The Michigan Council of Women in Technology Wednesday announced it had reached its goal of raising $1 million within a three-year timeline, a milestone for the nonprofit especially considering the state’s challenging economic environment.
The money goes toward supporting efforts to encourage women’s interest in technology education and careers. MCWT and its nonprofit Foundation offer programs like professional mentoring, scholarships, educational programs, summer IT camps and robotics grants for technology-oriented girls and women in southeast Michigan.
Said Marcy Klevorn, president of MCWT and global director of IT operations at Ford Motor Co.: “Numerous studies prove that diversity helps fuel innovation and the Michigan Council of Women in Technology creates events and programs that help women consider, advance and stay in the IT field.”
The organization reached its goal just a month ahead of its deadline through sponsorship dollars raised by the annual MCWT Signature Gala, a black-tie event drawing 600 IT leaders to the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center in Detroit this past November. The fundraiser brought in more than $300,000, which will support MCWT programs.
Co-hosted by Terry S. Kline, vice president and CIO at General Motors, and Klevorn, the event struck a chord with both individuals and companies as they came out in full force to support increasing the number of women in the technology field. Not only were high-profile CIOs in attendance, but many agreed to offer themselves for auction in the executive lunches category for the evening’s silent auction. Individuals bid on an opportunity to dine with CIOs from Ford, GM, Delphi, Consumers Energy, Kellogg and Federal Mogul.
“Our goal wouldn’t be achieved without the generosity of our sponsors,” said Carey Pachla, vice president of partnership for MCWT and a vice president at Fast Switch Ltd. “They truly are what make our ideas turn into reality. With collaboration like this, I’m confident we’ll continue to attract young women to this field, retain top IT talent and strengthen Michigan businesses.”
With the support of the organization’s nearly all-volunteer staff and community partners, MCWT and its Foundation have impacted thousands of girls and women. During the last three years, it has:
* Paired 95 women with mentors
* Awarded $203,000 in scholarships and grants for 22 women in technology programs at the university level
* Enabled 125 middle school girls to attend MCWT Camp Infinity, a weeklong IT summer camp
* Contributed $15,000 to help 30 all-girls robotics teams compete at Robofest
* Hosted 200 high school students in MCWT’s annual Web site design contest judged by area CIOs
* Produced more than 40 events that gathered approximately 8,000 professionals at all levels of education and career stages for networking, education and personal development
Companies who have contributed more than $25,000 in 2010 include Compuware, Computer Sciences Corp., Fujitsu and Tata Consultancy Services, Ltd. A comprehensive list can be found on the partner page of www.mcwt.org.
“Our belief is that to influence change, we need to start early,” Klevorn said. “Our programs — made possible by our partners — are designed to inspire and encourage girls, and show them that the IT industry is fun and rewarding. We’ve made great progress, but we still have a lot to do and many more girls to reach. This fundraising milestone helps us to do just that.”
MCWT promotes opportunity for women and girls within Michigan’s technology community. The organization supports Michigan’s female IT work force, students, corporate partners, schools and the overall community with networking, corporate IT leadership development, mentoring, technology experiences for professionals and students, and funding for technology-oriented education.