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Looking Back at Computer Science Education Week 2016


Last week, we joined a revolution as Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) launched worldwide, inspiring students to incorporate CS education into their daily lives. We celebrated by sharing stories like David Delmar’s Resilient Coders, uplifting others through the power of education, and by participating in Hour of Code events throughout the New England area.

Meanwhile, our community engaged on the same level, hosting Hour of Code events at Boston Public Schools and beyond. We’re thrilled to see our neighbors committed to the future of education, honoring the importance of computer science for all.

A look at local celebrations of CSEdWeek:

Find out more about #hourofcode here: hourofcode.com/us.

Coding Outside the Classroom — Resilient Coders’ David Delmar on Making Change


Resilient Coders founder David Delmar (right) with alumni Brian at the MassTLC Awards.

There’s a big difference between talking about making a difference and actually making a change.

Resilient Coders (RC)— a nonprofit based out of the CIC in Boston that teaches underserved, at-risk, and super smart young people to code — is a program that is actually making change. The program takes kids from diverse backgrounds, teaches them to code, and gives them opportunities to work in tech — opportunities that they may not have otherwise.

RC hand-picks students from their coding boot camps to enter Resilient Labs, where they are paired with organizations that need services, like websites. We’re talking taking kids from correctional facilities, urban neighborhoods, and low-income families, and training them to build websites from scratch for local schools, organizations, and mom & pop shops. Resilient Labs projects have led to internships and jobs for kids who may not have the resources available to them to break into the tech industry. RC is working to make tech more equitable by making tech jobs accessible to all.

“I have this belief that tech has a responsibility to go hand in hand with social progress,” David Delmar, founder of Resilient Codes, told MSNE. “We have lost touch with that ethos, that sense of responsibility.”

“I personally am allergic to talk. I’m so over it.”

Delmar got the idea to start his program at a giant tech conference in Texas, circa 2008. He looked around at the tens of thousands of people there and counted 14 African Americans. Brilliant technicians sat around talking about sophisticated solutions to trivial problems, like how to make an app that condensed tabs on your computer — he couldn’t believe how disconnected these people were from the problems that really needed solving. They were talking behind closed doors, not getting out to the places that actually need help.

“When I counted maybe 14 people of color out of 10s of thousands. That’s a real problem. That’s an actual problem. I started trying to code my way out of it,” Delmar said. “But It’s not a software problem. It is a people problem. It is a roll up your sleeves and get in there problem.”

Resilient Coders is full of stories of kids who came from difficult backgrounds, and through the program, were able to turn their lives around and reach inspiring heights in the tech space. One of those kids is Brian.

Brian immigrated to the US with his mother and sister from Mexico. The turning point in his life that led him to Resilient Coders was during his freshman year at Northeastern, when his family was suddenly evicted by a developer in East Boston. Though he was doing really well in school, the incident led Brian to drop out of college.

“I realized that a piece of paper had more power than everything. A piece of paper can take you out of your own home,” Brian explained in an interview with Be Visible. “I also realized that the only way to feel empowered was to find a way, a career path that was stable. I wasn’t finding that in college… I felt like it was going to take too long for me to actually have a sustainable career if I followed the traditional route. And I just wasn’t fulfilled.”

Then he found Resilient Coders and learned to code through their after school boot camps. Brian quickly moved from being temporarily uprooted to redesigning the website for the Boston Public Market, and is now a front-end apprentice with Fresh Tilled Soil, one of the most prestigious design agencies in Boston. Brian is also a mentor for Resilient Coders, and helps other kids learn HTML, CSS, Javascript, and UX Design — embodying their mission of doing — actively teaching coding to underrepresented communities.


Brian and David hugging at the MassTLC Awards 2016 after David won the Distinguished Leadership Award.

The day after the election, Brian came in to Resilient Coders, and was totally ashen-faced. He approached Delmar and said, “Del, I feel like my mother has worked so hard to set me and my sisters up in this country, and this country that I love has just told me that I’m not welcome here.”

He and Brian’s conversation led them to start a program called #CommitResilience, which is an invitation for people to do something about hate crimes by promoting inclusion and peace. On the Commit Resilience website, you can share commitments you’re making to make your world more accessible to members of disenfranchised communities.

