes our manifesto and ideas for what we want to do and how we are going to do it.
This is the part where you come in….. we really want your feedback on our business plan. We are looking for about £70k in the first instance to really start ramping up <goto> and want to know what you think about our ideas.
We have posted our business plan here on Google docs please feel free to comment on the doc or send me your comments at sue at gotofdn dot org.
If business plans aren’t your thing (and after the last few months I’m not sure they are mine ;-o) and would like to help out in some way then please do have a look through the plan to see what type of activities we will be getting up to and then get in touch to offer what you can, be it advice, a donation, a lead for corporate sponsorship or some in-kind support.
If you know anyone who might be able to help or advise us, especially in how to bootstrap the organisation, explore and create our business model, advise us on crowdfunding, help us set up large, national scale activities or just give us bucket loads of cash then please introduce us!
Our manifesto is below. Please let us know what you think and if you can help. We really look forward to hearing from you, thanks very much for your support :))
The <goto> Foundation
Computing and technology is utterly pervasive throughout our world today, but public understanding of technology remains very poor, public perception of computer science is often negative, and many people struggle with or avoid technologies which have the power to help them hugely in their daily lives.
The <goto> Foundation aspires to rebrand computer science, raise public awareness and knowledge of technology, and enable everyone to use, benefit from and enjoy the powerful computing systems in our lives today.
The <goto> Foundation will catalyse rapid change in these areas, through direct strategic action.
<goto>’s aims are to excite, engage, empower and enlighten.
We want to bring together existing projects, people and organisations working in this field – we’re not reinventing the wheel – and <goto> will connect groups with the individuals and resources they need to operate most effectively.
At the same time, <goto> is attempting something new and unique – to raise the profile of technology with the general public through national scale campaigns and events, taking computer science outreach beyond schools and making it relevant to people’s everyday lives.
This isn’t about getting everyone coding – it’s also about design, hardware, security, user experience and more. It’s about empowering everyone to make the most of the technologies available to them; exciting and enlightening them about the power of computer science and its impact on our daily lives; and engaging people with computing and the issues around it.