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Refugees need computers, and The Global Good Project

You may have seen some very colorful ads from Cotopaxi pop-up in your social feeds if you have recently searched for a new coat or pack. Those ads usually include some smiling adventurer wearing sunnies in some amazing landscape wearing a vibrant jacket with a llama logo. At first glance it may seem like a brand catering to nostalgic color-blocking of the 80s and 90s, but if you scratch through the surface, Cotopaxi is more than an apparel company. It wants to be a force of good.
For starts, Cotopaxi is a benefit corporation. It “creates innovative outdoor products and experiences that fund sustainable poverty alleviation, move people to do good, and inspire adventure.” It does this by donating 2 percent of all revenue to “high-impact organizations that build sustainable solutions in collaboration with local communities.” It also selects the organizations themselves, does research, and quantifies the impact together with its partners.

“We hope this program will reduce the discomfort that families feel when faced with such an abundance of new technologies.”

This year, Cotopaxi is rolling out a new joint initiative in partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) of Salt Lake City, and the Utah Open Source Foundation, that combines some of its previous initiatives and focuses on the immediate needs of their community.

Called the Global Good Project, it’s a multi-part program comprised of a home mentoring initiative called Tech Mentors, and a computer science education model called the Coding Project. The Global Good Project also engages with the Utah Open Source Foundation to support “open philanthropy,” which is a term they coined to define the process of engaging the open source community in the development of effective tech solutions for the social sector. Project SAFE, an Android app that helps those new to the United States feel safe and when needed connect with 911 Emergency Services, is the first project to come out.

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