“If you’re mad, good. Be mad. But do something with it. Be productively mad,” Delmar said to Brian and to MSNE. “If you want to protest, go ahead, do so. But you can also protest with the very nature of your own success.”

“Be exactly the type of person who people out there think you cannot be. Be someone who contributes meaningfully to society. Who works to give others access to the American Dream, even to the people who don’t believe that you have access to it yourself.”

To the tech community, Delmar has the same message. “I have companies come up to me all the time asking how they can help and I say: stop talking and take action. Hire these kids.”

“I really need you to rethink what it will take to address the diversity crisis, and to be open to the possibility that you and your company might not be doing anything about it right now. Even if you think you are,” Delmar wrote in an opinion piece for The Boston Globe. “I need you to think differently about a problem we’ve consistently failed to solve.”

Read The White House’s recent blog featuring Brian here. Watch the below video by MassTLC, featuring both David and Brian. And head to resilientcoders.org to hire some of the brightest programmers around. 

Drive Digital Literacy This Computer Science Education Week With The Hour of Code


Every December, something special happens for students around the world. Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), held annually in December in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Grace Hopper (December 9, 1906), is a grassroots campaign dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. The campaign, originally conceived by the Computing in the Core coalition, is now spearheaded by Code.org alongside 350 partners and 100,000 educators worldwide.

MA Computer Science Stats

Stats via Code.org

This year, CSEdWeek runs from December 5, 2016 through December 11, 2016, and we’re ready to once again be on board. With over 500,000 open computing jobs nationwide — despite the fact that only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce in 2016 — we’re ready to engage the next generation of coders and drive innovation throughout the world. In fact, just this year, the state of Massachusetts, worked alongside STEM education group MassCAN to develop voluntary Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards for MA high schools. But that’s just the first step. Computer science is a foundational skill and it’s up to us to ensure that every 21st century child gets the chance to learn how technology works.

So how do we get this done?

The centerpiece of CSEdWeek lies within a program devised by Code.org named the Hour of Code. An Hour of Code is a basic coding tutorial that new coders of all ages — and over 45 languages — can use to begin their journey in computer science. In over 180 countries, 305,078,080 students have performed an Hour of Code since its inception. It’s time to add to this total.

This CSEdWeek, we’re inviting you to take the coding challenge: give a child the gift of computer science and join them in an Hour of Code.

Local Hour of Code programming this CSEdWeek at the Microsoft Store:

Youthspark Camp: Hour of Code

Join us for this free, 90-minute workshop to take part in the global Hour of Code movement during Computer Science Education Week. Go behind the scenes to learn how to code, program, and play in your own gaming world. You’ll use fun, interactive coding to learn how creativity and problem solving come together to make something all your own. Workshop designed for ages 8 and older.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 | 5:00 PM

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 | 5:00 PM

Thursday, December 8, 2016 | 5:00 PM

Microsoft New England Picks: Not-To-Miss Events This December


We smell snow… and lots of tech events in and around Boston! Join us this December to come together and celebrate the past, present, and future of civic tech — no ghosts of civic tech past, though…

December 3 

The Future of the People conference

Envisioning how science & technology impact the human body, mind, and society at MIT Media Lab.

December 5

Boston Public Schools Hour of Code Kick Off at Roxbury Innovation Center

Boston Public Schools and Roxbury Innovation Center in collaboration with Microsoft New England and the Timothy Smith Network are kicking off Hour of Code for BPS students in grades 6 thru 12.
The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching over 100 million students in more than 180 countries.

Code Girl screening at HubSpot

In celebration of Computer Science Education Week we invite you to join us on December 5th for a movie screening of CodeGirl, a documentary that follows high-school girls from around the globe as they break into technology and programming. Groups of young women build innovations to improve their communities in a competition, Technovation Challenge, designed to empower and propel girls into STEM fields.

December 5-11

MassTLC Education Foundation: Visit a Boston Public School for Computer Science Education Week

Inspire Boston Middle and High School students to try coding and learn more about computer science. During Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11, the MassTLC Education Foundation is partnering with Code.org and the Boston Public Schools to bring technology companies into classrooms.


  • Help teachers with coding lessons.
  • Share your enthusiasm with students.
  • Volunteer just one hour.

