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BlackRock Joins Call for US Congress to Fund Broader Access to Computer Science Education Nationwide

BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) Chairman and CEO Laurence D. Fink has joined industry-leading corporate executives, public officials and education advocates as a signatory of a landmark letter calling on the US Congress to support computer science education nationwide through $250 million in new federal funding.

The call to Congress was initiated by the Computer Science Education Coalition in partnership with Code.org. The Coalition is an advocacy group comprising over two dozen businesses, education groups and nonprofits including Amazon, Google, Microsoft. In addition to BlackRock, other supporters of the Open Letter include Bill Gates, Microsoft founder; Eric Schmidt, Alphabet executive chairman; Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO; Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, and Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn chairman.

“As a technology driven company, BlackRock is proud to stand boldly in support of making computer science education universal across America,” said Laurence D. Fink, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock. “We believe that a basic computer science skill set is all but essential to successfully navigate today’s increasingly complex and technologically dependent world. BlackRock highly values advocacy measures that will ensure that children learn these skills in schools across the US – and indeed the world.”

“At BlackRock, technology professionals have been a significant driver of our developing talent base each year and we currently employ 2,000 tech-focused employees. We remain very focused on providing young people with access to critical coding skills and promoting coding opportunities at the earliest age possible. We are happy to build on that mission through this two-year commitment to Code.org,” said Robert Goldstein, BlackRock’s Chief Operating Officer.

BlackRock’s action is aligned with the firm’s philanthropic commitment to Code.org, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding access to computer science education and in particular increasing participation by women and students of color. Code.org’s vision is for every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science – both to become literate citizens in today’s digital world as well as having foundation computer science knowledge to pursue whatever career path they choose.

BlackRock is providing a new two-year $1 million grant to Code.org, which will principally support free online curriculum development and teacher training. BlackRock employees will also participate through volunteer opportunities in Code.org's Hour of Code campaign during Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11, and through a career exploration program aimed at inspiring high school students to learn more about different careers in technology.

Belief in Innovation and Technology Drives Philanthropic Focus

BlackRock’s support for Code.org strongly reflects the firm’s overall philanthropic focus on “building access to better futures.” (BlackRock Philanthropy) Shaped by a belief that everyone should have the opportunity to build for their future and the futures of their children, BlackRock’s corporate giving strategy applies a rigorous approach and a commitment to innovation and technology to capitalize on initiatives that can deliver long-term, measurable results for underserved individuals and their communities.

In addition to the firm’s enhanced partnership with Code.org, in 2016 BlackRock will host a Summer Immersion Program in partnership with Girls Who Code, the national nonprofit that is working to close the gender gap in technology. The 7-week program offers rising 11thand 12th grade girls 300+ hours of intensive instruction in web development and design, robotics, and mobile development with mentorship and exposure to top female engineers and entrepreneurs.