Advancing Equity Through Technology
At the CS+X Foundation, we’re working toward something better. We call it techquity. By using technology to address inequity, we are working to eliminate the predictability of who succeeds based on their race, class, gender, language, sexual orientation, disability or age.
Our transformative approach to pairing computers science applications (CS) with any profession (X) mobilizes people from all walks of life to take action and create a meaningful and lasting impact.
EMPOWERING OUR COMMUNITY
Founded in 2014, the CS+X Foundation is effecting real change by leading successful campaigns throughout Champaign-Urbana and across Illinois. Through social justice initiatives, grand challenge sculpting, and innovative programming, our dedicated team works to elevate and hold leaders and decision-makers accountable for their actions, moving them to rethink what is possible.
Driven to make an impact and inspire change, our grassroots movement is continuously expanding our understanding of contemporary issues and pushing for positive solutions. Learn more about our causes below.
Ensuring that All Voices are Heard
Advocacy is an essential pillar of our approach to engineering and humanitarian grand challenges. There is strength in numbers, and we work to inform and encourage others to take a stand for what they believe in. Our themes include:
Civil Legal Aid
Lifelong Learning is within our G.R.A.S.P.
As a large movement of faculty and community activists, public engagement is close to our hearts. We believe that the best solutions for today's grand challenges come from within, and make it our mission to build awareness across institutions to create possibility across the globe.
Robotics and Sensors
Scientific Visualization and Applied Arts
Champaign-Urbana is home to a thriving technology community and was recently named one of the top startup cities in America. From our history of successful start-ups to a strong venture capital community, it’s all happening here. Join CS+X founders and sustainers to explore the possibility of investing in a place-based urban development strategy. Our goal is to regenerate under-performing downtown neighborhoods like the N Neil St Corridor, into desirable locations for innovative and creative employment.
CS+X Foundation is working toward its first off-campus engineering and professional development accelerator. The accelerator will support engineering initiatives like the Illinois Small Satellite Consortium (ISSC) as well as community start-ups like the CU Business Elevator. The accelerator will hire under-represented populations to complete engineering, computer, and business related contracts for consortium partners under the mentorship of knowledgeable professionals. The accelerator can be viewed as an extension of a company’s workforce located in a university community. It provides a learning experience in a corporate environment that encourages local high tech investment and professional workforce development. With your help, internships and apprenticeships will abound!
Community Visioning (2014-2016)
There are many ways to take action as an affiliate of the CS+X Foundation, all of which are key elements sustaining any community movement. In addition to our original work, the CS+X Foundation consults with many outside agencies and institutions to assist with bringing their ideas to life. We work together on many projects that overlap with our mission, and contribute to many that remain unique to their originators.
Have a look below at some opportunities to get involved, and get in touch for more information about how you can help shape local diversity, equity, and access initiatives. Please feel free to contribute your recommendations as these ideas are undergoing almost continuous refinement as potential joint initiatives develop.
MUSEUMS SHARING INTERACTIVE EXHIBITION SPACE
Support your favorite local museums
and interactive centers.
We are stronger together. Help us sustain your favorite local places.
DYNAMIC STEM LABS AND DEDICATED ART & DESIGN STUDIOS
Celebrate our multi-cultural
history of urban art, design, & innovation.
Explore the future of community access studios and multi-cultural tourism.
HUMAN RELATIONS AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMMING
Help keep UIUC
engagement dollars local.
Contribute your resources to a "one-stop-shop" for broader impact and public engagement.
ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Build a robust and
resilient local economy.
Invest in local start-ups and assist existing small business to rebound.
Outcomes from Talking Techquity 2019
LET'S TALK TECHQUITY
In 2019 the CS+X Foundation launched a series of private focus groups and public listening sessions called “Talking Techquity: Advancing Racial Equity Through Technology." Each workshop explored a different theme and encouraged participants to respond to questions asked by a trusted facilitator. A graphic note taker recorded mutual concerns and recommendations while stories and thoughts were shared.
Talking Techquity included over 100 black and latinX stakeholders, including more than fifty community and institutional leaders. Attendees discussed their lived experiences with inequity and shared their disappointment in previously failed public engagement efforts. Listening sessions closed by asking stakeholders to help identify objectives for local, state, and national service institutions to consider in partnership with the University of Illinois.
RESULTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM 2019
THE QUESTIONS WE ASKED:
How can we build communities of practice that incentivize trans-disciplinary researchers and the “researched” to work together in search of local solutions to society’s grand challenges?
How can we encourage cross-institutional collaboration, sustained partnerships, and new models of inclusive and flexible investigation that reduce duplication between institutions?
THE QUESTIONS WE ASKED:
How can we braid community resources with university efforts to address the persistent learning gaps at all levels?
How can we accelerate the progress with which our anchor institutions are developing and implementing scalable plans for mission-driven unified engagement across K-12 education?
THE QUESTIONS WE ASKED:
How can we improve STEM literacy to build a steady-state talent pipeline for hi-tech career options and lifelong STEM skills for advancement?
How can we use software development to continuously evaluate progress, build consensus on key elements for mutual success, and foster effective collection and sharing of workforce outcome data in ways that are findable, accessible, shareable and reusable?
THE QUESTIONS WE ASKED:
How can we cultivate place-based innovation to provide new vehicles for economic development and employment re-entry?
Can we use software portals to conduct continued civic discussions that facilitate common, streamlined, and efficient approaches to sustained public engagement?
Will these engagement portals need a key community intermediary to withstand the inevitable changes in leadership at key institutions?
YOU SHARED. WE LISTENED.
To all the brave and generous participants of our Talking Techquity Think Tank:
Thank you for your honesty, transparency, and willingness to engage in challenging conversations during challenging times. We heard you and have taken action. You suggested we acquire a downtown location large enough to house a shared vision for our unified future along with ample and adjacent free parking. We did.
Through the generous financial support of UIUC faculty and local entrepreneurs, the CS+X Foundation now has the unique opportunity to determine the future of 15 Main and its 65 parking spaces.
Join us as we bring together larger groups of stakeholders. Stakeholders willing to help us identify, examine, and understand the historical and current obstacles to building an Innovation Center within the walls of this iconic building.
TALKING TECHQUITY II
with Graphic Note Taking by David Michael Moore
Talking Techquity 2021 builds on our 2019 success with three new multi-cultural workshop themes. Each theme will explore community interest in redeveloping an iconic downtown building into an inclusive year-round Innovation Center.
The goal of each workshop is to promote community healing through restorative practices, build new relationships across racial boundaries, and envision ways and means for sustained funding to support social justice initiatives, public engagement, and economic development.
Meet the CS+X Foundations team. Take a 15-min tour of the building in "as is" condition. Register with Jorge Elvir for a small group healing circle or future training in restorative practices. And then, share your ideas in a brainstorming session with our graphic note taker, David Michael Moore.