Tag Archives: Christina Lewis Halpern

All Star Code Announces New Leadership Structure As Part of Five-Year Strategic Plan

December 19, 2019



Founder Christina Lewis named President and Danny Rojas named Executive Director


NEW YORK, NY – All Star Code, the leading nonprofit organization creating economic opportunity for young men of color by helping them develop the tools needed to succeed in a technological world, today announced that founder Christina Lewis has been named President and Danny Rojas has been named Executive Director of the organization, effective January 1, 2020. Both Rojas and Lewis will report directly to the All Star Code Board of Directors.

This new leadership structure reflects a long-planned strategy to support the next stage of All Star Code’s nationwide expansion. The new five-year strategic growth plan aims to serve 5,000 young men annually by 2024, nearly 10 times its current capacity.

In her new role as President of All Star Code, Lewis will lead fundraising activities while continuing to play a key role in executing the organization’s long-term vision and providing strategic counsel.

“Since 2013, it has been an enormous privilege to serve as All Star Code’s chief executive and, honestly, a blessing,” said Lewis. “The personal learnings from and jaw-dropping impact of this ‘tech prep’ program for boys of color are two treasured gifts that keep on giving. As we enter this exciting new stage, I look forward to working with Danny in making our programs available to young men of color around the country and expanding this important movement.”

As Executive Director, Rojas, who originally joined All Star Code in 2018 as Vice President of Programs and has most recently served as Executive Vice President, will oversee day-to-day operations and execution of the growth strategy.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as Executive Director for All Star Code,” said Rojas. “When I joined the team in May of 2018 and walked into our Summer Intensive classrooms, hosted at top technology companies, it affirmed to me how important this work is. As an engineer, executive, and parent of a future All Star, the mission resonates personally and I am committed to realizing our vision and potential – in our students, our communities, and our nation. I look forward to working with Christina to continue growing the organization to expand our national footprint and meet, and exceed, our goal of serving 5,000 young men of color annually by 2024.”

“Since first launching in 2013, All Star Code has refined and enhanced its approach to building opportunities for young men of color to enter and excel in the tech sector, supporting the continued calls for more diversity in that industry,” said Dr. David Orr, All Star Code Board Chair and Chaplain, Metropolitan Jewish Health System. “This new leadership structure will best position All Star Code for substantial and sustainable growth as we continue to build a strong talent pipeline that will significantly contribute to changing the face of tech within the next decade.”

Lewis founded All Star Code in 2013 providing 10 driven young men with the tools, resources, and confidence needed to succeed in the tech-first world. Since then, more than 600 more young men of color in New York City and Pittsburgh have completed All Star Code’s flagship Summer Intensive program, with many students going on to major in computer science in top schools around the country, intern with leading tech companies, and launch their own startups.

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All Star Code’s Summer Benefit Raises over $740K!

unspecifiedOn Saturday, August 6th, All Star Code hosted its Third Annual Summer Benefit to raise funds and awareness of the organization’s mission. All Star Code raised more than $740,000 at the sold out benefit.

The rain held off throughout cocktails, so guests could enjoy the ocean view and play with the student-designed interactive game stations. All Star Code students and alums from all three years of the Summer Intensive program designed and ran the gaming stations. This year’s featured stations included Trigger Safe, a security technology for firearms that uses fingerprint scans to avoid improper use, the the All Star Website Showcase, and The Young Hackers, where guests got to experience what it’s like to organize and attend a hackathon as well as learn about the history, mission and future plans of The Young Hackers. Djassi and Zaire had a particularly popular station with Finchlympics, where guests competed in three games with Finch robots.


Dinner followed provided by Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem and awards ceremony with Master of Ceremonies, Maurice DuBois, award winning anchor of CBS. Previous honoree and 2016 Summer Benefit Co-Chair, Frank A. Baker, presented the Visionary Award to Hilton Romanski, Chief Strategy Officer of Cisco, for his outstanding work in the tech sector.

