Civic News

Code for Philly’s monthlong, civic engagement-focused hackathon returns this September

The Launchpad 2019: Phundamentals event will convene volunteers and community stakeholders to work on projects providing equitable access to "Philly's redefined set of basic needs."

A Code for Philly brainstorming session, complete with white boards and post-it notes.

(Photo courtesy of Code for Philly)

Full disclosure: is serving as a media sponsor for Code for Philly's Launchpad 2019: Phundamentals.
Correction: The name of the event has been updated. (8/19/19, 3:03 p.m.)

Code for Philly, the definitely not-just-for-coders, newbie-friendly civic tech organization that extended the concept of a traditional day- or weekend-long hackathon two years ago to span an entire month, is bringing its Launchpad event back in early September.

Code for Philly Launchpad 2019: Phundamentals is a multi-event hackathon for teams of multi-disciplinary volunteers to collaborate on projects that will help provide equitable access to “Philly’s redefined set of basic needs,” the organization announced.

“Given that ‘civic tech’ is generally a really broad category, we look to provide a diverse mix of specific themes for our major events,” wrote Code for Philly Co-Director Rich McMillen in an email. “Tackling Philly’s ‘Phundamentals’ — the fundamental services, support, and staples that residents need to thrive — really resonated with our Organizing Team this year. It was inspired by some of our current Code for Philly project teams, and so we thought the theme would help us rally more volunteers, nonprofits, and city departments so that we might work together to craft idea to deliver more.”

The kickoff to the monthlong event is Friday, Sept. 6, with a night of project brainstorming at the City Council Caucus Room in City Hall. Then Saturday, Sept. 7, is a daylong hackathon session for teams to brainstorm and begin work. The kickoff event is free to attend, but those who participate in the full series of events pay $25 to enter.

A demo night showing off each team’s projects will be held Tuesday, Oct. 1. The projects will investigate opportunities for civic progress and prototype new solutions using user-centered design, open data and open-source technology. (Check out last year’s final work here.)


Who should participate? Anyone across various industries who has an interest in seeing Philadelphia grow, McMillen said.

“City departments, community groups, and nonprofits have a tremendous amount of domain expertise and experience working first-hand with residents,” he said. “We hope those groups working to provide any level/type of ‘basic, fundamental need’ to local residents would consider sharing their ideas and passion with our community of technologists. Code for Philly can bring the software, data, and design expertise to a given problem, but without help of in the field experts, we risk working on the wrong solutions or wrong problem!”

Register here

Code for Philly is no stranger to partnership-based, mission-driven event series: Last November, the all-volunteer group collaborated with the QUEST Community Engagement Project and Resolve Philadelphia for a North Philly-focused hackathon, and it worked with The Reentry Project the fall before to find solutions to problems associated with recidivism.

Projects: Code for Philly
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