December 6

TechGen + GA Present: Intro to the Boston Innovation Economy

Intro to the Boston Innovation Economy is your chance as a student or newcomer to kickstart your career at an innovative tech company. We’re introducing you to the Boston’s top recruiters to give you the skinny on being a star candidate. We are also inviting young professionals from some of the top companies in Boston to join us after the talk to mingle and share their journey into their current roles.

Boston TechBreakfast: Unigma, Cookin, Shuflix, Kaminario

Interact with your peers in a monthly morning breakfast meetup at Microsoft New England. At this monthly breakfast get-together techies, developers, designers, and entrepreneurs share learn from their peers through show and tell / show-case style presentations. And yes, this is free! Thank our sponsors when you see them 🙂

Codess Boston — Think Big

Codess is coming to Boston! You’re invited to network and hear from an inspiring panel of senior technical women at Towne Stove & Spirits at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6. One lucky attendee will also win a Surface Book by sharing their experience using #CodessEvent. The event will be a great chance to meet new people, learn from one another, and empower each other to think big every day!

December 6-7

Smart Cities Summit

The only 2-day Smart Cities event, where you’ll meet stakeholders from the public & private-sector ecosystems to help tomorrow’s cities face the challenges of growing urban populations with the latest IoT technology.

December 7

BostInno’s 50 on Fire

Join BostInno at our year-end awards celebration recognizing the city’s inventors, disruptors, luminaries, and newsmakers across all industries. It’s the hottest event of the year, and it’s back!

Social Innovation Forum’s 13th Annual Winter Reception

We invite our community of investors, supporters, and portfolio organizations to join us for the formal announcement of the 2017 Social Innovators and a celebration of the achievements of our portfolio organizations! The evening will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and celebration. We look forward to raising a glass to each of you – our incredible community of leaders, friends, volunteers and supporters.

December 8

TechInMotion’s End of the Year Celebration

This December, join Tech in Motion for an unforgettable celebration of the people and organizations driving innovation in Boston and beyond. Tech in Motion’s End of Year Celebration is a can’t-miss opportunity to network with 3,000+ tech professionals and enthusiasts across our 11 chapters. We’re celebrating everything we love about this community!

Join us December 8th for an evening of cocktails and keynotes. We’ll toast to the year we’ve had and share in our excitement over what’s to come in 2017.

The StartUp Institute: Find a Job You Love

Join Program Director Rich Di Tieri at our Boston campus to learn how Startup Institute can help you land a job you’ll be passionate about. Hear about how our program will catapult you into the growing innovation economy in the areas of web development, web design, digital marketing, or sales and account management. We’ll give you insight into our unique methodology and answer your questions about coursework, partnerships, instructors, alumni engagements, and success rates of our graduates.

December 10

Build a Bot Hackathon @ PLUG

We are thrilled to host our first Hackathon @ PLUG! Join us for a 24-hour adventure of coding and having some fun. We’re providing food and drinks and you’re providing your awesome selves. The event is completely free for all participants and $20 for any audience members.

MassTLC Education Foundation: Technovation 2017: Kickoff & Orientation

Interested in taking part in the Technovation Challenge? Come to the Kickoff for the 2017 Technovation Season! Get the info, find a team, and start working on ideas! You don’t need to have a team, an idea, or any experience at all! Just bring your interest & energy and discover more about Technovation.

December 10-11

Museum of Science Computer Science Education weekend

Join the Museum in celebrating Computer Science Education Week, observed each year in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992).

We are marking the occasion with our own roster of fun and educational hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. Participate in a variety of do-it-yourself projects at Tech Studio carts during the week and engage in a wide range of computer science activities throughout the Museum during the celebration’s culmination — Computer Science Education Weekend.

Students at AMSA Charter School Delve Into Complex Cybersecurity Issues

Local governments in New England are committed to teaching computer science to student of all ages. Recently, Governor Raimondo of Rhode Island shared that computer science would be taught in all K-12 classes, raising the bar for technology education and challenging other states across the county to provide students with the skills they need to be successful in tomorrow’s economy.

“Our kids deserve the best opportunities in the 21st century tech-driven economy, so we need to do everything we can to help them get ahead by developing the skills that matter,” Raimondo said. “Part of turning our economy around and creating jobs is making sure every student, at every level, has access to the new basic skill: computer science. Thanks to the partners we have assembled for this initiative, I know we can achieve this goal.”

