(Photo by Dan Marcel)
Recent Drexel grad and Code for Philly fixture Dawn McDougall will be the civic hacking group’s first executive director. It’s a natural decision: over the last year, McDougall, 24, of East Poplar, has taken on responsibilities with Code for Philly, like blogging about meetups and promoting events via social media.
Appointing a leadership team is another step in the group’s work to organize Philadephia’s civic hacking community. Former city Chief Data Officer Mark Headd once said that Philly is to civic hacking as Nashville is to country music. Here’s another way the city is embracing that identity.
The big vision is to become a nonprofit and fundraise so that McDougall can be Code for Philly’s executive director full time, she said.
Nearly three years after its launch, the group has hosted more than 100 meetups, organized three hackathons and runs an open source mentorship program for women with the local branch of Girl Develop It, not to mention its members have developed civic apps like bike route tracking tool CyclePhilly, the School District Budget Visualizer and the accessibility-minded Unlock Philly.
Aside from executive director, the group also appointed two other positions: Ben Novack, a project manager at Urban Outfitters, is projects lead and Corey Acri, an attorney with no tech experience who jumped into the civic hacking game with the development of CyclePhilly, is collaborations lead. All the positions are unpaid volunteer roles.
“We’re hoping that with dedicated roles in a leadership position we can make their efforts not only more focused but also more sustainable,” McDougall wrote in an email.
Code for Philly was inspired by the OpenOakland executive team, she said, and other brigades have been following suit, though they generally follow umbrella organization Code for America’s structure of brigade captain(s), storyteller, community organizer, delivery lead and municipal partner.
Code for Philly co-organizers Lloyd Emelle and Chris Alfano will continue to serve as liaisons between the group and Code for America, McDougall said.