This South Philly educator is raising money for a tech and esports education space

Brandon Washington dreams of offering an after-school program that allows young people in his community to come together and learn. There would be an hour dedicated to homework, an hour to learning STEM topics, and an hour to esports-related activities.

Why a whole hour for esports? They will teach kids soft skills, such as teamwork and achieving your goals, he said. Technically.

This dream could be within reach for the technologist and teacher who is launching a new fundraising campaign this week. The goal is to raise $50,000 by Nov. 11 to support his South Philly co-working space, 1901.

Washington first raised money to secure the space at 1901 Washington Ave. in December 2020. He ended up raising over $15,000 in his initial efforts.

Brandon Washington. (Courtesy picture)

“I’m really passionate about passing on the education I inherited to my community because it’s really empowered me to do the things that I do for a living, just being exposed to technology” , did he declare. “I have always had a passion to share this wealth of knowledge with the next generation.”

Since opening in May 2021, 1901 has hosted STEM workshops related to web development, biomedicine, 3D design and printing, game development and design, and computer programming. It has also hosted community events such as comedy shows and town hall meetings. And the space has led to partnerships with other organizations, such as the mentorship-focused organization Uncommon Individual Foundationwho helped Washington organize STEM workshops earlier this year.

Washington said he was also building a relationship with a University of Pennsylvania called program Tech It Out which pairs college computer science students with elementary school students, giving them one-on-one computer exposure and mentorship.

With the money it is trying to raise, Washington pledges to commit $20,000 to cover running costs, $10,000 to install a surveillance security system, and the rest to buy materials for STEM programs and esports, such as gaming PCs and projectors.

See the fundraiser

His interest in bringing esports to these kids dates back to his own childhood memories of video games, which he says helped him stay out of trouble. He said he saw his students always looking at their phones, so he thought, why not run with this?

“I want to play with them and walk them through the process,” Washington said of the popular games that are part of a fast-growing industry. “You have a lot of big companies investing in the metaverse. So, I want these young people to be exposed to it as early as possible, so that they can really benefit from it.

Even if Washington has a big goal in front of him, he feels good about it. He said he thinks the crowdfunding part of this effort will translate into a good chunk of his goal, but ultimately he hopes a big company will see the work he’s trying to do. and make a big donation.

“We are doing a good job. We make community [work],” he said. “These big companies moving into the city have the opportunity to really give back here.”


Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. -30-

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