Why can’t I get on Twitter today?

The Advanced Math and Science Academy (“AMSA”) Charter School in Marlborough, Massachusetts exemplifies the value of learning computer science from a young age. In a session, earlier this month, I had the opportunity to lead a discussion with Juniors and Seniors regarding current topics in Cyber Security. First we discussed the internet outage led by systematic attacks using unsecured Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices on DNS services. Everything from coffee pots to light bulbs are being designed for use in a networked environment, and many times connect directly to the internet with no security software or firewall. Conversations quickly turned to policy questions of if the government of the country where the IoT devices are manufactured should mandate security features or if it is the responsibility of the consumer protection laws in the country where the IoT Devices are ultimately sold.

Cyber warfare: what constitutes a war?

Joelle Jenny, Director of Security Policy and Conflict Prevention for the EU and a Fellow at the Harvard University Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, assisted in laying the framework for an in-depth discussion cyber warfare and how sovereign nations protect their interests, both in terms of defense and deterrence. Over the past year, Iran and Saudi Arabia have been documented as waging several computer-based attacks. Given the number of regional attacks, spending on cyber security in the Middle East alone is anticipated to be over $9 billion by 2019. Through a series of cyberattacks, the power grid of the Ukraine was knocked offline leaving 700,000 people without access to electricity. Per a NATO report, US-Israeli forces used a computer based attack to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program, shutting down centrifuges.

These high school students, with several years of computer science training already under their belts, began to discuss topics that are complex for most graduate students.

“What constitutes a cyber-attack by a sovereign power? Can a cyberattack be an act of war? What policies can be created to prevent such an attack? Which international governing bodies provide guidance on these issues?”

“AMSA has been a pioneer with Computer Science in the core curriculum,” said Padmaja Bandaru, a computer science educator at AMSA Charter School. “This brought accolades and recognition to AMSA in the community. Having Computer Science every year provides more flexibility and opportunities to try new programming tools and languages. The students are inquisitive by nature and are enthusiastic to learn more about real world situations and learn from listening to those experiences.”

Training in computer science not only prepares students for careers in STEM fields, but also for professions in technology policy, an area growing vastly more complex with the pace of technological advancement. Through the commitment of high schools, such as AMSA Charter School, we will see New England retain a competitive edge by the advancement of young people that are prepared for technological challenges not yet defined.

Michael ImpinkMichael Impink is a Senior Manager at Microsoft Corporation and is a Fellow at the Harvard University Weatherhead Center of International Affairs focusing on technology issues and business strategy in emerging markets.

Previewing TRANSFORM: A Conversation on Global Disruption and Local Transformation on Nov. 18

Despite the best of intentions, more often than not — and for the obvious reasons — business leaders have their heads down developing strategy, product, sales and other facets that keep their companies alive and prosperous.

But as companies begin to grow, there are so many other outside forces leaders must concede to: domestic and global economic outlooks, policies and regulations that focus on issues from trade to data governance to immigration reform, cross border security, corporate tax structures and more. We are at a crossroads, and it is now more than ever that the tech leaders must come together and problem solve as only they can. We are facing a very different landscape that can affect how businesses invest and operate.

Even leading up to this past election before there was a clear winner, issues such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), immigration reform, intellectual property reform and data privacy agreements were being acted upon in Congress.  Given the President-elect’s feelings about many of these issues, the tech community could find itself rethinking and retooling how it has been functioning over the past eight years.

Boston has some of the brightest minds in the world. In fact, the notion of Mass. Technology and Leadership Council‘s TRANSFORM was born from the realization that these brilliant people are sharing their insights all over the globe — so why not bring them together to talk about how these same issues are impacting them as individuals, employers and tech sector members here in the region?  

I often think of myself as extremely fortunate that as part of my job I have an opportunity to speak with and learn from so many of these brilliant minds. Just a few weeks back, I had a call with Joe Fuller from Harvard Business School who spent time talking about what his research has proven with respect to developing talent and a real pipeline for tech and how the automation of job functions has been developing. This seems like things you might read in the paper or hear others talk about, but his perspective was so fresh and different and, to be honest, very scary. His upcoming talk at TRANSFORM regarding what the workforce of 2025 will look like will be a not-to-miss.

