Our 2018 National Day of Civic Hacking event was remarkable in many ways, as much for the commitment of the nonprofit organizations who brought us event day challenges, as for the fantastic team of developers and civic technologist who turned out for our August 11 event and continue working on the projects today. This is part II of our National Day of Civic Hacking recap. You can find Part I here.
Join us for a special Code for Tampa Bay meetup with guest speaker, Steve Spiker, of Measures for Justice who will be sharing the work being done in Oakland, and here in Florida, with the launch of a new Data Fellowship effort here in the Sunshine State.
Steve ‘Spike’ Spiker joined Measures for Justice in 2018 as their Data Evangelist, where he supports the outreach teams, works on standards, the data fellowship program and building vendor relationships.
Spike has been a mentor with Code for America and co-founded and led OpenOakland, a civic innovation organization where he worked on opendata policies, community engagement and open source tech development with local government agencies.
Our 2018 National Day of Civic Hacking event was one of the best we’ve ever held, both for the commitment of the nonprofit organizations who brought us event day challenges, and for the fantastic team of developers and civic technologists who turned out for our August 11 event and continue working on the projects today.
Despite the late development of having to cancel our hoped for St. Petersburg event, most of the nearly 60 registered participants gamely switched over to our Tampa event, held at the Industrious Center and generously supported by The Ledger , Covered Web Services and Inside the Box Catering.
The mission of the Arts Conservatory for Teens (ACT) is to educate, empower, and enrich the lives of youth and teens. ACT provides arts education and youth development programming to underserved and at-risk students, serving over 400 students annually. They tell us more about themselves here and the project they’ve brought to this year’s National Day of Civic Hacking event in St. Petersburg.
After-school and summer programming include classes in voice, drama, dance, music production, cinematography and photography. ACT also provides similar arts programming in five low-income Pinellas County schools through its Character Essentials Program. ACT’s Teens Empowered Today program teaches young people how to become productive, caring, community-minded citizens with six levels of curriculum: workforce development, leadership training, money management, healthy lifestyles, academic success, and cultural enrichment.
ACT is bringing a grant tracking database project to NDCH to help manage the process that comes with applying for grant funding year-to-year. Grant funding is an important revenue stream for non-profit organizations. There are many steps in the application process so efficiency and organization is a key component to securing grant funding. A database that can keep all information in one place, is user-friendly, and can create reports for both internal staff and external stakeholders will have significant positive impact on the applying, submitting, and reporting process not only for ACT, but for any organization that applies for grants.
Non-profit organizations are always trying to maximize impact while keeping expenses minimal in order to serve as many people as possible. NDCH provides an opportunity to improve process and service using technology for projects that may not happen otherwise. It is a unique and important collaboration that serves the community well.
Watch A Day in the Life of ACT to learn more about the Arts Conservatory for Teens and the youth who are impacted by its work.
Winners’ Resource Center is a nonprofit charity that provides services to about 600 families a month in the Tampa Bay Area and beyond. Its mission is to impact the lives of others by helping them overcome their current needs and matching them with solutions to help win in life, providing in addition to food and clothing, life skills training and referral assistance.
Their National Day of Civic Hacking challenge is to develop a more efficient resource for non-profits and companies to share their information with those in need in the Tampa Bay area, as well as to be able to better inform community members about available services and opportunities.
The services they offer are many and far reaching:
- Food and Clothing Assistance – from fresh and non-perishable grocery items for individuals, families and other community organizations to serving hot meals to the homeless and poor, and providing clothing and basic need items , daily and during weekly community visits to low-income areas or large city-wide outreach events.
- Employment Mentoring for the unemployed or under-employed, via a team of experts who assist resume writing, identifying skill sets and practicing interview skills.
- Computer Lab (Opening Soon) which will provide computer skills training, after school tutoring, and homework assistance.
- Life Skills Training including healthy living workshops, finance, self-defense classes, CPR certification and other basic life skills for the home and workplace, all through partnerships with experts and other organizations to bring addiction, parenting and mental health counseling to those who need it.
Jaina Washington, with Winners’ Resource Center, explains what they’re looking for in their National Day of Civic Hacking project.
“Currently there is no website or app that families in need of resources can use to find community events to get items they may need. For instance, our organization and many others will distribute food for families or clothes via events. Other groups will do popup health screening events. Being able to have one location where people can learn about resources available via events will be helpful.
