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Hack for a Cause: April 6-8 2018

During the Hack for a Cause event, two or more teams of internet programmers compete with each other to come up with the best solution to a challenge. This year, ECAN's was one of 11 challenges that were accepted from a field of 30. Programmers had 48 non-stop hours to design and execute an internet application that will make a significant transformation of a community problem. The outcome has been an awesome, amazing gift to ECAN and our community!

ECAN presented this challenge to the programmers of Hack-for-a-cause: our community and many others have been unable to respond effectively to a rapidly increasing cascade of systemic social problems. Multiple groups and organizations are floundering in an overload of disconnected information and even the best collaborations have only been able to produce small-scale solutions. The greatest obstacle is simply a lack of connection and communication among the people with the capacity to help. 

"One of the ongoing issues for agencies and organizations dealing with homelessness in Lane County is they often don’t know what the others are doing. They don’t have an easy way to share information or arrange a collaboration, to ask for help or advice, or to learn about grants or other resources.” 

A well-designed web portal can become an effective social problem-solving network at scale by serving as a networking platform to share action projects that are planned, are being implemented, or have had problems.

Summary of the Vision

an online resource that is a
cooperative learning network of issue-focused groups, 
such that any social benefit organization could 
contact like-minded groups or individuals for an exchange of
volunteers’ time & energy, 
meeting times and places,
best practices, 
advocacy efforts, 
awareness of parallel projects, 
current project status and 
unmet needs,
resulting in mutual trust, collaboration across organizational boundaries and construction of an effective social problem-solving network at scale. 
For more detail, read the proposal for SOAR.

The ECAN Hack-for-a-cause story:

It was an intense 3 days at the Hack-for-a-Cause event, claimed to be the largest event of its kind in the USA, with over 200 people participating -- a good reason to call Eugene's tech community the "Silicon Shire!" ECAN has been blessed by the efforts of 5 employees of CBT Nuggets who, in the opinion of a cyber-security business owner, developed a "rock solid" web application that has a potential to grow and expand with the input from the people who use it. 

 The amazing team of brilliant young people who built this web portal called themselves "nerdsofafeather," and are pictured here: 

In addition, ECAN had priceless support from a very talented partners to the challenger team who actively embodied the spirit of collaboration during the event by jumping into brainstorming conversations (pictured below) about potential database alliances with Whitebird Clinic, Egan Warming Centers and Trans*Ponder, all of which serve marginalized populations.

New ECAN board member Kris McAlister, who understands coding language, was an invaluable translator of vision into specific directions for nerdsofafeather. Majeska Seese-Green took progress notes and kept the needs of the end users uppermost in everyone's mind. Board member Christopher Hazen applied his extensive business management experience to smooth relations with the event's organizers and other teams.

For a closer experience of this event, watch this video of my pitch for the challenge, or the live feed from the event in which the members of nerdsofafeather are interviewed, or the closing ceremony in which they are acknowledged for their hard work and receive a portion of the event's prize money. 

If you want to increase the prize money for the winning team, donations may be made securely online via PayPal  using your PayPal account or a credit card. Please note your intention. You do not need to have a PayPal account. If you prefer, you may write a check to ECAN and mail it to 4349 Shadow Wood Drive, Eugene, OR 97405.

David Hazen,
Apr 2, 2018, 5:41 PM