Girls Just Want To Code Apps with Jean MacDonald (Episode 52)





Jean MacDonald was formerly best known for her role as a software marketing and public-relations guru for a major Macintosh software developer, but her work to create App Camp for Girls has eclipsed that. Jean and her colleagues raised over $100,000 on Indiegogo to fund an initial two sessions of a week each in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, and the next step is national. Jean talks about the particular challenges of bootstrapping a non-profit from zero through crowdfunding, and the group’s efforts in navigating their way to the next steps.

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Show notes

Jean is a principal at Smile Software, makers of PDFPen Pro and other Mac and iOS products, which has been a past and is a future sponsor of this podcast. But we’re just talking in this episode about her non-profit work.

Jean’s main partners in this endeavor are Kelly Guimont and Natalie Osten. Christa Mrgan, who participated in teaching at the camp, designed The New Disruptors logo and has written and illustrated for The Magazine.

WWDC is Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference for Mac OS X and iOS programmers. Jean was inspired by Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls.

While App Camp works its way towards independent nonprofit status, it’s under the fiscal sponsorship of TechStart Educational Foundation. The 99% Invisible podcast is under the auspices of a non-profit, PRX. TechStart had already performed this function for ChickTech.

Jean discovered that if you need bulk snacks, go to Costco.

If you didn’t follow our discussion about how Kickstarter processes payments: Amazon Payments handles charging credit cards. When you sign up at Amazon, you agree to give 5% to Kickstarter. Amazon then processes the charges on your behalf, as if you had done them. It then releases that money to you or your company and sends you a 1099-K, which for American taxpayers is also reported to the IRS (if above $20,000 or 200 transactions in a calendar year). It is like a bunch of charges, not a single monolithic amount.

Matthew Inman, the cartoonist behind The Oatmeal, raised over $220,000 for charity to spite a firm that threatened Inman over a strip he did critiquing the firm for using his cartoons on its site without permission.

After video circulated of a schoolbus monitor being ridiculed by teenagers on the bus on which she worked, someone started an Indiegogo campaign to buy her a nice vacation. Instead, over $700,000 was raised for her on Indiegogo. She started a group called Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation with some of the money.

Colleen Wainwright said for her 50th birthday, she’d shave her head if she raised $50,000 for WriteGirl, a writing program aimed at girls in Los Angeles. She called it 50 for 50. She shaved her head.

Registering as a non-profit with a state government in America doesn’t confer federal tax-exempt status. Many organizations are seemingly confused about this. A separate filing with the IRS is required and the tax agency has to approve it; it’s not a rubber stamp.

Dean Putney, a previous guest (Episode 48) on this show, raised over $110,000 to print a version of an album of photos his great-grandfather had taken before and during World War I in Germany, including shots from the trenches. Dean just got advance copies, and he’s now accepting pre-orders for post-Kickstarter fulfillment in a few weeks.

The percentage of women obtaining degrees in computer science and engineering fields has dropped substantially since the 1980s, when the ratio was at its peak. While the number of degrees on those fields has ebbed and fallen in that period, the ratio has steadily shifted toward men.

Xcode is Apple’s programming and development environment for Mac OS X and iOS apps. Summer camp costs about $250 to $300 a week in the Northwest.

The New Yorker wrote a piece specifically about App Camp for Girls this summer. The New York Times has recently run two articles about the topic of getting girls and women into programming; in August about Girls Who Code and other programs, and in October, a piece about creating media role models.

“Computers” were historically women working at calculating machines. The field shifted to men when the pay rose, true in many fields still today.