I also spoke with Noel Zamot, the former commander of the U.S. Air Force’s Elite Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base (think Top Gun!). He went on to help secure weaponry for the Department of Defense. With his new company, Corvus Analytics, Noel has embarked on a way to secure both commercial and military airplane systems from being compromised.

These are just two of our exciting speakers, and at TRANSFORM on Nov. 18 at the Federal Reserve Boston from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Joe, Noel and 100 other brilliant minds will come together to talk more about the next generation workforce, securing our skies and many other critical issues facing tech today and beyond.

Innovation Reigns at the 2016 MassChallenge Awards


Photo: MassChallenge

Each year, we’re thrilled to support MassChallenge, the most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet, as it gathers its 128-startup cohort and cultivates support and collaboration throughout the startup ecosystem. This year, we supported five Civic Innovation Scholars, and watched with excitement as these startups — and their peers — worked to create great things in the startup community.

Last Wednesday, leaders, supporters, and fans of the startup community joined MassChallenge for its final awards ceremony of 2016, where over $1 million were awarded to the top startups in this year’s cohort. This year’s winners can be found here.

We’d like to extend our sincerest thanks to MassChallenge for including us in such a wonderful venture — we can’t wait to work with the 2017 cohort!

Some of the top tweets from this year’s MassChallenge Awards (#MCAwards16):

Microsoft New England Picks: Not-To-Miss Events This November


This November, we’re thankful for Civic Tech! Keep up-to-date as the holiday season kicks off with our top picks for events in civic tech, STEM, and more this month:

November 1-3 

Code for America Summit

The Code for America Summit is a roll-up-your-sleeves conference that brings together government innovators, civic-minded technologists, and entrepreneurs. It’ll be you and 1,200 of the most talented civic tech leaders taking over downtown Oakland, CA. Come with your passion for building a 21st-century government. Leave with the skills you need to do it.

We’ve put together a lineup of more than 200 speakers from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. They’re excited to share what’s working, what’s not, and what they’re learning along the way.

November 1

Future of Nature: Conservation’s Next Generation

With profound environmental challenges on the horizon, where will the leaders of conservation’s next generation come from, and what will they do?

Join us for a dynamic panel discussion exploring these questions and more. The panel will include:

  • Victor Medina, park ranger, National Park Service
    Charles Orgbon III, founder and CEO, Greening Forward
  • Brigitte Griswold, director of youth engagement programs, The Nature Conservancy
  • WBUR reporter Shannon Dooling will moderate.

We’ll kick off the event with a reception featuring sustainable, local refreshments.

November 1

Cambridge Chamber November Networking Breakfast

Join us for structured speed networking and continental breakfast. Connect one-on-one with representatives of businesses in Cambridge and beyond, and switch every 5 minutes to meet prospective customers or clients in a fun structured environment.

Come prepared to talk about what you do and bring plenty of business cards. Please note that in order to ensure optimal networking for all attendees, no more than two individuals from the same company may attend.

November 1

Boston TechBreakfast

Interact with your peers in a monthly morning breakfast meetup. At this monthly breakfast get-together techies, developers, designers, and entrepreneurs share learn from their peers through show and tell / show-case style presentations.

November 2

MassChallenge Boston Awards 2016

The MassChallenge Awards is the grand finale of the Boston startup accelerator program, shining a spotlight on the world’s most promising entrepreneurs.

Join top influencers in the innovation community to celebrate entrepreneurship & startup innovation! Entrepreneurs, investors, corporate executives, politicians, and philanthropists will witness the unveiling of MassChallenge winners and over $1 million in cash awards.

November 2

Lean Startup Week

If you can’t make it to this year’s Lean Startup Week in San Francisco, don’t miss out on hearing from the entrepreneurs and thought leaders powering today’s innovation. As their official live stream partner, General Assembly brings the action to your local campus with a community viewing event.

November 4

More Disruption Please Healthcare Hackathon

athenahealth is thrilled to announce our 7th MDP Hackathon as part of our More Disruption Please (MDP) program!

Join us Friday, November 4th at Meadhall to kick-off our weekend hackathon–drinks and snacks on us!

Not hacking? No problem! You’re still welcome to join us for a lively evening of discussion and networking.

