Civic News
Data / Hackathons / Municipal government

Help Code for DC with these 14 civic hacking projects

The group continues to welcome new members to its twice-a-month meetings. We check in on how it all got started — and what Code for DC hackers have been working on recently.

Cofounder Leah Bannon speaking at a recent Cod for DC meetup. (Photo by Lalita Clozel)

Founded by government employees Matt Bailey, Justin Grimes and Leah Bannon, Code for DC has a distinctly self-aware bent.
When the local Code for America brigade first convened in October 2012, Grimes had a question for those who showed up — “do you engage civically?” — and some homework.
“Most of them didn’t know the ward they were living in,” he said. So Grimes instructed them to find their local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, the hyperlocal branch of D.C. government.
Easier said than done, explained Steven Reilly. “The information is all over the place.” So he led a team to create ANC Finder, a tool now recommended on the DC Board of Ethics and Government Accountability website.

code for dc

Steven Reilly, in red and blue stripes, at a recent Code for DC meetup. (Photo by Lalita Clozel)

Code for DC was later approached by community group Bread for the City to streamline the subsidized housing application process. That project is still in the works. “We need people who are deeply fascinated about PDFs,” said Marcus Louie, who is spearheading it.
On Aug. 13, about a third of the approximately fifty attendees who crowded into Impact Hub DC, a shared workspace for startups, were newcomers — many with little coding experience.
“Everybody’s, like, wicked smart here,” said Liz Haney, 25, who started attending in July, because “I want to learn more about just coding,” she said.
That’s also part of the spirit at Code for DC, said Grimes, a statistician at the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We rarely have guest lecturers,” he said. “We’re either teaching or training people. We’re building something.”
Code for DC has also shed some of its initial virility, thanks to Bannon, a product manager at 18F, the U.S. General Services Administration’s open-data jack-of-all-trades. At first, she said, she was usually “the only woman to show up.”
In December 2013, she created the DC TechLady Hackathon, which attracted more than 100 local tech-savvy women. Many have become Code for DC regulars.
Code for DC convenes on the second Wednesday and third Tuesday of each month.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of projects they need help with. Lend a hand:

  • Code for DC Guides
  • Mayor’s Schedule Archive
  • Affordable Housing
  • ANC Finder
  • Code for DC Website
  • Emergency Response Times
  • Open 211
  • Community Gardens Visualization
  • Education
  • Code of Conduct
  • CaBi Odds (average availability at Capital Bikeshare stations)
  • Metro Metrics
  • Street Tree Map
  • Wikipolicy
Companies: Bread for the City / Civic Tech DC

Before you go...

Please consider supporting to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!


How to encourage more healthcare entrepreneurship (and why that matters)

Howard University’s Black Commerce Conference doubles in size for its return on Juneteenth

Find out what type of heat wave you’re really in for with NOAA’s HeatRisk dashboard

How AI can revolutionize education's quest for truth

Technically Media