BUILD IT: Girls Building Information Technology Fluency Through Design


“The Gap Foundation has supported Girls Inc. of Alameda County for seven years. During this time, Girls Inc. has continuously demonstrated that they are a high-quality organization with strong leadership and staff who are committed to positively impacting the lives of the girls they serve. The organization is thoughtful about how it uses its resources with a focus on efficiency and maximum positive impact. Gap Inc. employees who have volunteered with the organization over the years have spoken positively about their experience with the Girls Inc. team and the youth they serve.”

-- Bobbi Silten, President, Gap Foundation

Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials
Hands on/Project-Based
Informal /Out of School

Target Audience


Black/African American


Low Socio-Economic Status




Grades 6 - 8

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

Build IT is accessible to Girls Inc.'s 1,500 program sites that reach more than 800,000 girls annually. Studies show that the program increases girls' interest in technology careers while combating the stereotype that such careers are primarily for men rather than women.


Program Overview

Delivered as an after-school program during the school year and at a two-week intensive summer camp, the innovative Build IT curriculum engages 100 Alameda County girls annually in technology through hands-on, project-based learning and through interactions with professionals in information technology.

Girls Incorporated of Alameda County developed the Build IT program, Girls Building Information Technology Fluency Through Design, as a cornerstone of its middle-school programming. The program is divided into six units to help girls develop IT fluency with design concepts, specific technologies, and their effective use for communications. Through the Build IT curriculum, girls explore technology processes while designing original online communication tools (groups, clubhouses, blogs, websites, and their own video games). The curriculum emphasizes problem-solving and analysis along with developing technical skills. 

Program participants interact with IT professionals, who inform the girls about technology careers and the education needed to enter the technology workforce. Participants visit IT workplaces and experience real-life, high-tech environments. Speakers and field trips are chosen from a variety of businesses and community resources, exposing girls to the many types of careers and workplaces available, impacting girls' positive views of women in IT careers, and increasing their perceptions that they can pursue IT careers themselves.

How To Get Involved

In the coming year, Build IT could expand to six new sites serving 150 girls in the San Francisco Bay area, including Oakland, San Francisco and San Leandro. the cost to expand to two new sites would be approximately $70,000. Expanding to all six would cost roughly $350,000.

Funders and Partners

Build IT was developed through a partnership between SRI International and Girls Inc. of Alameda County, and scaled-up nationally through the Girls Incorporated affiliate network with funding from the National Science Foundation and the Noyce Foundation. Build IT is now accessible to Girls Inc.'s 1,500 program sites that reach more than 800,000 girls annually. Examples of program collaborators for the Girls Inc. of Alameda County affiliate include: Google, Livescribe, Yahoo!, Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), Cisco Systems, Blackrock, Life Technologies, and the San Jose Tech Museum.


Nadine Skinner, Foundation Grants Manager
510-357-5515 x263

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Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.