Elliott Breece, Product Manager at Google Play and co-founder of Songza, received the Community Award presented by previous recipient and Google colleague, Marcus Mitchell. Elliott shared the critical importance of the tech industry and our students’ place within it saying that, “The world around us is being rebuilt with 1s and 0s, an increasingly connected and digital world. It’s natural that the people who are rebuilding this world will at some level rebuild it in their own image. It’s critical that young men of color are among the most active builders.”

Co-Chair Valentino D. Carlotti welcomed All Star Code’s Founder & Executive Director, Christina Lewis Halpern, to the stage. Christina spoke to the crowd of over 300 people about the core tenets that All Star Code embodies: Dare Greatly, Celebrate Failure, and Tell Your Story. She spoke about All Star Code’s mission saying, “We empower our students to attack new problems with confidence. We give them the tools to work on problems that lie beyond what they’ve already done. We give them the skills, networks, and mindset to create new futures through technology. What we want, really, is for them to figure out the future.” And we believe that they will meet the challenge.

All Star Code alumnus and current Summer Intensive Teaching Fellow, John Abreu, walked the crowd through his journey of finding All Star Code, and eloquently explained how the program has changed his future career path. Abreu will be attending Boston College this fall. “I believe the true value of this program lies in its placement of young men of color, with ambitions greater than their opportunities, in an industry that drives innovation around the world. An industry where people like me are the overwhelming minority,” John said.


The evening closed with an exciting live auction presided over by auctioneer Alex Berggruen of Christie’s raising over $70,000. Attendees took over the dance floor with MICK keeping the party lit until the lights under the tent dimimed, and another Summer Benefit was successfully behind us.

Countless notable celebrities and personalities took part in the evening including: Jessica White, Maurice DuBois, Jay Williams, Elliott Breece, Hilton Romanski, Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages, Dr. Nadia Lopez, Anna Throne-Holst, MICK, Alma and Charles Rangel, David N. Dinkins, Founder & Executive Director Christina Lewis Halpern, and Co-chairs Frank A. Baker, Valentino D. Carlotti, and Loida Nicolas Lewis.


You can still bid on exciting auction items included in All Star Code’s CharityBuzz online auction or donate today.

A special thanks to the Benefit Co-Chairs, Event Committee Members, guests, supporters, and Alimay Events for making the evening such a success!

Check out all of the photos from the event.

Our Alumni are off to College!


All Star Code recently celebrated the accomplishments of our graduating seniors with a college send-off event. During the evening, we learned that more than 60% of the students will be attending top 50 universities in the United States. Graduates will be attending Columbia University, Duke University, Harvey Mudd College, Howard College, Stanford University and NYU just to name a few. Additionally, our graduating seniors have received over $500,000 in scholarships and financial aid.

The evening, hosted at Christina Lewis Halpern’s residence, was filled with excitement and gratitude. All Star Code is extremely proud and eager to support our young entrepreneurs who are already pioneering into this new world.100% of our alumni who are graduating seniors will be attending college.

This year, ASC alumni will be attending the following colleges all around the country and continuing their journeys in becoming the next generation of tech leaders:

Boston College

Bucknell University

Columbia University (4)

Cornell University

Denison University

Duke University

Hampton College

Harvey Mudd College (2)

Howard University

Ithaca College (2)

LaGuardia Community College

Lawrence University

Lehigh University

Long Island University

Marist College

New York University

Queens College

Rochester Institute of Technology

Stanford University

The University at Albany, SUNY (2)

The University at Albany, SUNY (Honors College)

The University of Maryland, College Park

University of Virginia

Williams College

Yale University

All Star Code at SXSW


On March 11, All Star Code’s Founder and Executive Director, Christina Lewis Halpern will be a key speaker and panel moderator at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The session is entitled Cracking the Codes: Why Black & Latino Boys Matter.

Christina will be accompanied by Marisa Renee Lee, Managing Director of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA) and Marcus Mitchell, Senior Engineer Director at Google. She will be part of a session, which answers the questions:

    Why are some boys falling behind in the 21st century economy?
    What are the consequences of a diversity debt within a startup?
    And how are boys’ needs different from those of girls?