November 5

Generation Citizen Civic Tech Challenge

At Generation Citizen’s third annual Greater Boston Civic Tech Challenge, we’re bringing together top Greater Boston tech innovators with passionate middle school students for a day-long hackathon that will create solutions for Greater Boston’s toughest problems. Young people from the Generation Citizen action civics program connect with developers, digital marketers, graphic designers and data analysts to build civic tech innovations that accelerate their ability to advance change on local issues.

Our awards reception will highlight each team’s work, as they present their ideas to 250+ local innovators, event honoree Diane Hessan, and a judging panel of Greater Boston’s top civic leaders.

November 5

Black Girls CODE Boston Chapter Presents: Game Jam!

This workshop will be geared toward introducing participants to animation, gaming, and interactive stories. The workshop is designed to encourage student-driven learning, as participants think analytically, design, play and code in real-time.

All Black Girls CODE events are geared towards introducing participants to the technological universe and encouraging them to pursue careers as Tech Creators and Entrepreneurs.

November 7

Tech Tackles Cancer

Join us and St. Baldrick’s in the fight against childhood cancer and to prove, once and for all, that Boston has the greatest tech community in the country.

November 9

TUGG Tech Trivia Night

Join TUGG, KPMG, Goodwin and our friends from across Boston tech for a fun night of trivia!
All proceeds benefit Generation Citizen, a TUGG portfolio nonprofit whose mission is to empower youth through civic engagement – highly appropriate given that this event is being held the day after election day!

November 10

Greater Boston Civic Tech Challenge Hackathon Reception

As part of the Generation Citizen action civics program, students across Greater Boston middle and high schools will launch action projects to advocate for change on our community’s most significant problems. By November 5th, GC students will have identified a significant community issue, analyzed the issue to identify its systemic root causes, and be just about ready to reach out to local decision-makers and constituents to advocate for change on their issue. By partnering with Civic Tech Challenge hack teams at this key point in the GC process, students will have innovative add-ons that can bolster their case and accelerate their ability to be changemakers.

November 11-13

MIT Energy Hackathon

The MIT Energy Hackathon is a helpful platform for students to learn real-world challenges, generate ideas, find startup partners, and win cash awards. For companies, it acts as a powerful crowdsourcing platform that generates a breadth of potential solutions for their challenge.

November 16

Conversation in Civic Innovation: Broadband Equity

Please join us for a discussion on Broadband Equity. Panelists will include:

  • Keynote: Susan Crawford, Berkman Center
  • Anne Schwieger, City of Boston
  • Damon Cox, The Boston Foundation
  • Sharon Gillett, Microsoft
  • Chris Mitchell, Institute for Local Self Reliance
  • Theo Hanna, Tech Goes Home

Cathy Wissink is moderating this event

November 16

State of Innovation Meetup Series: Data-Driven Transformation

State of Innovation Meetup Series: Data-Driven Transformation presented by Janeiro Digital.

Join us at Janeiro Digital’s office to explore how organizations can succeed with the right mix of talent and technology. We’ll be discussing this in the form of a panel with industry professionals followed by a night of networking.

November 18

MassTLC Transform

TRANSFORM is a who’s who get together exposing industry leaders, policy makers, and academia to the broadest, biggest ideas happening in the world around us today and its impact – both good and bad – on us as individuals, our companies, and our workforce.

November 19

Big Data Automation Summit

In the world of Big Data, human insufficiency and restricted budget may prove a hindrance in leveraging data for different purposes. Some of the reasons why we need Big Data include countering competition, improving decision-making, devising better workflow of operations, and boosting profitability. Big Data automation will transform the way in which virtual and cloud environments are managed. On bringing virtualization and the cloud into the automation platform, assigning resources to workload processing as per the requirement and then returning those resources when the workload is complete will be easier.

Join us at Big Data Automation Summit and meet leading industry experts to discuss opportunities in the future of Big Data & Automation.

November 19-20

Lady Problems Hackathon – Boston

We talk a lot about the lack of women in technology. What’s keeping them out? The Lady Problem Global Hackathon Series, presented by AngelHack, is launching in a city near you!
The Lady Problems Global Hackathon Series is setting out to answer that question. We’re challenging our community of 100,000+ women and men, developers, designers, entrepreneurs to create technology that will address the problems that prevent female entrepreneurship.


Celebrate the Winners of MassChallenge on 11/2!


