Hacking for Good - Capital One Canada's Gift the Code Hackathon Delivers Apps, Chat bots and Overhauled Website Designs in Support of Toronto-based Charities

Digital and design talent donate their time and expertise during Capital One Canada's first-ever hackathon

TORONTO, Oct. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - From October 21-23, 141 developers, designers and UI/UX artists took part in Capital One Canada's first-ever "Gift the Code" hackathon. Over the course of 40 continuous hours of coding, 24 teams developed open-source apps, chat bots, redesigned online donation forms, overhauled website designs and more to help six Toronto-based charities deal with technology challenges they face as smaller, charitable organizations.

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

Participants were invited to sign up as teams or form groups on-site at the event opening at BrainStation Toronto on Friday, October 21. Of the 141 participants, 31 per cent were female, more than double the typical rate according to hackathon organizer, Hackworks Inc.

The event was hosted by technology expert, author and media personality, Marc Saltzman. He also joined other technology experts and representatives from the six partner charities to judge the digital solutions that were created by participating teams. Teams received themed badges to recognize their achievements.

"This was an incredibly diverse and creative group of tech and design talent. I was blown away by the innovative solutions that the teams created in 40 hours," said Marc Saltzman. "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." 

All 24 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 Hackathon Github account.  The following are examples of digital solutions that were created to tackle the challenges that the partnering charities face:

  • Blake Boultbee is a community-based outreach service providing counselling, therapy and life skills training to high-risk youth and families in low-income areas of east Toronto. The organization received a full redesign of its website and chat bot capabilities for its new social media pages.

  • Holland Bloorview is Canada's largest children's rehabilitation hospital focused on improving the lives of kids with disabilities. Teams digitized its patient feedback and research process, making it easier for children with disabilities to provide feedback on their care to doctors and researchers.

  • Prosper Canada is a charity dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for Canadians living in poverty through program and policy innovation. One team developed a method to help users track their expenditures by distributing visualized spending data to them through an online messenger.

  • Second Harvest is the largest food rescue program in Canada. Teams digitized its annual raffle competitions to aid with donor communications and customer relationship management processes.

  • Toronto Pflag is a fully volunteer-run, charitable organization that provides support, education and advocacy for families, friends and allies of LGBTQ individuals. Teams developed an online hub for volunteers, enabling the organization to pull analytics on their support and organize volunteers into an anonymous chat system for new families looking for information and support on LGBTQ issues.

  • Women's Habitat is an organization that provides shelter and support services to women and their children who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, financial and/or spiritual violence. Teams developed chat systems with a hidden digital footprint that allow women in crisis to connect with volunteers and find aid, while helping to reduce the fear of being discovered by their abuser.

To learn more about the Gift the Code Hackathon, visit: giftthecode.ca or follow #GiftheCode on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

About Capital One Canada
With offices in Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo and Montreal, Capital One Canada has been offering Canadian consumers a range of competitive Mastercard credit cards since 1996. We challenge ourselves to see the world through the eyes of our customers, so we can deliver the market-leading credit products and exceptional service they're looking for. Capital One Canada is a division of Capital One Bank, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE: COF). To learn more visit: www.capitalone.ca  

SOURCE Capital One Canada

Image with caption: "Participants of the Capital One Canada Gift the Code hackathon showcase the apps they created for Second Harvest over 40 hours of coding, October 21-23. Over 30 per cent of hackathon participants were female, more than double the typical rate according to Hackworks Inc. (Photo Credit: Ryan Emberley) (CNW Group/Capital One Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20161025_C3716_PHOTO_EN_803577.jpg

For further information: Media Contacts: Sandra DeCarvalho, Capital One Canada, 647-242-6768, sandra.decarvalho@capitalone.com; Sybil Eastman, DDB Public Relations, 647-975-7927, sybil.eastman@can.ddbpr.com


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