"Hack For Change" Produces Neighborly Results

Developers are marching forward and hacking their way to create solutions for issues that they care about. Recent weeks have seen a number of hackathons where developers come together, meet up and hack the night away sometimes for up to 24 hours at a stretch to create initial versions of their applications. And if the theme for the hackathon is one that could change lives for some of us, then the effort is more noteworthy. Hack For Change saw more than 50 developers and designers create 17 useful applications that could actually do a lot of good as they develop further, including the winner, a group messaging app for neighbors built on the Twilio API.

The first prize winner was Good Neighbor, an application written by Brent Fitzgerald and Huned Botee, which sends text messages to your neighbors when any of them needs some help with a task or errand.  The application is simple and effective. Simply sign up with your phone number and zip and you are set to either send messages asking for help or receive.

There were two runner-ups in the contest. FindMeAPet, another SMS app that notifies you when any dog arrives at a nearby animal shelter and is up for adoption. An excellent way to bring home someone, who might otherwise get put to sleep. The other runner up was AnonyMouse, that aims to connect people looking for anonymous help. The initial target segment for this site will be LGBT individuals with mentors.

For a full list of applications, refer to the HackForChange blog. Some of these applications are in initial stages and barely working, but that is understandable since they had to get it all going in 24 hours.

The winners received a total of $10,000 as seed funding to take their applications forward. Source repositories for the applications are available. We are fairly confident that we will hear more about some of these applications in the days to come.

Be sure to read the next Events article: API Hackday Hits Portland July 30