Every year, we are thrilled to support MassChallenge in shining a spotlight on the world’s most promising entrepreneurs. In Boston, we directly support MassChallenge participants through our Scholarship for Civic Innovation, guiding startups in the MassChallenge program who are providing civic innovation solutions. To put this in simpler terms, these startups are helping elected officials deliver improved services to citizens, increasing communication with residents and enhancing government effectiveness.

This upcoming Wednesday, we’re excited to see the work of all of MassChallenge’s 128 finalists — including our Civic Innovation Scholars Donii, apprendis, Fetch Park, Suspect Technologies, and Polis — and celebrate the winners of this round of startups at the 2016 MassChallenge Boston Awards.

At #MCAwards16, you’ll:

  • Engage with all 128 startups showcasing.
  • Hear inspiring pitches from the Top 26 startups.
  • Witness the winning startups revealed and cash awarded! 

Join us at the #MCAwards16!

Do You Want to Know What Really Happens to the Stuff You Donate?

Microsoft is proud to be launching our third year of Civic Tech focus at MassChallenge with the Civic Tech Scholarship. The scholarship recognizes 5 startups as they enter the MassChallenge accelerator with a cash grant to help them grow their businesses. Microsoft’s Civic Tech Scholarship aims to identify startups helping elected officials deliver improved services to citizens, increasing communication with residents and enhancing government effectiveness. The ultimate goal is to identify solutions that foster citizen engagement and transparency between government and constituents. This blog post highlights the work of one of the 2016 Civic Tech scholarship recipients.

— Aimee Sprung


For many of us, donating is the most socially conscious way to offload the things we no longer need. You don’t want to throw away that perfectly good sweater you never really loved, or the baby toys your toddler doesn’t play with anymore. The best thing would be to give them away… right?

The answer is a little more complicated. Most people think that by donating items they are gifting them to someone in need. The reality is that the majority of what we donate is ultimately resold for profit. The Council for Textile Recycling estimates that only 20% of donated clothing items end up in thrift stores. The remaining 80% is sold to wholesalers who then resell them largely in underdeveloped countries at marked up prices, or into industrial processing streams.

The used goods trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, based almost entirely on our charitable donations.

donii-infographic-verticalThis unfortunately isn’t great news for developing economies. As countries in regions like Africa and Central America are flooded with used clothing from the US and Europe, their native textile industries are unable to keep up. It’s a cycle that puts manufacturers, factory workers, and even skilled laborers like tailors, out of work. It’s gotten bad enough that many African countries are banning imports of secondhand goods outright.

Even considering the clothing and household items that are sold in thrift stores, our donations are generally not getting to the individuals and families in our community with the most urgent needs. Large donation and thrift centers in the US are not in the business of outfitting or equipping the needy. Rather, the sale of our donated items finances their operations (often worthy programs like employment for the disabled, but in some cases shady operations which barely qualify as non-profit). The result is that our stuff rarely makes its way to people living in shelters, to single mothers struggling far below the poverty line, or to teenagers living on the streets: namely, people for whom even thrift store prices are out of reach.

Donii is a social enterprise whose mission is to get the stuff you donate directly to the people in your community who need it most. Donii works with local charities like homeless shelters and youth welfare programs so that, through them, you can give to people with critical material needs. Simply tell Donii what you want to give, and select from a list of local human service organizations that need it. Donii picks up the donation for you, and you get a personal note telling you how it will be used and a tax receipt when the charity receives it. Each organization on the Donii platform gives the items they take in directly to a person or family in their programs.


Boston’s most socially innovative companies, like Microsoft New England, are partnering with Donii to empower their employees to give better. Rather than waiting for the perfect time to drop your stuff off at a donation center, bring them to work with you… you’re going there anyway! Donii will pick up and deliver for you, giving you the confidence that your items are being put to their best possible reuse.

Donii partners with companies looking for creative and effective ways to engage employees in a year round social impact effort. Companies get ongoing impact metrics and dynamic stories about how their donations have helped people in their community. They build meaningful connections with nonprofit organizations throughout the city. And they join a growing list of companies dedicated to having a positive impact in Boston, putting them visibly at the vanguard of local poverty alleviation.

Residents of Greater Boston donate millions of items a year. If every donation were matched to a person in need, we could wipe out material need as effectively as food banks and soup kitchens have minimized hunger. Isn’t it time to start giving better?