730 Days Later

April 13th, 2017

It seems like just yesterday that the ExactTarget Foundation officially became Nextech, but, in fact, it’s been exactly two years since our official launch date. Even though we had ExactTarget roots, Nextech essentially began as a startup venture – complete with a vast array of challenges and unknowns. In our early days, we knew we’d have to examine the results of our knowledge and experiences to determine if we were being true to our vision (transform K-12 students from technology consumers to the next generation of tech pioneers) and our mission (connect educators, innovative nonprofits, and entrepreneurs to deliver best-in-class programs that inspire and enable young people from all backgrounds to pursue careers in technology). We established milestones to help us monitor whether we were heading toward success… or if we’d taken a wrong turn.

Our first milestone was securing a strategic partnership that would help us accelerate our time to market with a program already proven to deliver results. We achieved this with our relationship with Code.org – a national nonprofit dedicated to bringing curriculum and professional development to every K-12 classroom. With this solid foundation, we have spent the last two years relentlessly pursuing partnerships with K-12 educators across the state to bring computer science curriculum to the classroom.

And this became the backbone of our organization.

We’re proud to look back on our journey and celebrate the many milestones we’ve achieved. Highlights from the past two years include:

Portfolio of Strategic Partnerships – We began with Code.org and have established deep partnerships with leading community organizations, including Junior Achievement of Indiana, Eleven Fifty Academy, Leadership Indianapolis, and TeenWorks.

Expansion of Program Portfolio – Our program portfolio has expanded to include Computer Science Education Week – an annual campaign to promote awareness of and heighten participation in computer science) – and Catapult – a yearlong, immersive experience that helps students interested in technology careers develop technical and workplace skills, authentic peer relationships, a passion for community service, and deep roots for a lifelong personal and professional connection to Indianapolis.

Infusion of Capital – In November 2015 we received a $278K grant from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to support our efforts to recruit and train computer science educators. We’ve received subsequent grant awards from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development ($496K), the Herbert Simon Family Foundation ($132K), the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust ($130K), and the Central Indiana Community Foundation ($100K).

Nextech was launched two years ago in response to this simple question: What must the ExactTarget Foundation do to make a lasting impact in the Indianapolis community?

Although our journey is in many ways just beginning, the initial set of KPIs are promising.

  • Inspired more than 1,000 students as part of annual Computer Science Education Week & Hour of Code Workshops.
  • Delivered 5,651 hours of professional development to 80 educators, bringing computer science curriculum to 2,927 high school students and hundreds of middle school students across 34 Indiana schools.
  • Facilitated 3,559 hours of career awareness, exploration and preparation activities for high school students participating in our Catapult program.

We’re thrilled with these numbers and eager to continue to increase them exponentially in the coming years.

But numbers never tell the whole story.

Through our efforts, Nextech motivates a community of educators and learners to push their comfort level and tackle new challenges they never conceived surmountable. We give young people a creative environment to unlock their hidden genius. We inspire students to believe they have what it takes to succeed in whatever career path they choose and they have within them the power to make a meaningful difference.

After two successful years, Nextech has just begun to scratch the surface of possibilities. We’re excited to imagine and plan for the next two, ten, twenty…. and beyond.

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