Happy 3rd Birthday, Code for Boston!

| Kristen Weber, Harlan Weber

2015-02-21 10.17.15
Photo: Ethan Bagley, www.ebadvising.com

Last month marked the third birthday of Code for Boston. Three years ago, we had our very first meeting as part of Code for America‘s nascent Brigade program, which had the audacious goal of harnessing high-tech volunteers and bringing them together with government and municipal groups to build a community around civic technology and citizen engagement.

In the time since, Code for Boston has partnered with a wide variety of municipal, community, and private sector organizations on events, apps, policy initiatives, and more. Together with those partners, we’ve produced an amazing body of work in these three years: We’ve launched the award-winning MBTA.Ninja, the Finda mapping platform, Ungentry@MBTA_alerts, and several other apps; built a vibrant community of 2000+ Meetup members; held six major civic hackathons and 150+ weekly hack nights; helped support a Code for America Fellowship team in Somerville; worked with Cambridge on their open data ordinance; and placed five Code for Boston members into civic tech jobs.

We are both immensely proud of the work we’ve accomplished, and extremely humbled by the support we’ve received from our collaborators here in the Boston area: Municipal partners such as the cities of Somerville, Cambridge, and Boston; community groups like the Dudley Square Neighborhood Initiative, YouthHub Boston, and Food for Free, and private sector companies like Microsoft New England and Zipcar have all provided us with the data, event space, funding, and engaged partnerships that have allowed us to push forward. It’s been our absolute pleasure to work together as we’ve forged a new type of collaboration between government, citizen, and community.

Code for Boston wouldn’t be where we are today without each of those organizations, and our amazing, incredible volunteers who devote so much of their time and creativity to solving civic issues through technology. Together, we’ve shown that technology can be an amazing force for true social good, and we’ve demonstrated to the country what an incredible place the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is for civic innovation. It’s been an amazing journey for us as a volunteer-run, grassroots organization, and we’re excited for what the future will bring.

This coming weekend, on Saturday Nov 21, we look to continue addressing critical civic issues by kicking off our first-ever #HackWinter App Challenge, as a response to last year’s brutal winter weather. A three-and-a-half week app challenge, #HackWinter will bring technologists together to focus on winter-specific problems that face our region in the areas of Transit, Infrastructure, and Community. We took a crack at this last year at February’s CodeAcross hackathon, which produced MBTA.Ninja. But this time, we wanted to get to work on some of these projects before the first snowfall, and we have some great challenge statements coming from the MBTA and local public works departments as well as community groups, public health agencies, and more.

The #HackWinter Kickoff event is free, and registration information can be found at our Eventbrite page. Participants are also encouraged to participate remotely on our DevPost site. Additionally, Code for Boston weekly hack nights – held every Tuesday at CIC from 7-10pm – are open for participants to work on their projects, and for anyone interested in learning about civic technology more generally.

It’s been a great three years of collaboration, community-building, and civic hacking for us at Code for Boston. We’re looking forward to many more.

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