Code Girls United Announces Major Financial Gifts, Sets Annual App Building Competition

Kalispell-based nonprofit will host regional Northwest Regional App Challenge May 2-3 at Flathead Valley Community College

By Andy Viano
Marianne Smith, one of the founders of Code Girls United. Beacon file photo

Code Girls United, the Kalispell-based nonprofit that teaches fourth through eighth grade girls to code, received four major financial gifts late last month.

The contributions from the Gianforte Foundation ($20,000), Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation ($17,100), Park Side Credit Union Non-Profit Partnership ($5,000) and Whitefish Community Foundation ($4,000) will help fund the existing after-school programs and support a planned expansion into other areas of the state in 2020.

Code Girls United began in the Flathead Valley in 2016 with an aim to educate local girls in computer science, eventually leading to the coding and creation of a functional app. After-school courses are led by volunteers and held at a handful of local schools and homeschools, running weekly from September through May.

The organization’s year-ending event is the Northwest Regional App Challenge, this year scheduled for May 2-3 at Flathead Valley Community College. The competition is open to girls in fourth through eighth grade from throughout the region, not just those taking the year-round classes, and teams of two to five are asked to develop an app to address a problem in their community. Those apps are then displayed a la a science fair and judged. The winning teams are awarded financial scholarships.

Registration for the Northwest Regional App Challenge is open now until March 27 at More information on the competition and the Code Girls United program is also available at that website or by calling (406) 300-4280.


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