On Monday my phone suddenly started buzzing. Shawn Wang, AKA Swyx, had just tweeted about a donation he'd made to freeCodeCamp.org.
I glanced at the tweet. $10. Great. That will provide the equivalent of 500 hours worth of learning. I fired off a tweet thanking him. Then I got back to work.
A few minutes later someone pointed out to me - that wasn't a $10 donation. Shawn had written "10k". It was a $10,000 donation. Sure enough I checked PayPal and $10,000 had come through.
Shawn was making a big donation to freeCodeCamp. And he blogged about his reasons here.
"Quincy and team have proven themselves to do a lot with very little... Quincy is also very scrupulous around how he does fundraising - no ads, no nags - which I strongly identify with and want to reward."
He goes on to say:
"I also care a lot about keeping quality coding education free. When I decided to explore learning to code, I wasn't sure if I was cut out for it. So I kept my day job, and just did something on freeCodeCamp every day for 6 months. It was a struggle, but completing FCC was what gave me the confidence that this was actually something I could do and was worth quitting my job and investing actual money in."
As you know, freeCodeCamp is growing quickly. We're creating tons of new learning resources, such as our upcoming Python curriculum that covers Numpy and Tensorflow.
But we're also operating as a skeleton crew of 7 people, a bare minimum of servers, with an annual budget of a mere $373,000.
With these paltry resources, we're serving free technology education to millions of people. More than 1 billion minutes (2,000 years) worth of free education so far in 2019 alone.
Last night Shawn tweeted again, using a hashtag #PayItBackwards:
To be clear, freeCodeCamp is free. It will always be free. That will never change.
But if you are one of the 40,000 freeCodeCamp alumni who are now working as developers, and are now making more money than in your past career, I encourage you to follow Shawn's lead and #PayItBackwards.
You can make a one-time donation of any amount through PayPal here. In many countries - including the US - this donation will be tax-deductible. (If you email me, I can personally send you a formal donation receipt for your taxes.)
Update: We've already gotten a few big donations today. Shout out to You Don't Know JS author Kyle Simpson as well as the entire Front End Masters team for their support.
Thanks for reading this. Thanks for caring about the freeCodeCamp community.
We will continue to carry out our mission to help as many people learn to code as possible.
Again, you can make sure we have enough resources to keep pushing technology education forward by donating and by tweeting with the hashtag #PayItBackwards.