Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls Code, has been removed as the head of the nonprofit by its board, according to Business Insider.
In an email statement acquired from the Insider on Tuesday, Black Girl’s Code board cited “serious allegations of workplace impropriety,” and an investigation into the matter is reportedly underway. As a result, the organization will appoint an interim until the position for the executive board director is filled.
Bryant took to Twitter to respond to news of her removal.
“Press release: so it’s three days before Christmas, and you wake up to discover the organization YOU created and built from the ground up has been taken away by a rogue board with no notification,” her post read.
Press release: so it’s 3 days before Christmas and you wake up to discover the organization YOU created and built from the ground up has been taken away by a rogue board with no notification. VC: @BlackGirlsCode
— kimberlybryant.eth (@6Gems) December 21, 2021
On Thursday, the board issued an additional statement to Insider that it had launched a special committee in October to investigate those complaints. This week, Bryant was placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation, and she remains on staff, the email noted.
As a former engineer who held positions in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, Bryant founded Black Girls Code in 2011. The “nonprofit runs workshops, summer camps, and other programs to encourage Black girls to learn technology skills in areas such as web design, app development, and robotics.”
Per Insider, Bryant was recognized for her success with the organization and was named one of Insider’s most powerful female engineers in 2016.
According to the organization, based in Oakland, California, Black Girls Code has more than 30,000 programming participants and chapters located in 16 cities across the state.
The nonprofit has gained support from major companies, including Google, Facebook, IBM, and Nike. In addition, they announced in 2018 a board comprised of successful Black leaders in technology and entrepreneurship.
Though Bryant has been demoted from her executive position, Stacy Brown-Philpot, the former CEO of TaskRabbit and a member of the SoftBank Opportunity Fund’s investment committee; Sherman Whites, a director at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurship; and Heather Hiles, the founder of ed-tech company Pathbrite and the managing director of the venture firm Black Ops VC, all remain on the board.
Karla Monterroso, the former CEO of Code2040, a nonprofit focused on racial equity in the tech industry, expressed her thoughts regarding Bryant’s dismissal in a tweet.
“This is an unfathomable mess handled in the most unjust way humanly possible to a woman who was a massive part of building this movement.
This is an unfathomable mess handled in the most unjust way humanly possible to a woman who was a huge part of building this movement. https://t.co/Sa86za9oeY
— Karla Monterroso 💉💉💉 (@karlitaliliana) December 21, 2021