Long Island City tech nonprofit expands mission beyond Queens

Jukay Hsu is changing the name of his nonprofit organization from C4Q to Pursuit as he expands his programs beyond Queens.
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Bill Parry

For much of the decade, C4Q, the Long Island City-based nonprofit once known as Coalition for Queens, has provided the means for low-income New Yorkers to work their way out of poverty through computer programming training with the hopes of eventually entering into the city’s exploding tech sector.

Now, the organization has changed its name to Pursuit as it expands it mission beyond the geographical limits of Queens to serve as a long-term transformation partner to people and communities with the highest need and potential.

The new direction will focus on a four-year program to support the long-term success of graduates and the geographical reach of the organization will eventually expand beyond Queens and New York City.

“When we launched in 2011, we recognized the immense impact technology was going to have on our society. The industry has created more wealth and jobs than ever before, but these opportunities weren’t reaching everyone, so we set out to give talented people the opportunity they deserve,” Pursuit co-Founder and CEO Jukay Hsu said.

“Pursuit will guide graduates as they navigate the tech sector, providing our students with not only the skills, but also the hands-on guidance to succeed and thrive,” Hsu added. “Their journey doesn’t end when they get their first job, so neither should our work together.”

Pursuit’s 10-month coding training program — which far exceeds the typical 10-week courses offered by most boot camps — will be supplemented by a three-year success program called Pursuit Advance. The program is designed to help graduates advance in the tech industry, through coaching, additional tech learning, and other individualized support.

“We will continue to train talented adults with the most need and potential to become the next leaders in tech — the re-brand and the new funding represent our increased commitment to our graduates and our expanded vision to increase our impact,” Pursuit co-Founder and COO David Yang said.

Pursuit aims to produce senior programers, and ensure that the developers who graduate are equipped with the skills that employers are looking for.

Pursuit’s expanded mission and scope of services is being fueled by $1.85 million in grants from the Siegel Family Endowment and from Salesforce.org. The nonprofit also has the backing of Google and the Robin Hood Foundation.

In addition to funding support from philanthropic and business leaders, Pursuit has launched an innovative funding model called the Pursuit Bond.

The funding model enables impact investors to invest in student’s training and provides training to low-income students at no upfront cost. Graduates pay back the investment with their future earnings.

Graduates of the program land jobs with companies such as Pinterest, Kickstarter, LinkedIn and JP Morgan Chase with average graduate income going from $18,000 to more than $85,000 a year.

“Having followed C4Q’s growth for years — first as a friend of the organization, and more recently as a funding partner — it’s exciting to grow our partnership as they become Pursuit and take their programming nationwide,” Siegel Family Endowment Deputy Executive Director Katy Knight said. “This organization has been a standard bearer for innovative educational programming and tech-talent pipeline cultivation in New York City. As C4Q, they provided enormous opportunity within Queens, and we’re confident that their expanded focus will bring those same opportunities to people across the country as Pursuit.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

More from Around New York