150 Developers, Designers, and Artists Collaborate to Bolster Toronto Charities With New Tech

Nearly 150 developers, designers, and artists recently took part in Capital One Canada’s first-ever “Gift the Code” hackathon. From October 21 through 23, 24 teams developed open-source apps and chat bots, redesigned online donation forms, and overhauled website designs to benefit six Toronto-based charities that deal with technology challenges.

“This event represented collaborative, creative problem-solving at its best,” said Nathalie Clark, Managing Vice President of Capital One Canada. “It was incredible to see how quickly participants—many of whom were strangers on Friday [the 21st] could form teams and build innovative digital solutions in a single weekend.”

The 40-hour hackathon was held at BrainStation in Toronto.

“Some of the tools and solutions can be put to use immediately, solving several long-standing needs at Toronto non-profits, and we’re exploring how we can help expand on others so that they can put all of the good work to use in the future,” Clark added.

The event was hosted by Marc Saltzman, a local technology expert and media personality.

“This was an incredibly diverse and creative group of tech and design talent,” he said of the event afterward. “I was blown away by the innovative solutions that the teams created in 40 hours.”

All of the solutions created during Gift the Code  are available on public code repositories to allow for further development and will be made available at the Capital One Canada Hackathon Github account.

“The fact that all of the work is open source means that even more charitable organizations will be able to benefit from the genius of Gift the Code’s participants,” Saltzman added.

The six charities involved in the Capital One hackathon were Blake Boultbee, Holland Bloorview, Prosper Canada, Second Harvest, Toronto Pflag, and Women’s Habitat.

“In 40 short hours, we have gone from an organization without much of a digital presence to one who can now, with enthusiasm, point potential donors and those in need of our services in the direction of our brand new website,” said Rod Cohen, director of Blake Boultbee.

“The impact these solutions will have on our organization are huge, and drives home that it’s not always about the money but about thinking outside the box to achieve a common goal,” added Lina Almanzan, Resource Systems Manager for Women’s Habitat.

“These amazing teams worked together over 40 short hours and ultimately created something that we can actually use,” agreed Luke O’Connor, a developer for Holland Bloorview.

This post was sponsored by Capital One Canada.