All-Star Benefit Inspires Tomorrow’s Tech Leaders

by Bryan Gallion Photographed by Matt Borkowski/
Monday, July 31, 2017

A benefit held Saturday on the lawn of East Hampton’s Lewis Residence raised $800,000 for All Star Code, a nonprofit computer-science education organization aiming to develop the next generation of black technology-sector leaders.

The event honored President of 3RAM Group LLC Rodney C. Adkins, CEO of IMB Development Corporation Tarrus Richardson and former New York Congressman Charles Rangel.

Those seen in the audience included television anchorman Maurice DuBois, who also served as emcee of the event; Siris Capital CEO Frank A. Baker, Goldman Sachs partner Valentino Carlotti, former New York City mayor David Dinkins, Sean and Rachelle Hruska MacPherson, Sherry Bronfman and dozens of All Star Code students and alumni.  

All Star Code students built and manned interactive stations at the benefit, and attendeesincluding chef Marcus Samuelsson and actor Adrian Grenier—competed in the digital games and played virtual Star Wars.

Christina Lewis Halpern, daughter of the late businessman and entrepreneur Reginald F. Lewis, founded All Star Code in 2013 after noticing a lack of programs geared toward minorities.

“Tech is the engine of job growth and wealth creation in this country,” Halpern said. “The problem is a lack of access. Only 9 percent of tech employees in the U.S. are African American and Latino, and there are virtually no programs focused on young men of color.”

Upon his death in 1993, Halpern’s father was the owner and CEO of America’s largest black-owned business, TLC Beatrice International. Fortune named him one of the 400 wealthiest people in the country at the time.

Lewis’ involvement in the 1965 Harvard Law School Program inspired All Star Code’s Model. The curriculum includes a flagship program, a summer intensive, a six-week coding camp and continued alumni services. One hundred and sixty boys are involved in this summer’s program.

Many students have come from low-income families and neighborhoods with limited access to education and mentorship of this sort. Inspired by their All Star Code training, thirty-four percent of the program’s alumni are at top 100 universities. Students are interning at companies including Google, Facebook and Goldman Sachs.

If the program’s success continues at its current rate, All Star Code hopes to have an alumni network of more than 10,000 members by 2022.


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