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Miami Tech prepares to Hack for Good this weekend to solve some of city’s toughest challenges (and you’re invited!)

Submitted By Refresh Miami

HackforgoodThree of Miami’s most prominent tech organizations are setting out to make an impact on their community. Tech and entrepreneurship organization Refresh Miami, Florida’s top code school Wyncode Academy, and Code for America brigade Code for Miami have joined forces to organize the first annual Hack-For-Good hackathon, taking place March 4th to 6th at The LAB Miami in Wynwood. The purpose of the event is to pair local nonprofits and charities with the city’s top “hackers” (programmers, designers, creators and business leaders) to build solutions to their toughest challenges through the use of technology.

Over forty Miami charities submitted applications, which were narrowed down to just five finalists.

The selected nonprofits include:

  • Make the Homeless Smile Miami, which aims to heal disenfranchised communities by treating them with dignity, empowering them with knowledge and providing them with access.
  • Apretaste, whose mission is to connect underdeveloped countries to the web free of charge and open them up to a whole world of opportunities.
  • Miami Dade Animal Services, which saves the lives of abandoned animals and helps reunite lost pets with their owners.
  • Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, a group dedicated to tropical plant diversity and inspiring a greater knowledge and love for plants and gardening.
  • Switchboard, an organization that counsels, connects and empowers people in need through their more than 15 specialty phone lines, which include free and confidential telephone counseling, crisis intervention, suicide intervention, and more.

The hackathon offers exciting cash and prizes for the top three projects created over the weekend that best solve the issues presented by the charities. The event’s headline sponsor is the Knight Foundation with space donated by The LAB Miami. Local companies LiveNinja, OpenEnglish, MadChiller, Lemon City Tea and Concrete Beach will also be onsite providing hackers with some much need fuel and support to keep them going throughout the three-day event.

With Miami’s 2011 distinction as the least civically engaged city in the country by The National Conference on Citizenship still fresh in their minds, the organizers hope this initiative will remove some of this stigma associated with the Magic City. “This event is all about building real tools that help local nonprofits make an even bigger impact on the lives of Miami residents”, said Maria Derchi Russo, Director of Operations for Refresh Miami. “We also hope it will inspire residents to get more actively involved in their community and help make a difference”.

“For Wyncode Academy, we couldn't be more excited about helping Miami’s charities solve their problems using technology and are expecting a huge number of our students, alumni and hiring partners to take part” Juha Mikkola, Wyncode’s co-founder, said. “Miami has incredible developers who can build the tools that will make a real impact to these organizations right away, and we hope that this hackathon will also promote more people to take the leap and learn to code when they see what’s possible”.

Danielle Ungermann, community and events coordinator for Code for Miami, adds “We’re pleased to see how far South Florida has come in pushing forward and supporting civic initiatives like the Miami-Dade open data portal, which launched during last year’s CodeAcross event. We only hope that this weekend’s community-wide collaboration will continue to grow and extend outside of this event to show just how much can be achieved through the cross pollination of different communities and industries.”

Participation in the event is free and those interested can register here.

Wyncode Academy is Florida’s top code school, with campuses in Wynwood, FATvillage in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami Beach, teaching coding in a full time and intensive boot camp environment. With 186 graduates, 65 companies that have hired a Wyncoder and a 90% placement rate within 3 months of graduation, Wyncode believes they can teach anyone to code, provided they have the desire to do so.

Refresh Miami is Florida’s largest technology and entrepreneurship organization with over 9,000 members. Their mission is to foster innovation and growth of the tech community through a steady stream of educational content and networking opportunities. Their monthly events draw between 300-400 attendees and cover various topics on emerging trends and how to successfully run and grow a startup.

Code For Miami, a Code for America Brigade, is a group of civic hackers (designers, developers, data scientists, urbanists and community organizers) who contribute their talents toward improving the way the community interacts with local government by advocating for open data and using it to create apps and shared resources. In support of Open Data Day, a gathering of citizens in cities around the world to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analyses using open public data to show support for the adoption of open data policies by the world's local governments, this event is a Code for America CodeAcross event.