Though the exciting interactive panel, Christina, Marisa and Marcus will be providing insight into the projected deficit of highly skilled workers in the US. By 2020,123 million highly skilled jobs will be available with only 50 million workers with the skills to fill them!

Boys of color in the US will soon be roughly 25% of those entering the workforce. The panelists will discuss how investing in these boys across the US, is an overlooked opportunity and can affect a business’ bottom line.

Christina will take the audience through the exciting movement of closing the opportunity gap for Black and Latino boys across the country with a unique focus on tech sector. All Star Code is very excited for this upcoming event and I hope to see you there!

To find out more about All Star Code’s session, visit SXSW Interactive.

Going to be at SXSW? Contact amanda@allstarcode.org to let us know!

All Star Code Surges Into Second Summer: Raising more than $600K at Sold Out Benefit

On Saturday, July 25th tech education non-profit, All Star Code, hosted its Second Annual Summer Benefit to raise funds and awareness of the organization’s mission. All Star Code raised more than $600,000 at the sold out benefit. Founder and Executive Director Christina Lewis Halpern also made a major announcement: an innovative collaboration with AT&T!

With the shared goal of empowering students everywhere to reach their highest potential, AT&T has awarded All Star Code $100,000 in support through AT&T Aspire. This exciting new collaboration will additionally provide seven All Star Code students, who will be named AT&T scholars, with scholarships, free laptops and supplies for embodying creativity, intellect and curiosity.

This year’s benefit was held at a private oceanfront residence in East Hampton, New York. The evening had many exciting elements to go along with the release of the AT&T collaboration. The night began with a cocktail reception and interactive, student-designed game stations. The stations were comprised of games created and run by ASC students and alums and were enjoyed by a number of high profile attendees including Miss USA Olivia Jordan and Real Housewife of New York, Kristen Taekman.

Dinner followed provided by Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem and awards ceremony with Master of Ceremonies, Maurice DuBois, award winning anchor of ‘CBS 2 This Morning.’ This year All Star Code had assembled a group of distinguished honorees including Frank A. Baker, Goldman Sachs Gives, and Marcus Mitchell. Co-Chair Loida Nicolas Lewis presented Frank A. Baker, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Siris Capital Group with the Visionary Award. Co-Chair Troy Carter, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Atom Factory, presented Goldman Sachs Gives with the Corporate Leadership Award. Co-Chair Valentino D. Carlotti accepted the award on behalf of Goldman Sachs Gives. And current All Star Code student Cameron King presented Marcus Mitchell with the Community Award. Mitchell is a Senior Engineering Director at Google.

The evening closed with an exciting live auction presided over by auctioneer Alex Berggruen of Christie’s, complete with bidding wars and a high bid of $34,000, followed by a dance party with MICK.

“What we’re doing at All Star Code is giving young men of color the tools to ride the wave,” said Founder and Executive Director Christina Lewis Halpern. “It’s my belief that the indignities and injustices and inequalities that people of color in this country still endure can only be corrected once people of color have a fairer shot at a seat at the table. Until they have a fairer shot at chairing the table. A fairer shot at running the table.”

Countless notable celebrities and personalities took part in the evening including: Miss USA Olivia Jordan, Co-Anchor of CBS’ This Morning and Editor-At-Large of O Magazine Gayle King, Model Chris Collins, Real Housewives of New York star Kristen Taekman & her husband, Sherry Bronfman, David Buckner Orr, ASC Board Vice Chair Britt Morgan-Saks, Former Mayor of New York City and ASC Board Member David Dinkins, Alma Rangel, and Philippine Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr. and his wife Eleanor.

You can still bid on exciting auction items included in All Star Code’s CharityBuzz online auction or donate today.

All Star Code’s 2nd Annual Demo Day will be hosted by Google’s offices in New York on Thursday, August 13th. If you’re interested in attending, please e-mail Director of External Affairs Christina Licata at Licata@allstarcode.org.

