Neal Sales-Griffin Joins CodeNow as Incoming CEO; New Era of Nonprofit Will Combine Coding with Design Thinking and Product Management

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Five-year Old Nonprofit Announces New Leadership, Plans to Revamp Curriculum to Teach Underrepresented Youth the “How” and “Why” of Coding

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Since 2011, CodeNow has been at the forefront of the coding movement. Working with underrepresented teens in major cities across the US, CodeNow has brought essential skills to the upcoming generations of would-be coders.

Today, CodeNow announced that Neal Sales-Griffin, co-founder of Starter League, has joined the team as incoming CEO, signaling a new era for the organization as well as for the learn to code movement overall. CodeNow will expand its reach and impact by incorporating design thinking and product management with its current coding-focused curriculum. In October, former Starter League co-founder Mike McGee will join as Director of Programs.

“As one of the earliest pioneers in the learn-to-code movement, CodeNow saw a need for underrepresented teens to have access to crucial programming skills that their schools and communities weren’t able to provide at that time,” said Neal Sales-Griffin, incoming CEO. “The space has, thankfully, grown and now students aren’t just hungry to learn how to code. We want to give them the companion skills that go with coding: how to answer challenges with design, and how to effectively manage the development of their product. Our goal in the new era of CodeNow is to bring what we learned from The Starter League to a new generation of coders so that they are able to succeed in ways they’d never imagined before.”

Currently, CodeNow offers hands-on workshops to underrepresented students with a curriculum that provides a core understanding of computer science fundamentals. As part of its CodeNow in a Box program, tech companies provide training space and volunteers, typically engineers who are themselves eager to share their knowledge and experience in programming. Partners for 2016 have included Adobe, Bloomberg, Infor, Infosys USA Foundation, Symantec and Visa. Previous partners include HP, Cisco and Salesforce.

Beginning in January 2017, CodeNow will shift its model to a four-phase program that combines coding with design thinking and product management. The new model will maintain CodeNow’s proven project-based workshops while adding exciting new elements that allow students to collaborate and compete outside the workshops.

“When I started CodeNow in 2011, people were just starting to notice that kids weren’t getting enough coding education,” said CodeNow founder and CEO Ryan Seashore. “Now, it’s amazing to see that coding has become so much more mainstream. It’s time to take it to the next level, which means continuing to give kids the ‘how’ to code through workshops and trainings, while also introducing them to the ‘why’ through exposure to design-thinking and product management. This is where the coding space needs to go, and Neal’s experience with The Starter League has given him the exact skill set and experience to transform CodeNow so that we can once again anticipate what the programmers of the future will need to succeed.”

Since 2011, CodeNow has been at the forefront of the coding movement. Working with underrepresented teens in major cities across the US - including New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC - CodeNow has brought essential skills to the upcoming generations of would-be coders. The nonprofit has taught nearly 1,900 students about coding, with 76 percent of its alumni on free- or reduced lunch programs. Nearly half of its alumni are female, and 89 percent of alumni have expressed interest in studying coding-related degrees in college.

The organization has workshops slated through the end of the year in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. Students will continue to learn the current coding-focused curriculum over two-part hands-on workshops at in Palo Alto, San Francisco, and New York City.

Sales-Griffin will take full responsibilities as CEO on November 1, 2016. Seashore will remain involved as Chairman of the Board.

About Neal Sales-Griffin
Neal Sales-Griffin has worked and consulted with numerous startups and not-for-profits across multiple sectors. He is the co-founder and CEO of The Starter League, a beginner web design and development school in Chicago where he’s helped teach more than 1,500 students software development and entrepreneurship since 2011. Earlier this year, the Starter League was acquired by fellow software school and Y Combinator-backed Fullstack Academy in New York. Neal has had the privilege of working with OCA Ventures and Sandbox Industries, two prominent venture firms in Chicago. He earned a Bachelors of Science from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University in Learning and Organizational Change in 2009. He is currently teaching engineering entrepreneurship through Northwestern University’s Farley Center For Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the McCormick School of Engineering.

About CodeNow
Founded in 2011, CodeNow is a nonprofit organization that provides computer programming workshops for underrepresented youth through hands-on project-based learning, as well as their online video series, #CodeHow. They are recipients of grants from the Bloomberg Foundation, Adobe, Infor, Symantec, New School Venture Fund, and previously Cisco, HP, Salesforce and the Knight Foundation. CodeNow graduated from YCombinator in 2014. They have been featured in TechCrunch, Fast Company, Business Insider, Wall Street Journal, and others. To learn more, visit

Twitter: @codenow
Instagram: @codenow

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Ashley Seashore
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