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TechnologyNov 02, 2016

OpenGive: Hacking for the Community

Allison Kingsley

“The more you give, the more you want to give. Generosity is contagious.” This quote was exemplified this past weekend at the Houston Food Bank Conference Center as a group of volunteers gathered to perform a different kind of service project than the building was used to hosting. This group was there to hack—to hack for humanity.

The Credera Houston office coordinated the inaugural OpenGive event Oct. 20 through Saturday, Oct. 22. OpenGive is a hackathon focused on building world-class software using open-source technologies that aims to make a substantial difference in how nonprofits execute their mission.

The idea for OpenGive was sparked by two things that matter most to us at Credera: our people and our community. We have always emphasized investing our time, talent, and resources into people and programs where we live and work. Through OpenGive, we wanted to provide the technology community in Houston with an opportunity to utilize their skills to create valuable solutions for three deserving nonprofits in our local community.

Below are the three projects included in Houston’s 2016 OpenGive:

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation

The mission of the The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation is to improve the quality of life for Houston residents of all ages through the power of literacy—the ability to read, write, speak clearly, and think critically.

Project: My Home Library

This solution will help children in need to build home libraries and improve literacy in Houston by connecting children from low-income households with donors through the following features:

  • Database of available books for children to select in their library wish list.

  • Donation portal where donors can view, select and sponsor a home library.

  • Automated book ordering process to fulfill the sponsored home library.

Living Water International

Living Water International exists to demonstrate the love of God by helping communities acquire desperately needed clean water and experience “living water”—the gospel of Jesus Christ—which alone satisfies the deepest thirst.

Project: Thirst Gauge

The app will compare a person’s daily water usage to the value of that water in developing countries to highlight the significance of Living Water’s work. The app navigates the user through a journey with the following features:

  • Intro screens to capture the user’s attention and set the stage for the calculation.

  • A series of questions to determine the user’s personal daily water usage.

  • Comparison screen depicting how far the daily water usage would go in a developing country.

  • Optional donation screen.

Pain Is Power

Pain Is Power inspires at-risk youth and the communities they live in by providing exposure and access to powerful educational, cultural, and career-related experiences that will transform their lives.

Project: Membership Portal

The new portal will encourage greater volunteer participation and simplify the donation process through the following features:

  • Membership forms created with Gravity Forms and integrated through WordPress.

  • Administration features for greater ability to manage and utilize the site.

  • Updated CSS website features to create a better user experience (including a home page redesign).

OpenGive in Action

We kicked off the event with a happy hour. Our volunteers, nonprofits, and Credera hosts were able to meet face to face and learn more about the heart behind OpenGive, as well as the three projects that would be executed during the event. The energy levels were high and it was a great opportunity to meet everyone in a casual environment before getting down to business.

Friday served as a remote workday to allow the volunteers to set up the project environment on their computers and ensure everything was in place to hit the ground running when we opened our doors on Saturday. That proved to be insightful as volunteers started rolling in bright and early around 8 a.m. with computers in hand and a determination to make a difference for the nonprofit they were assigned to. Everyone quickly settled into their workstations and we were off to the races.

Nonprofit representatives stopped by during the afternoon to check on progress, provide feedback around design decisions, and encourage the volunteers that what they were working on truly would drive their mission forward. The day seemed to fly by as teams collaborated and even participated in some cross-team feedback. However, it wasn’t all work and no play. From volunteer generated playlists to streaming football games to a midafternoon popsicle break, we found ways to have fun while we worked toward our goals.

The end of the day was capped off with a closing ceremony to celebrate all that was achieved throughout the event. Nonprofit representatives spoke on their organization’s mission and how their specific project solution would help them achieve their vision. The project directors demonstrated their working solutions and everyone was impressed by what was accomplished in so little time. While the bulk of the work was completed during the event, the three projects will undergo a final round of quality assurance testing by Credera before being deployed.

Generosity is Contagious

This event simply started as an idea and never could have come to fruition without the partnership of our nonprofits, volunteers, and sponsors. This idea was contagious, and we are incredibly thankful our partners saw the value in it and jumped on board. Together, we were able to create something great for deserving nonprofits and the communities they serve. The inaugural installment of OpenGive was a success, but the opportunities are limitless. We look forward to further partnerships with the community to see what more good we can accomplish through OpenGive events.

life at credera

We’re “open-sourcing” the Credera culture in a series called Life at Credera. We are sharing an authentic perspective on what we are learning and where we are growing. We are talking about friendships and fungrowth, higher purpose, talent and character, leadership, and communication.

We hope this series is a helpful resource on the continuous pursuit of a great culture. And we hope the results are encouraging to our company, employees, clients, and friends.

Looking for more? Check out these great Life at Credera perspectives: