SEATTLE, Wash. - Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Russell Okung will host the public launch of his nonprofit GREATER on Thursday, February 25 from 7 - 10 p.m. at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. The event is open to the public and kicks off with a VIP networking hour, presentations from notable tech leaders, and music by DJ Maseo of De La Soul. Tickets are available online at greater2016.splashthat.com starting at $25 for students, $35 for general admission, and $215 for VIP.
"GREATER is dedicated to working with existing community programs and institutions to challenge the lack of access in our technology ecosystem for underserved students in Seattle," said Russell Okung. "I'm enthusiastic about the leadership development and training initiatives we're creating to ensure that all students have access to a productive and honorable future. I'm looking forward to sharing this vision and inviting the community to join me in this opportunity."
Special presentations will be made by Seattle veteran tech leaders and educators, Trish Millines DzikoandDave Parker. Dziko is the Co-founder and executive director of the Technology Access Foundation(TAF) founded in 1996 to provide students of color access to college and career opportunities in STEM-related fields. Parker is a five-time tech entrepreneur and CEO of Code Fellows-an in-person code school offering job-ready web and mobile development training in Seattle, Portland and Chicago.
A panel discussion will highlight the challenges and promises of technology as a tool for community empowerment. Panelists include Zithri Ahmed Saleem (moderator),an award-winning STEM educator, nonprofit executive and social entrepreneur; Dr. Jeffrey Robinson,associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at Rutgers Business School; Jose Torres,CEO of REFLX Labs and co-inventor of Boogio Smart Shoe Sensors; Sherrell Dorsey,diversity and tech writer featured in Fast Company, NextCity, and Triple Pundit and founder of Build The Good; and Antwuan Wallace, researcher who maps the demographic intersections and trends in access, adoption and use of broadband-enabled digital technology.
GREATER was created by Seahawks offensive tackle Russell Okung and former West Virginia University football leadership coach Andrew McGee in 2015 to equip underserved students through mentoring and leadership development to become participants in Seattle's thriving technology ecosystem.
The foundation currently partners with local community nonprofits that work with under-represented groups including the Technology Access Foundation, Seattle Urban Academy, Code Fellows, City Year and Urban Impact. Sponsors of the event include GeekWire (media sponsor), Cornerstone, Inc., WTIA, Matt and Carol McIlwain of Madrona Venture Group, Teresa and Adam Kovach of Microsoft, Mill Meyers Swartling P.S and Sweeney Conrad, P.S.
About GREATER Foundation
GREATER is a startup organization driven by a coalition of community-based organizations within the Seattle-area working collaboratively to increase student access to education, employment, and entrepreneurship in technology-related fields. Visit www.begreater.org.