The Ada Initiative leadership has announced the organization will end its activities in mid-October.
The group, founded in 2011 to support women in open technology and culture by producing codes of conduct and anti-harassment policies, advocating for gender diversity, teaching ally skills, and hosting conferences for women in open tech/culture, has been influential among science fiction conrunners.
The lack of a successor to the founders drove the decision.
In late 2014, after nearly four years of leading the Ada Initiative, co-founder Valerie Aurora wanted to step down as Executive Director and focus solely on running training programs. Our Deputy Executive Director and co-founder Mary Gardiner did not want to succeed Valerie as the Executive Director, and thus the board, in November 2014, launched a search for a new ED. After a long and thorough search which attracted more than 130 applicants, the board hired a new ED. Unfortunately, that hire didn’t work out.
Crystal Huff was selected as the Executive Director in March but left the position at the end of May.
That brought us to a decision point. It would have been unreasonable to expect Valerie and Mary to continue with the Ada Initiative forever. We considered running a second ED search, but it had become clear to the board that the success of the Ada Initiative was very much a product of its two founders, and was a direct result of their experiences, skills, strengths and passions. We felt the likelihood of finding a new ED who could effectively fit into Valerie’s shoes was low. We also considered several other options for continuing the organization, including changing its programs, or becoming volunteer-only.
The Ada Initiative will use its remaining funds to fulfill scheduled workshops and classes, and wind down the organization properly. They intend to keep the Ada Initiative’s web content online and available. Any residual funds will be donated to an aligned non-profit.
This is discouraging. When I read the headline, I was foolishly hoping that their reasoning would be “Our work is finished.”
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