By: Allies in Action, ABC7 Bay Area
Date: Thursday, February 23, 2023
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — There’s a hidden genius in you, and one national nonprofit seeks to uncover and cultivate the next generation of leaders.
Founded in 2012, The Hidden Genius Project connects young Black males with the skills, mentors, and experiences that they need to become high-performing entrepreneurs and technologists.
“We’re always trying to find ways to afford our young people more opportunities, and more equitable access to meaningful careers,” said the CEO of The Hidden Genius Project, Brandon Nicholson, Ph.D.
The Hidden Genius Project consists of 3 programs – Catalyst Programming, Immersive Program, and Community Partnerships. Each program trains and mentors Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills. To date, The Hidden Genius Project has served over 9,300+ students.
“The Hidden Genius Project changed my life,” said Kevin Butler, a Hidden Genius Alum. “I definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at without them, I wouldn’t be as happy or as successful or just as fulfilled as a person.”
“I can’t stop smiling…that’s the first thing,” said Glenn Ivory, a Hidden Genius Alum. “You get different lessons in coding computer science, life skills, entrepreneurship and leadership skills. But also you get to make a brotherhood, you get communities, and friends that you would never have had the opportunity to make if you weren’t in the program.”
The Hidden Genius Project acquired a building in downtown Oakland in 2021, becoming its national headquarters. Since 2017, The Hidden Genius Project has launched in Richmond, LA, and Detroit. Atlanta and Chicago are next.
“So more than anything, we aim to build a safe and exciting space for young people to grow as leaders, and build a network for change,” described Nicholson. “Young people are able to pursue their dreams, and pursue careers that matter to them, and basically lead lives that are very much aligned with their vision and their goals.”