Twitter announced today, by way of the Chronicle, that the company will partner with Compass Family Services to create the "Twitter Neighborhood Nest" — a technology learning center for homeless families to learn basic technology skills.
According to Twitter's VP of global public policy Colin Crowell, the partnership will work out to "north of $1 million" for the non-profit agency over the course of several years. The 100-year-old agency which serves homeless families with a family shelters, childcare centers and rent subsidies, operates on an $8 million annual budget. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who the Chronicle points to as the cheerleader behind the new initiative, will formally announce the partnership at Compass' centennial gala Tuesday night.
Although a location has not yet been secured, Twitter is reportedly looking for a space close to the company's home base in mid-Market, as well as the clients that Compass serves. Assuming they find a location, the center is expected to open in 2015, when it will start offering educational workshops for both parents and kids. The center is expected to include a classroom for 30 students and computers, an informal lounge and a place for kids to hang out while parents learn the digital ropes.
“We opened our childcare center in the Tenderloin to help children and families more than 40 years ago," Compass Executive Director Erica Kisch told the Examiner. "To meet the needs of these struggling families today, we must address the impact of the digital divide. This initiative with Twitter will go a long way toward doing just that.”
The tech company already donated 81 used computers to Compass last week, and has made monetary donations in the past. Although Twitter is technically obligated to help improve the neighborhood as part of the community benefit agreement they signed to secure their infamous payroll tax break. Critics of the tax break have pointed out that the company's biggest contribution so far has been free promoted tweets for local non-profits.
Also, before the "Teach the Homeless to Code" debate pops up again: execs from both Twitter and Compass noted that the new center won't be teaching coding skills, but will focus on technology basics to help families access resources, job applications and government services that have shifted to online.