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A local meetup group is using Amazon’s cybersecurity conference in Philly to raise money for tech nonprofits

Set for June 10 during AWS Re:Inforce, the RePhil happy hour will be a night of networking and raffles in Chinatown.

Philly ecommerce meetup during Philly Tech Week (Courtesy Tim Dodd)

Thousands of technologists will descend on the Philadelphia Convention Center next week to learn about the latest developments in cloud security — and maybe a bit about the city, too.

Re:Inforce is the annual cybersecurity conference of Amazon Web Services, commonly called AWS, and this year it’s landing in Philly. To take advantage of all the tech savvy visitors, some local organizers put together a community meetup event called RePhil to raise money for local tech nonprofits and show off the region to visiting conference goers.

“There’s going to be a lot of people outside of Philly, that if we can get to attend our event, will get to see how great Philly is,” Tim Dodd, local technologist and RePhil organizer, told Technical.ly. “They’re already gonna be in town. Why not show off Philly to those people that are visiting the city?”

The local June 10 event targets technologists interested in data and AI, as well as tech and business leaders, members of city government and people looking to get into tech. Organizers hope to see around 200 attendees, Dodd said.

RePhil will donate all proceeds to local tech nonprofits

AWS Re:Inforce will include three days of speakers, panels, workshops, professional development and more, all with the underlying theme of navigating generative AI. A full conference pass costs $1,099.

RePhil, on the other hand, does things a little differently. The event is a networking opportunity and chance to learn about some of the tech focused nonprofits in the city. In addition to conference attendees, organizers hope to see local meetup members, tech leaders and people involved with nonprofits at the event.

Tickets are donation based. Outside of operating costs, the rest of the money the event brings in will be donated to five local nonprofits. Those organizations – Inspiring Tech Foundation, Coded by Kids, Tech Impact, HopeWorks and STEM So(ul)ial – will all be in attendance at the event.

All five give back to local workforce development, inclusivity in tech, education or related causes. The Inspiring Tech Foundation, founded by longtime tech advocate Gloria Bell, supports the national Women in Tech Summit. Coded by Kids is a tech education nonprofit for youth. Tech Impact and Hopeworks are both tech workforce training organizations and STEM So(ul)ial is a networking group for Black STEM professionals.

A chance to bring back local, in-person get togethers

While doing what they can for a good cause, people at RePhil also have a chance to win prizes. Attendees will get a “passport” when they arrive. The first 100 people to get stamps from visiting all of the nonprofit and sponsor tables will win a $10 gift card.

RePhil will take place at Bar-Ly Chinatown and you can buy tickets and donate here. The event is sponsored by CBS Consulting, Qlik and NetApp.

With the resurgence of tech meetups post pandemic, groups like the Philly ecommerce meetup and the Philly Data and AI meetup have been trying to bring back regular events.  Dodd said he hopes RePhil serves as another forum for people to return to in-person networking.

“We’re trying as individuals and also the community to just get more recognition of what Philly’s doing,” Dodd said. “That’s an achievable goal if we all put our heads together.”

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: AWS

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