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Giving Back Through #dsmHack

Teammates having discussion around desk with laptops

This time of the year I get truly inspired by the Des Moines technology community. Blown away actually. Did you know that over the last 3 years more than 255 technology professionals donated over $494,000 of in-kind services to area nonprofits? Yep! Right here in our community. This is a community that comes together annually as volunteers for the Des Moines Charity Hackathon (dsmHack).

This isn’t your typical hackathon with a big contest and prizes and winners. This hackathon is about building a better community. It’s about sharing our professional talents with local nonprofit organizations that need help with technology projects. When I see the technology needs that nonprofits have and the Des Moines technical community respond so generously, it makes me proud to be a part of this.

This hackathon begins with nonprofits pitching their project needs to the volunteer developers. Teams organically form based on the project idea or the cause. Sometimes developers gravitate towards a project on which their expertise can be best utilized, or sometimes it’s a new tech that they want to learn. Other times it’s the nonprofits’ mission that pulls them in. Every nonprofit project is staffed. Then we hack, and have some fun. The event concludes with a final demo to showcase the end product, and the impact it will have for the nonprofit. Each nonprofit walks away from the event with a technology deliverable that can help their organization as soon as the next day. Here is a brief listing of the nonprofits and projects we helped last year alone.

Here at Source Allies, I feel fortunate to work for a company whose core values align closely with the dsmHack tagline of Build.Learn.Give. It’s inspiring to see many of my teammates participate in the event and give back to the community. One of my teammates, Steve Nelson, shared that he gets involved with dsmHack because he knows how expensive custom software is, and that funding for technology projects at many nonprofits is limited.

Another teammate, Ben Goerdt, participated in dsmHack last year and is looking forward to the upcoming event.  He shared that he “really enjoyed working directly with nonprofits on projects that have an immediate impact. The atmosphere is fun and collaborative, and it is a great chance to work with and learn from talented people in Des Moines.”

Darin Webb said, “There are a ton of talented people at Source Allies and in the Des Moines tech community at large - the best of whom all show up at dsmHack. It’s a pleasure to work with a diverse group of experts toward a shared goal.”

If you are interested in learning more about dsmHack and to view the event held March 2-4 at Gravitate, follow along on twitter using: #dsmHack. Together we can all do great things!

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