Halpern is a daughter of Reginald F. Lewis—a Wall Street attorney who owned a billion-dollar international food enterprise. (Lewis was once listed as one of America’s 400 wealthiest individuals).
Halpern is keenly aware that America was built on a structure where “Black-Americans were excluded from fame, money, and power. But still, we can make some progress.” She began All Star Code 2-decades after her dad’s death.
“My family’s Foundation is very much committed to ensuring social justice. It believes in the power of investing in our communities, and most importantly, the power of entrepreneurship,” Halpern reveals.
“About 20% of All Star Code’s funding’s come from Lewis family’s personal funds, or from the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation.”
Since 2014, All Star Code’s services have been free. A 6-week Summer Intensive computer program was created to give Latino and Black high school males the exposure and access they require to become prosperous tech entrepreneurs.
During the 6-week session, the high schoolers are thought a computer science curriculum, including guest speakers, coding, exposure to work culture and mentoring networks.
In 2014, 20-boys participated in the Summer Initiative, but in 2017’s summer the number rose to 160. In 2020, All Star Code targets to have over 1,000 high school participants.
Statistically, the employment associated with computer and information technology is predicted to increase by 12-percent from 2014 to 2024. The increase will surpass the growth rates of all other field and will have the highest medial annual wage.
While the tech industry is growing very fast, All Star Codes has found that only 1% of computer-based enterprises have a Black/Latino members—on their founding team.
But Halpern is optimistic that the future “will see a Black-American or a Latino founder creating a company that transforms lives and makes billions of dollars.”
It has been argued that girls of color face even higher challenges pursuing computer science course and coding than boys of color. So, why is Halpern still focusing on boys—instead of girls?
Well, “All Star Code chose to invest in Black and Latino male high schoolers because these group had no one else to help them. Remember while STEM organizations for girls and women continue to grow, there aren’t any national organizations educating or exposing young men of color to careers in the technology industry,” she explains.
However, Halpern explains that All Star Code will partner with female STEM groups in future if her organization advances.
She finalizes by explaining her objective. “The aim is to create an opportunity for black people to generate money in ways which are commensurate with their abilities and talents.”