TECH Unleashed receives $100,000 Generator Z grant

A TECH Unleashed member sketches on a Microsoft Surface Studio at the Boundless Connections Technology Center in Olean.

Boundless Connections’ teen technology program, available in its Rochester and Olean technology centers, has received a $100,000 grant from Generator Z.

Launched in 2020, Generator Z is a teen-led initiative to reimagine the future of afterschool. More than 1,000 ‘Generators’ from across Southeast Michigan and Western New York shared their afterschool experience and insight online. Afterschool providers stepped up with ideas to turn that teen insight into action. Over 90 providers across both regions received $4 million to bring their ideas to life in the next year and TECH Unleashed is one of them.

Generator Z is driven by teens and powered by Lakeshore Connections with support from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. Learn more at

TECH Unleashed is for youth 13-17 years old interested in computer programming, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality, graphic art, and video/audio editing.

Participants receive guidance on project and time management, leadership and team building, public speaking, research and industry networking.

Boundless Connections will work with its nonprofit partner, Strength Solutions, to distribute the funds. Strength Solutions will provide full and partial scholarships to any members in need.

“Giving young people, regardless of their economic status, the opportunity to engage with technology at their pace is part of our goal of developing a pipeline of tech-savvy people who want to live and work in our communities,” Christina Lopez, Boundless Connections CEO, said. “We have never turned anyone away for an inability to pay, and this grant helps us continue changing the way people engage with and view technology.

“Our Olean pilot tech center started around TECH Unleashed, and it’s been a turning point for many of the young people who have participated,” she said. “We’ve had members go on to pursue careers in different tech-based fields, from video production, to web and app design to rocket science and everything in between.

“Part of what sets our programs apart is the autonomy we give members. As facilitators, we help guide them and keep them on track with their goals, but this isn’t a class, so everyone is learning and exploring what they’re passionate about at their own pace.”

Boundless Connections’ goal is to help community members keep up with the rapid pace of change in technology, meeting the demands of a dynamic and evolving workforce while helping members develop essential skills.

The Boundless Connections Technology Centers make state of the art digital technology accessible for everyone. The tech centers provide a focal point for young and old with various skill sets and interests to collaborate and utilize the power of cutting-edge technology. The programs and events are designed to develop a technology pipeline and create a pathway for people to engage and solve local challenges with technology. These programs and events are tailored to various interest groups or demographics.