A special thanks to the Benefit Co-Chairs, Benefit Committee Members, guests, supporters, and Alimay Events for making the evening such a success!

Have a look at the photos from the event.

Troy Carter, Marcus Mitchell, Loida Nicolas Lewis, Christina Lewis Halpern, Valentino D. Carlotti, and Frank A.Baker

Troy Carter, Marcus Mitchell, Loida Nicolas Lewis, Christina Lewis Halpern, Valentino D. Carlotti, and Frank A.Baker

Troy Carter, Loida Nicolas Lewis, Christina Lewis Halpern, Valentino Carlotti

Troy Carter, Loida Nicolas Lewis, Christina Lewis Halpern, Valentino Carlotti

Olivia Jordan, Miss USA 2015

Olivia Jordan, Miss USA 2015

All Stars

All Stars

The All Star Code Impact

In September of last year, a chance meeting with Christina Lewis Halpern changed my life. Christina was just about to publicly launch All Star Code.  She was looking for someone to help run her new non-profit’s first event, to be held at Spotify’s headquarters a week later. In talking with her, I felt inspired by her passion, chutzpah, and big picture thinking. So, I dove in.

We met every day that week leading up to the event. And upon successfully wrapping All Star Code’s first workshop, she casually said to me with a smile, “You’re coming back Monday, right?”

I wasn’t lying about the chutzpah.

Of course I came back the following Monday. And here I am now – 4 workshops, 2 fundraisers, 1 benefit, 6 Summer Intensive weeks and 14 months of Mondays later.

In just one year, All Star Code has worked with more than 100 students from 8 different states and 56 different schools. We’ve recruited top industry professionals as teachers and mentors, and built a program that is so unique, so impactful, and so timely that I constantly find myself talking about the kinds of future leaders our All Stars are destined to become.

As the Director of Marketing and Events, I am highly attuned to the narratives that weave in and out of All Star Code. I often tell friends stories about the All Star student who shadowed me when I photographed a website building workshop. He then built an incredible website not only to showcase his own photography, but to get hired out as an event photographer himself. Or I speak of the two All Stars who created an interactive game that was such a hit at our Summer Benefit in July that the head of a museum invited them to showcase it at HIS event. More recently, I tell everyone about the All Star who came into the Summer Intensive with no prior coding experience, only to build a company with his cohorts that hosted a better-attended hackathon than our own. Christina’s chutzpah is clearly contagious.

Christina often tells anyone involved with All Star Code to “live the mission.” For me, that includes helping build an ecosystem of education and access for our All Stars, through both professional and personal resources.

When we were looking at different tech companies to host field trips for the Summer Intensive, I called my brother’s girlfriend, who works at LinkedIn.  I asked her to help me plan a day-long workshop that included student pitch sessions, profile building, and a hike to the top of the Empire State Building (where LinkedIn’s New York offices are headquartered). When we hosted a fundraiser in my hometown of San Francisco, I called upon a high school friend and winery owner to donate cases of wine to the event. When we needed assistant event managers at the Summer Benefit, I called upon three colleagues who had assisted me previously on other non-profit events. And when one of their boyfriends, a computer programmer, found out about her involvement with All Star Code, he rang me up the next day with a mixture of excitement and jealousy and asked how he too could get involved. And so he became a mentor at our last Design A Startup In A Day workshop hosted by Google. I live the mission by recruiting talent and building out our ecosystem because I believe in these boys and their potential to change the world.

Our ecosystem is expanding every day. If you are reading this now, then you are already a part of it. So I ask you, how will YOU live the mission? Will you volunteer or mentor at a workshop? Will you co-host a fundraiser? Or will you do something as easy as share our newsworthy updates on social media? All such efforts carry our movement forward.  We are all committed to changing the lives of our All Stars. What may surprise you is that because of your involvement with All Star Code, your life could very easily change as well.

Michael Schwartz & All Star Coders at Google Workshop