This year’s Open Data Challenge at 1313 Innovation featured a major new incentive: $17,500 in grant money from the Delaware Department of State.
The winning team, Community Coders, was awarded $12,500 ($5,000 went to the runners up) on June 4, the final day of the hackathon. The team was made up of five coders: Mikaila Akeredolu, Kyle McLaughlin, Molly Arant, Vidya Chandrasekhar and Jennifer McGinty.
Since many coders enter by themselves, the group connected during the open floor on the first day of the hackathon. Each of the nine teams had a choice of two coding challenges utilizing public data — one for Network Delaware and one for The Food Bank of Delaware.
The theme for the challenge was “Access to Hope Through Innovation.”
“We’ve made ripples in the community for doing just that — giving citizens access to hope,” said Erin Z. Young, a comms strategist and member of Network Delaware, the organization that Community Coders chose for its challenge. (Network Delaware, a coalition of community organizers, leaders and activists who help other community members make a difference locally, was the winner of the Technology Forum of Delaware’s 2017 Idea Challenge.)
Community Coders’ team leader, Mikaila Akeredolu, is a developer at Comcast who, along with two of his teammates, attended Zip Code Wilmington.
“With the portal we’re working on, people will be able to go to the site with an idea — say they want to provide homeless people with water — and it will connect you to resources that will help make it happen,” Akeredolu said.
Over the next months, Community Coders and Network Delaware will use the grant money to make the portal happen.
“We hope the platform becomes a leading destination for anyone who wants to actively participate in bringing about change in their communities, whether that’s through organizing a project, volunteering on a team, or donating to support a cause,” said Network Delaware’s Young.
And their goals don’t stop there. “If we can ensure tangible results, then the hope would be to scale the platform so other cities and states can benefit from this community-led model as well,” she said.
For more information about The Open Data Challenge, go to opendatachallenge.com.