Bellwethr Magazine

Coding For Change

The best hackathons for tackling social issues — from hunger relief to bike safety, homelessness, and musical preservation.

WORDS BY Kassie Brabaw

Random Hacks of Kindness

Abbreviated RHoK, this group defines itself as a “community of developers, geeks, and tech-savvy do-gooders around the world.” RHoK holds hackathons in more than 30 countries and focuses on solving problems in 15 categories including agriculture, education, gender equality, and transportation.

Code for America

This operation calls itself a “nonprofit that helps residents and governments harness technology to solve community problems.” In addition to hosting hackathons aimed at facilitating problem-solving between city governments and citizens — finding solutions for problems including literacy, employment, and natural-disaster preparedness — this group holds weekly Hack Nights in Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, Oakland, and San Francisco.

National Day of Civic Hacking

National Day of Civic Hacking is an annual event that takes place across the United States. In 2014, it included 123 events in 103 cities. According to the event’s Facebook page, National Day of Civic Hacking’s goal is to “drive meaningful, technology-based solutions for federal, state and local government.” The group challenges its participants to solve problems in 38 areas including hunger relief, accessibility, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and LGBT youth homelessness.

Hackathon for Social Good

Unlike typical hackathons, which give hackers 24 to 48 hours to build their hacks, these events, which occur worldwide to build software for nonprofit organizations, ask participants to build their projects in only eight hours. This year’s events in Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas, benefited nonprofits for music preservation, digital privacy, employment for impoverished women, and patient care improvement.

Featured image courtesy of Dmitry Baranovskiy.

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