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Creating a More Diverse Tech Future with the Akamai Foundation

Kara DiGiacomo

Written by

Kara DiGiacomo

March 01, 2022

Kara DiGiacomo is the Executive Director of the Akamai Foundation and oversees the Akamai Foundation community investments, Disaster Relief Response, Danny Lewin Community Care Days volunteer program and signature community partnerships worldwide. Kara brings over 18 years' experience specializing in citizenship strategy design, high-impact foundation and community grant-making, employee engagement, cross-sector partnerships and development of STEM education programming at the global, national and local level.

Fast-paced and forever changing, the future of tech will be determined by the next generation of innovators — those who look at the bigger picture to solve the most pressing global issues.

Supporting equitable access to STEM education

At Akamai, we know that to achieve this vision, the entire technology sector needs to push to diversify the talent pool. That’s why we established the Akamai Foundation. Officially formed in 2018, the Foundation’s primary mission is to promote mathematics education among the next generation of innovators. We focus on getting underserved schoolchildren in grades K–12 interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and empowered to change our society for the better.

Focus on digital equity and inclusion

In my role as Executive Director, I lead a team that campaigns for equal access to quality STEM education for all children globally. As part of that, we award STEM education grants with a specific focus on digital equity and inclusion. We also partner with Akamai employees to volunteer in local communities. What’s more, we’re part of a wider network of charities and foundations, all helping young people to pursue careers in technology.

Partner for change

I’m delighted to say that during 2021 we continued to build deep partnerships and support our communities despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. Some of our partners included the National Disability Rights Network, Asian Girls Ignite, and G Code House. We’ve achieved so much, but here are a few key highlights:

  • We continued our Early Learner STEM Education grant program for a third year, awarding $1 million to organizations focused on addressing digital equity and inclusion.

  • We set up the Akamai Compassion Fund, an employee hardship fund that included donations made by employees to support their colleagues — a great way for global employees to support one another during difficult times. 

  • We hosted our Employee Resource Collaborative, a unique initiative that brought together the Foundation and our 11 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to award grants selected entirely by our ERG employees.

Akamai colleagues lend a helping hand

What has inspired me most is seeing people lend a helping hand to others. I’ve been meeting Akamai colleagues who volunteer every week and I’m always touched by their projects and passions. 

For example, Gerhard sold goodies he baked with his wife and his colleagues to raise funds to support a hospital in Germany. And Mike, who is a recreational pilot, volunteered his time to fly items to disaster areas. Whether it’s a big event, or just taking the time to carry someone’s groceries, each act of kindness shows that our employees are a powerful vehicle for positive change.

Akamai Foundation growth plan

This year will bring about the final phase of our Akamai Foundation growth plan, with two new programs on the horizon for 2022. We’ve spent the past 18 months partnering with employees, academia, nonprofit organizations, and other stakeholders to design and build opportunities that “empower others to empower others.” Together, we want to serve as a catalyst for making a more diverse tech ecosystem a reality.

More on the horizon

To learn more about the Akamai Foundation, including our annual report and the 2022 STEM grant application process, please visit our home page



Kara DiGiacomo

Written by

Kara DiGiacomo

March 01, 2022

Kara DiGiacomo is the Executive Director of the Akamai Foundation and oversees the Akamai Foundation community investments, Disaster Relief Response, Danny Lewin Community Care Days volunteer program and signature community partnerships worldwide. Kara brings over 18 years' experience specializing in citizenship strategy design, high-impact foundation and community grant-making, employee engagement, cross-sector partnerships and development of STEM education programming at the global, national and local level.