CotopaxiAdobe and the Utah Refugee Services Office have come together to kick off a state-wide skills-based volunteer initiative focused on building computer science capacity here in Utah. The need is great among local schools and marginalized groups. The team has embarked on this initiative by providing weekly coding trainings in partnership with the Bhutanese community in Salt Lake City but there is more to do. We invite you to help us build the next generation of computer scientists in Utah by leveraging your team's time and talent for good! 


Computer science drives innovation throughout the US economy, but it remains marginalized throughout K-12 education. There are currently 583,155 open computing jobs nationwide. Last year, only 59,764 computer science students graduated into the workforce.

Besides addressing the widening talent gap, jobs in computer science are typically well-paying, offering tremendous opportunity for communities with limited access to expensive formal education.


Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their home countries because of persecution. Less than one percent of the refugees in the world receive permanent resettlement offers in countries like the United States. The refugees brought to our community are the epitome of human resilience. They are heroes who make our community stronger. The best thing a person can do to help is to befriend a refugee. The next best thing is to hire a refugee.

-Gerald Brown, Director, Utah Refugee Services Office

At Cotopaxi, one of the core pillars of our giving strategy is livelihoods, i.e., initiatives which empower individuals and communities to lift themselves out of poverty by creating sustainable income opportunities. Teaching computer science fits perfectly within that strategy, as it addresses one of the core needs of a community of over 50,000 refugees in the State of Utah.


The refugee coding project began in partnership with the Bhutanese refugee community. We have seen incredible results. Community leaders and youth from four other key refugee communities in Salt Lake City have seen the impact and requested the program as well. We invite you to learn more about these communities and why these families were compelled to leave their home countries.

Click on the links below to view fact sheets for each community.

Bhutan, Sudan, Burma, Congo, and Burundi


In early 2016, we are expanding our program with the Bhutanese community to reach the Sudanese, Burmese, Congolese, and Burundian communities. We are thrilled to be adding several new corporate partners to the program as well.  Each week, we will provide computer science courses to around 50 refugee students through our connections with the State of Utah Refugee Services Office.  These youth will be guided through a 20-week accelerated course provided by and taught by professionals.  To supplement the coursework, youth will take part in work site visits, hackathons, opportunities for internships and scholarships, and professional development trainings.

What's Needed:

Volunteers: We are looking for committed, enthusiastic volunteers specializing in computer science to join our crew of volunteer facilitators.

Donations:  Your monetary and in-kind donations are greatly appreciated.  100% of donations will go toward sustaining and growing the project. Monetary donations will go directly toward food, transportation, and enrichment activities. In-kind donations are welcome and will help us provide a more robust experience for participants.

What's In It For My Organization?

  1. Build pipeline for incredible engineering talent

  2. Roll out skills-based volunteering program in your organization

  3. Boost your organization’s non-cash giving

  4. Provide engaging professional development opportunities for your team


Meet Lindsey Kneuven, Cotopaxi Chief Impact Officer, who oversees Cotopaxi's entire giving program. 

Lindsey formerly directed global grant making, strategic planning, and large-scale employee engagement programs for companies such as Oracle, Juniper Networks and Singularity University at Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). SVCF is a comprehensive center for philanthropy, serving both individual and corporate donors. With over $6.5 billion in assets under management, SVCF is the largest community foundation in the world.

Lindsey is happy to help your organization contribute to our holistic computer science training program in UT.  Join now and we will follow up shortly with next steps for you and your organization!