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NYC GiveCamp 2011: A Successful Charity Event!

Tags: Events, Community

I'm happy to announce that the first annual NYC GiveCamp 2011 was an amazing success!

The GiveCamp!

The NYC GiveCamp was part of the first ever National GiveCamp, led by the software developer, design & database communities that took place this past Martin Luther King weekend.   Fueled by coffee, soda and pizza, more than 1,000 volunteers at 14 locations across the United States spent the weekend contributing their skills to benefit charities that need custom software, a new website or application. The 120 participating charities would probably not have the financial or staffing means to complete their projects without National GiveCamp.







The NYC GiveCamp (and most national GiveCamps) lasted the entire weekend. At our Microsoft office in New York City, here's what happened during the NYC GiveCamp...

At the start of the GiveCamp everyone assembled so that the charities can describe their projects to the attendees.  Afterward, the developers, designers, DBAs, etc...chose a charity where they felt their skills could be put to best use, or where they felt they can quickly learn and get things done with a new technology.  Some developers stayed around the clock at the Microsoft NYC office to keep momentum going until Sunday afternoon at the close of the event, while others came and went but on very little sleep.  I got enough sleep myself, but complained about being tired anyway. ;-)

Around Saturday afternoon and continuing throughout the event, Seth Juarez from DevExpress decided to try live-streaming the event via http://www.ustream.tv and invite the charities and attendees on the air to discuss their project progress, live!  I cohosted much of the ustream along with Miguel Castro and Mehul Harry. We also thought we'd call out to some industry notables such as MVPs & Microsoft employees as guests to discuss various technologies. 


The Charities!

8 Charities from around the NY Metro area received custom built & customized software from over 80 developers who's skills include ASP.NET, Orchard, WordPress, Joomla, Java, SQL, UX design and a bunch more skills!  The DevExpress blog gives a great run-down of what the charities wanted to achieve during the NYC GiveCamp that I'll also repeat here:

"Guys and Girls (Thorner and Rose):

Guys and Girls is a charity who's focus is provide a community for Heterosexual HIV positive people in New York City. They also do things like sponsor events and provide knowledge about the disease. Their problem coming into the event was that they weren’t very visible. Between a lack of content and lack of planning for SEO they weren’t to be found in the search results. The end results was that the team created a new website powered by the recently released Orchard CMS framework.

Two Cents of Hope

From the Two Cents of Hope website: “The vision of "Two Cents of Hope" (TCH) is to create a responsible and self-sustaining society. We hope to achieve this by facilitating education to aspiring children and youth, which creates opportunities to realize their potential and provide them with a spring board to scale new heights.” They were looking for a new website and left with a great looking website.


Remás helps immigrants in the US locate the best rates for sending money back home. They came in with a laundry list of asks and most if not all of them were completed. They left with a great looking site along with an Android application that will allow their users to help in providing the best pricing/exchange rates when sending money back to their families in their home countries.


From the Solar1 website: “Solar One, the City’s first solar-powered “Green Energy, Arts, and Education Center,” inspires New Yorkers to become environmentally responsible city dwellers.” They already had a site when they arrived on Friday but their goal was a better looking website and they left with that plus a fantastic Silverlight app that allowed them to browse the backend data that they have available in a slick interface. The app looked great and did some really cool things with the DevExpress Silverlight book control (http://tv.devexpress.com/#DXBookControlFeatureDemo)


ProLifeHomeless focuses on helping the homeless of New York City. They match up those who need shelter and those who can provide shelter as well as find clothing and many other things that are required for survival. They had no website coming in and they left with a great looking site based on WordPress and the ability to post and search for resources that could help the homeless.

Robin Hood

Robin Hood finds and funds other charities that are doing great things in New York City. They came in with an already great looking site. What they needed was some backend work in regards to their SharePoint setup. And that is what they left with, they got a great foundation laid enabling them to extend the functionality of the site in the future.

Life Network

Life Network is about providing community and a holistic approach to the HIV disease for the Heterosexual community in New York City. Their ask coming into GiveCamp was a site that allowed for user registration as well as a clear way to update and maintain the site. They left with a site and the functionality requested.

Urban Hope

Urban hope targets inner city teens and through classes and other activities teaches and guides the at-risk teen population. Their ask at GiveCamp was to re-write their existing site and to update the look and feel as well as provide a way to receive donations."

The Attendees!

Our fine developers, designers and DBAs were able to accomplish just about everything the charities had on their wish lists, and even some more, as quite a few teams were done on Saturday! Those groups also came in Sunday to add extra enhancements to projects, which is really great news - way to go, GiveCampers!


That's Dave C, our GiveCamp poster-boy who's getting a 45 minute nap in during the wee early morning hours. And that's all the sleep he had!


Attendees hard at work in the MS NYC Office "big" room.

Best of all, everyone had a great time for a many great causes! 

The Sponsors!

These are the folks who all chipped in and donated their time, funds and/or expertise, as it's very much appreciated!

Sponsors on both the national and local level, including Microsoft, DevExpress, DiscountASP.NET, Telerik, ComponentOne, TekPub, PluralSight, CODE Magazine, Domino's Pizza, Green Mountain Coffee and Magnolia Bakery all donated products, funds and/or people that helped make the NYC GiveCamp a raging success.

I'd like to specifically call out Rachel Hawley, Seth Juarez & Mehul Harry from DevExpress, who really did a bang-up job with all the legwork needed for coordinating such an awesome event!  You guys rock!


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