The No Starch Press Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt non-profit corporation created to support and grow the collective knowledge and contributions of the worldwide hacker community.
The No Starch Press Foundation supports hackers of all types, regardless of experience — whether that’s the passionate beginner or the lifelong hacker wishing to make a broader contribution to the hacker community and the world.
What is a Hacker?
By “hacker” we mean a computer hardware, software, or programming enthusiast. A hacker likes to push boundaries, pick locks (for fun), and find ways to control hardware and make it do things that it wasn’t intended to do. Unfortunately, the word “hacking” has developed negative connotations over the years because it has been used much too broadly to also include criminals who break into systems without authorization to steal information, such as credit card numbers and social security numbers, or drain bank accounts. We call these people criminals or attackers, not hackers.
Hackers also like to create things. Other hackers might be mathematicians, scientists, roboticists, programmers, physicists, or computer security specialists.
Hackers dig deep; often staying up late learning something new or solving a thorny problem. Hackers tend to be brilliant but not always interested in conventional goals. Ideas, self-education, and respect within the community are often stronger drivers than money. Hackers are often not part of the mainstream populations (what hackers call “normals”) in their schools or local communities, but once they find their community the relationships between fellow hackers can be intense.
Hackers play an ever-expanding important role in protecting the public and in improving online security. The skills needed to excel at hacking need to be taught to a broader swath of the public and in underserved populations, all of which the Foundation aims to do.
The Foundation was formed to give back to and strengthen the hacking community. The Foundation’s founder, William Pollock, has been closely involved with the hacking community since about 1999 and much of the success of his company, No Starch Press, is due to the support of the worldwide hacking community. To date Pollock has given over $600,000 to the Foundation and is working to expand its donor base. The Foundation’s funding will be used to help strengthen and expand the hacking community, by educating the public about hacking and working to create safe and central places for the hacking community.
One of the main drivers behind the creation of the Foundation is the strong desire to support people with a hacking mindset who have yet to find a supportive community of hackers. There are a number of large hacker conferences, like DEFCON (held in Las Vegas yearly) or the Chaos Communication Congress (held yearly in Germany), as well as countless smaller hacker conferences, worldwide. Hackers attend conferences to meet other people in the community, find social support, share their research, and to improve their understanding of complex technical topics. Hackers may also be found at one of well over 2000 hackerspaces, many of which include independently run hackerspaces such as Noisebridge in San Francisco, as well as the hackerspaces cropping up in schools and libraries across the country.
The Foundation will help to create environments where hackers are welcomed, supported, nurtured and celebrated. Creating a safer, more supportive and accepting world for hacker will help to reduce depression and suicide among hackers, and enable hackers to live fuller and happier lives.
The No Starch Press Foundation will:
- Offer financial support to STEM initiatives such as robotics clubs and research projects, and to promising software or product development projects conducted by public charity nonprofit corporations.
- Support contests, scholarships, educational programs and will work to connect hackers with recognized leaders and experts who can help them to further their knowledge and interests.
- Sponsor educational presentations and resources geared towards technical people learning about hacking and to help introduce the public to the hacking community.
- Support the young hacker. Offer financial support to allow young hackers to pursue their education goals. These hackers often lack the support and understanding of family and friends.
Support for STEM Initiatives
One of the Foundation’s goals is to build the hacker community by supporting STEM education in poorer neighborhoods through programs designed to interest grade school children in electronics, robotics, and similar activities.
Educational Presentations and Resources
The Foundation will sponsor presentations, talks, and other learning resources at hackerspaces and makerspaces. The Foundation will work to help self-taught hackers land their first real tech jobs, develop a career, and establish themselves in the hacking community.
Support for Contests, Scholarships, and Other Programs
The Foundation will support contests that challenge hackers to solve many of the world’s problems, particularly programs and contests being run by other organizations to advance the involvement of middle schoolers interested in entering STEM fields.
Support for Young Hackers
Support for young hackers will include the financial support of educational events and meetups including social, educational, and emotionally oriented meetups designed to address depression and suicide in the hacker community, often brought on by isolation and misunderstanding of the aims and interests of a hacker, as well as supporting the initiatives of other nonprofit corporations.
The Foundation will support these activities through donations from the general public, corporate grants, and funding from other public charities. The Foundation has already generated substantial interest from a number of prominent individuals in the hacking community who wish to donate, volunteer on the Board, and help support the Foundation’s mission.
The No Starch Press Foundation is a California registered and duly qualified Title 26 US Code 501(c ) (3) tax exempt non profit company.