You can be part of Fundación Banco Popular’s efforts for a better Puerto Rico through your financial contribution or by giving of your time to do volunteer work.
Technology can become an ideal tool to help nonprofit organizations find volunteers, have greater visibility in the community and communicate their work.
With this objective in mind, more than 100 hackers, programmers, designers, technology experts and students participated in Hackea por una Causa (Hack for a Cause), the only hackathon in Puerto Rico devoted to developing technologies intended to help nonprofit organizations and disadvantaged communities.
The goal: 24 hours to develop a technological prototype to deal with challenges like recruitment, volunteer conversion and monitoring, visibility within the community and fundraising. The organizations were divided into teams and they created 10 solutions; three of them received awards that will make it possible to complete a final product.
The winning apps were evaluated according to their technical difficulty, applicability, functionality and innovation.
The first-place winner was Brigaid, a virtual market-type app that connects volunteers with institutions looking for people with specific talents.
The winning team received $3,000 as well as a $12,500 professional services contract with us at Fundación Banco Popular, professional counseling and access to a co-working space at the Collaboration and Social Innovation Community (CCIS, by its Spanish acronym) within our headquarters in Hato Rey.
“The outcome exceeded our expectations. It serves to evidence the young talent available on the Island, people who are willing to collaborate with good causes. We proved that when people come together and share knowledge and experiences, many problems can be solved in just 24 hours. I think this is a metaphor for the challenges Puerto Rico is facing,” said Hackea por una Causa producer Jorge Besú.
A solution with real impact
“For our team it was very interesting to use technology to solve a real problem. Brigaid’s main idea came from our volunteer experiences. In the past we got in touch with nonprofit organizations to offer our volunteer work, but they already had help,” explained John Anderson, a Brigaid programmer who participated in the hackathon with his wife Jessica, who is also a coding expert.
The development team also includes Josué Cardona and Marlyn Martínez, graphic designers with their own design studio. They met John and Jessica during the event.
“We are designers, not programmers, and this is our first time at an event of this nature. We didn’t know what to expect. The experience was incredible! We wanted to unite design concepts with a concrete solution that could be applied towards social good”, Marlyn added.
“We challenged all hackathon participants to use their talent to provide nonprofits and community leaders with a much-needed boost. We see Hackea por una Causa participants as technology ambassadors to make social change,” explained Beatriz Polhamus, our executive director.
Last year, the winning prototype at the first Hackea por una causa was Connect Relief, an app that facilitates post-disaster aid and resources coordination. More than 4,000 organizations and public agencies used this solution after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.