First Tech Fund Opens Applications For Two Free Tech Access Programs

June 9, 2021

First Tech Fund (FTF) today announced the open application period for two free technology access programs open to high school students from Harlem to Hollis.
First Tech Fund is a non-profit dedicated to closing the rampant digital divide by supporting students in New York City from low-income and under-served backgrounds.

Since its inception in May 2020, First Tech Fund has distributed free technology in the form of laptops and WiFi devices to 52 students across all five boroughs of New York City.

FTF’s flagship technology fellowship program held over 30 hours of virtual programming in the form of digital and professional skills workshops and career panels, and provided one-on-one mentorship for students with a young professional mentor from companies like Twitter, Robinhood and YouTube.

The non-profit is now expanding its program opportunities to better serve the NYC community with two open program applications — a new summer photography program (FOTO) and the second cohort of its flagship technology fellowship program.

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“While we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID-19 pandemic, students in our communities still have a clear need for technology, mentorship and additional enrichment to open doors to career opportunities of the future,” said Josue de Paz, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of First Tech Fund. “From our first year of operating, we’ve learned that a holistic approach of providing support for students enables them to thrive in their traditional school settings while also benefiting from supplemental professional and academic programming that guides and empowers them take advantage of a variety of future opportunities.”

First Tech Fund’s summer photography program (FOTO) is a seven-week introductory photography program starting in July 2021. It will provide NYC high school students with foundational photography skills, insight into various types of photography and career pathways, constructive art criticism strategies, and more.

In addition to a photography-focused curriculum, students will be paired with a mentor who has specific skills in art and photography to directly build their understanding of the field.

The FOTO application is open until June 16th for all rising high school students who attend a NYC high school.

The second cohort of First Tech Fund’s technology fellowship program will expand from 52 to 75 student fellows.

Accepted students receive a personal computer to keep and a WiFi hotspot should they need Internet access in their living situation.

This program also provides intensive mentorship support from young professionals from leading companies, and hosts webinars and workshops around practical skills like public speaking, resume writing, as well as panel discussions on careers in a number of fields like law, medicine, finance, healthcare, creative writing, public service, and more.

The fellowship program application is open until July 2nd for all incoming 9th to 12th grade students who do not own a personal computer and reside in the five boroughs of NYC.

“Connecting students to professionals from similar backgrounds to their own allows them to understand the skills and experiences necessary to pursue different career options they may not have had visibility into prior to joining our program,” said Hana Seligman, Chief Operating Officer, Co-Founder and Board Chair of First Tech Fund. “The tight-knit community built from the First Tech Fund program allows students to learn from one another and have a network of support for years to come.”

First Tech Fund is fundraising, accepting technology donations and is open to community and corporate partnership opportunities.

Organizations interested in learning more about First Tech Fund’s mission, programs or partnerships should email or visit for more information.

First Tech Fund’s (FTF) mission is to close the digital divide by empowering high school students of color from underserved backgrounds in New York City with technology, practical skills, and opportunities to succeed in the modern world.

Through its programs, FTF Fellows learn from industry leaders, young professionals, and business owners what it takes to pursue a career in their respective field while beginning to build their networks.

Fellows commit to funding at least one laptop for a future Fellow as a way to pay it forward and support their community. Follow FTF on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo credit; First Tech Fund.

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