“While 211 lists all the organizations, many nonprofits and even companies will host events geared to reaching those in need. We currently share information regarding these types of events as often as we can, but having a way to automatically pull information in from social media platforms or non-profit websites would go a long way. (Think Google Alerts meets Eventbrite for non-profits and companies to share their information with those in need in the Tampa Bay area.) We service the Tampa Bay area, and since our organization is doing this (on a small scale and when we hear about information), our goal is to do it more efficiently and make it easier to be found.
“As a non profit, we don’t always have the budget to access the technical skills we need. The NDHC is a great way to bring skills from the community to help us to solve issues.”
If you would like to help develop a better way for Winners’ Resource Center to reach and communicate with those in need, and to raise awareness of the many complementary services provided by other nonprofits in the community, please register for our National Day of Civic Hacking event on August 11th, and select the Tampa location to Hack for Change at The Industrious Office from 9am to 5pm at 401 E Jackson St Suite 3300 in Tampa.
Metropolitan Ministries is a nonprofit community service agency whose mission is care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity and instill self-sufficiency. The organization works across four counties: Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk, providing short term emergency shelter, the Uplift U Self-Sufficiency program to help people transition into permanent housing, works to alleviate food insecurity and provides educational and lifeskills training support.
Galina Tishchenko, Director of Digital Strategy for Metropolitan Ministries, submitted this communications challenge for our 2018 National Day of Civic Hacking event. She enumerated the issues, and the needs:
- For Metropolitan Ministries, the rate of crisis intervention happening via social media channels, namely Facebook messenger, is drastically increasing. This new form of instant communication has opened an opportunity for better service but has also created immense strain on the Metropolitan Ministries marketing staff. Inquiries range from urgent crisis situations, to basic questions about food distribution, to donors requesting information on drop off and volunteering. There currently is no technology in place to rapidly address these concerns in a sensitive and appropriate way. The information that could help those in need is scattered across various channels and the Metropolitan Ministries website, neither of which are user friendly.
- 85% of Metropolitan Ministries support comes from private donations. Most of this support comes from The Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers. If Metropolitan Ministries is to persist in Tampa Bay they need to inspire a new generation of donors to engage with this community and feel a sense of ownership in the Metropolitan Ministries mission. They are currently struggling to develop strategies that provide an inspiring message to younger audiences that gets them to engage financially and socially.
- Metropolitan Ministries is built on the idea that bringing the community together will solve many of the problems we face. There currently is not a great place for community members to help those in need, digitally. You can find small examples of this on the Metropolitan Ministries social media pages where people, unprompted, will offer information or direct help to those in need. The problem is no centralized place for the community to step in and directly help one another online on a person to person level.
If you would like to help develop a comprehensive digital platform that would help Metropolitan Ministries more efficiently provide crisis intervention through social media, inspire engagement with a younger demographic and improve community engagement overall, please register for our National Day of Civic Hacking event on August 11th, and select the Tampa location to Hack for Change at The Industrious Office from 9am to 5pm at 401 E Jackson St Suite 3300 in Tampa.
We’re super happy to announce that we have a second location for this year’s National Day of Civic Hacking event in Tampa Bay, on August 11! In addition to our St. Petersburg location, generously provided by the Academy at the Suncoast Developers Guild, we’re grateful to The Ledger, Brianna Bond and Covered Web Services for donating space use at the Industrious Office on Franklin Street in Tampa, and for support from Hillsborough County .
Select your preferred location when you register
At our Tampa location, we’ll be working on these projects:
- Metropolitan Ministries – to help develop an intelligent chatbot to better direct those in need to most appropriate services (Tampa NDCH)
- Winners’ Resource Center – A more efficient resource for non-profits and companies to share their information with those in need in the Tampa Bay area (Tampa NDCH)
- Pasco Agents for Change – helping this newly created nonprofit develop an advocacy website and tools to aid their efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in Pasco County Public Schools (Tampa NDCH)
In St. Petersburg, we’ll be working on these:
- The Greenhouse – a platform for St. Pete’s Grow Smarter Initiative (St. Pete NDCH)
- Arts Conservatory for Teens – Grant tracking database/system (St. Pete NDCH)
As well as other projects participants may be interested in developing at each location. We’ll share more information about these groups and their projects in the next few weeks.
Winning solutions will be chosen by agency representatives, and winners will receive trophies and the opportunity to continue developing their hackathon challenge solution into fully working models for the relevant civic agencies.
Please join us!
National Day of Civic Hacking, on August 11, is an annual nationwide event that brings together volunteer civic technologists with local government, community agencies and organizations to work together on 21st century solutions to organizational and government services challenges. Our Pinellas County event host is Suncoast Developers Guild.
