GDG NYC members apply their skills to help a local nonprofit reach higher

September 27, 2021


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Posted by K├╝bra Zengin, Program Manager, Developer Relations

Image of Anna Nerezova and GDG NYC meetup on blog header image that reads GDG NYC members apply their skills to help a local nonprofit reach higher

Google Developer Group (GDG) chapters are in a unique position to help make an impact during a time where many companies and businesses are trying to shift to a digital first world. Perhaps no one knows this better than GDG NYC Lead, Anna Nerezova. Over the past year, she’s seen firsthand just how powerful the GDG NYC community can be when the right opportunity presents itself.

GDG NYC levels up their Google Cloud skills

In the past few years, Anna and other GDG NYC organizers have hosted a number of events focused on learning and sharing Cloud technologies with community members, including Cloud Study Jams and in-person workshops on Machine Learning Cloud-Speech-to-Text, Natural Language Processing, and more. Last year, GDG NYC took Google Cloud learning to the next level with a series of virtual Google Cloud tech talks on understanding BigQuery, Serverless best practices, and Anthos, with speakers from the Google Cloud team.

Image of GDG NYC members watching a speaker give a talk

A GDG NYC speaker session

Thanks to these hands-on workshops, speaker sessions, and technical resources provided by Google, GDG NYC community members are able to upskill in a wide variety of technologies at an accelerated pace, all the while gaining the confidence to put those skills into practice. Beyond gaining new skills, Google Developer Group members are often able to unlock opportunities to make positive impacts in ways they never thought possible. As a GDG Lead, Anna is always on the lookout for opportunities that give community members the chance to apply their skills for a higher purpose.

Building a Positive Planet

Anna identified one such opportunity for her community via Positive Planet US, a local nonprofit dedicated to alleviating global and local poverty through positive entrepreneurship. Positive Planet International, originally formed in France, has helped 11 million people escape poverty across 42 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa since its inception in 1998. Just last year, Positive Planet US was launched in New York City, with a mission to create local and global economic growth in underprivileged communities in the wake of the pandemic.

Anna recognized how the past few years' emphasis on learning and leveraging Google Cloud technology in her GDG chapter could help make a transformative impact on the nonprofit. A partnership wouldn’t just benefit Positive Planet US, it would give community members a chance to apply what they’ve learned, build experience, and give back. Anna and fellow GDG NYC Lead, Ralph Yozzo, worked with Positive Planet US to identify areas of opportunity where GDG NYC members could best apply their skills. With Positive Planet US still needing to build the infrastructure necessary to get up and running, it seemed that there were limitless opportunities for GDG NYC community members to step in and help out.

Volunteers from GDG NYC quickly got to work, building Positive Planet US’ website from the ground up. Google Cloud Platform was used to build out the site’s infrastructure, set up secure payments for donations, launch email campaigns, and more. Applying learnings from a series of AMP Study Jams held by GDG NYC, volunteers implemented the AMP plugin for WordPress to improve user experience and keep the website optimized, all according to Google’s Core Web Vitals and page experience guidelines. Volunteers from GDG NYC have also helped with program management, video creation, social media, and more. No matter the job, the work that volunteers put in makes a real impact and helps drive Positive Planet US’ efforts to make a difference in marginalized communities.

Positive Planet drives community impact

Positive Planet US volunteers are currently working hard to support the nonprofit’s flagship project, the Accelerator Hub for Minority Women Entrepreneurs, launched last year. As part of the program, participants receive personalized coaching from senior executives at Genpact and Capgemini, helping them turn their amazing ideas into thriving businesses. From learning how to grow a business to applying for a business loan, participating women from disadvantaged communities get the tools they need to flourish as entrepreneurs. The 10-week program is running its second cohort now, and aims to support 1,000 women by next year.

Screenshot of participants of Positive Planet US’ second Accelerator Hub Program
in a virtual meeting

Some participants of Positive Planet US’ second Accelerator Hub Program

With Positive Planet US’ next cohort for 50 women entrepreneurs starting soon, Anna is working to find coaches of all different skill levels directly from the GDG community. If you’re interested in volunteering with Positive Planet US, click here.

Anna is excited about the ongoing collaboration between Positive Planet US and GDG NYC, and is continuing to identify opportunities for GDG members to give back. And with a new series of Android and Cloud Study Jams on the horizon and DevFest 2021 right around the corner, GDG NYC organizers hope to welcome even more developers into the Google Developer Group community. For more info about GDG NYC’s upcoming events, click here.

Join a Google Developer Group chapter near you here.