This year, Code for Tampa Bay invited local city and county governments, and area service organizations to to submit project ideas for the event, and received several on which Hack for Change teams can work together to solve.
The four agencies we’ll be working with at this year’s event are:
- Metropolitan Ministries – to help develop an intelligent chatbot to better direct those in need to most appropriate services
- Winners’ Resource Center – A more efficient resource for non-profits and companies to share their information with those in need in the Tampa Bay area
- The Greenhouse – a platform for St. Pete’s Grow Smarter Initiative
- Arts Conservatory for Teens – Grant tracking database/system
We’ll share more information about these groups and their projects, as well as a couple of others in the wings, as we get closer to the event date. There will be other project opportunities, as well.
Winning solutions will be chosen by a team of judges and agency representatives, and winners will receive trophies and the opportunity to continue developing their hackathon challenge solution into fully working models for the relevant civic agencies.
Who Can Participate
There’s no cost to participate and all are welcome! It’s not necessary to be a coder or “techie” to participate. While coders, developers and designers have vital skills to create applications, dashboards and tools, they can’t do their work without interested citizens with ideas, artists who can design graphics and layouts, front end designers, writers and storytellers. The issues being explored are whole brain problems in need of whole brain solutions, and everyone is needed at the table.
Meals and refreshments are provided throughout the day, and the first 50 registrants receive event t-shirts.
If you or your company would like to be a National Day of Civic Hacking sponsor, you can contribute at Code for America and identify “Code for Tampa Bay” as the beneficiary. You can see our Sponsorship Opportunities here.
NDCH Code of Conduct
Code for Tampa Bay Brigade, at all meetings and events, actively abides by Code for America’s Code of Conduct and operates as a Safe Space, where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability; a place where the rules guard each person’s self-respect and dignity and strongly encourages everyone to respect others. You can read our full Code of Conduct here. Anyone violating our Code of Conduct may be asked to leave a meeting or event.
National Day of Civic Hacking, on August 11, is an annual nationwide event hosted by Code for America that brings together volunteer civic technologists with local government, and community agencies and organizations to work together on 21st century solutions to organizational and government services challenges.
This year, we’re inviting local city and county governments, and area service organizations to to submit project ideas for the event. We’ll select projects that:
To have your project considered for Code for Tampa Bay’s 2018 National Day of Civic Hacking event(s) – we hope to hold one Hack for Change event in Pinellas and one in Hillsborough – Please complete our NDCH website form by June 22. Selected projects will be announced by July 2
We’re super excited to announce a second opportunity for those interested in exploring civic technology to be part of Code for Tampa Bay Brigade, as we head over the Bay to host a 2nd monthly Code for Tampa Bay Brigade Meetup, in St. Petersburg! Starting Monday, May 21, we’ll be hosting a Pinellas County Meetup at TEC Garage, on the 3rd Monday of each month. Many thanks to TEC Garage for being such supportive and gracious hosts!
At this inaugural Pinellas meeting, we’ll check out local civic tech opportunities, and start getting organized for a Pinellas County National Day of Civic Hacking event.
TEC Garage is located inside the downtown building of St. Petersburg College at 244 2nd Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. When you enter through the main doors of the college, TEC Garage is straight ahead, just past the Student Services counter.
There is metered parking in front of the building and on the side streets (2nd St. N. and 3rd St. N.) There is a parking garage on 2nd Street N., around the corner at Sundial/MidCore Parking Garage, which costs only $1 after 5pm. The entrance to the garage is at 117 2nd Street North. (They take cash or checks only).
Further information on parking in downtown St Petersburg can be found at http://www.stpete.org/visiting_the_city/where_to_park.php
We’ll have light foods and refreshments. Please RSVP at our Meetup page so we have a reasonable headcount for munchies.
About Code for Tampa Bay
Code for Tampa Bay Brigade is an affiliate of Code for America, and part of an international network of people committed to using their voices and hands, in collaboration with local governments, to make their cities better. Code for Tampa Bay Brigade helps build participatory power in their cities by holding regular civic hack nights and events, advocating for open data, and deploying apps. Brigades celebrate and share their successes with the Brigade network to further the global civic innovation movement. If you’d like to be in our Slack workspace, please send your request to Terri@FFCDI.org and if you’d like access to the GitHub repository, please email Chris at CLWillingham@gmail.com .
Code for Tampa Bay Brigade abides by Code for America’s Code of Conduct, which expects that Code for America network activities, events, and digital forums adhere to standards of ethics and conduct which can be read in their entirety here: http://codefortampabay.org/about/