It’s not every day that you get to combine a passion for tech with a passion for helping others. That’s why we were excited about being able to support StrideForce, a nonprofit focused on helping underrepresented groups build careers in technology, as a sponsor of their upcoming hackathon event. We are a bronze sponsor for the event, which is being hosted at Salesforce, and we’ll also be providing T-shirts and extended trials for StrideForce to use as prizes. Read all about the event below and learn more on their website!

Who: StrideForce is an educational Salesforce-focused nonprofit dedicated to promoting diversity in tech. They provide Salesforce training for people from underrepresented groups to help them find jobs.

What: StrideForce will be hosting a hackathon, a group coding event, where experienced and beginner developers alike work side-by-side to construct the interface for a new application StrideForce is developing. The application, called Alumni Success, allows nonprofits to connect with their alumni and meet job placement needs.

When: November 4-6, 2016

Where: Salesforce Rincon Cafe, San Francisco

Why: To build the framework of the Alumni Success app, further their mission of promoting diversity in tech, and raise awareness about their organization.

How did this idea come about?

StrideForce’s hackathon was inspired by other events like Startup Weekend Oakland, which promoted black male achievement, as well as the strong community formed around Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Package.

“I think there are a lot of people who want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and want to give back but don’t know how,” said Michele McGeoy, StrideForce founder. “We wanted to give that opportunity to people.”

What benefits do people get out of participating, volunteering, or sponsoring the event?

Participants in particular will be able to benefit from the chance to learn and hone their skills while working with other passionate individuals in a collaborative, teamwork-focused environment.

“The best way to learn something is to do it,” Michele said. “Having a very specific project to work on is helpful for people to be able to focus.”

The other more intangible benefit is the knowledge that you’re giving back and helping StrideForce with their goal of providing pathways out of poverty through jobs in the tech community, which is a benefit that extends to participants, sponsors and developers alike.

What should people expect at this event?

Hackathons are known for being intense events, but what will StrideForce’s hackathon be like for the volunteers and participants that sign up? Michele said they’re hoping to promote an environment of “coopetition” (cooperation meets competition) at the hackathon.

“Because we’re going to have a wide range of skillsets there, I’m hoping to see teams working together and enjoying the process,” Michele said. “I hope that there will be a real spirit of teamwork.”

At this hackathon, StrideForce is encouraging participation from coders and non-coders alike, including designers, Salesforce admins, and business analysts.

Volunteers at the event will be helping to orchestrate the weekend, including registering participants, coordinating food and other logistics, and making sure teams are working together smoothly.

What does StrideForce hope to accomplish with the hackathon?

StrideForce hopes to come out of the event with a solid beta version of their application that can be presented to foundations and investors to secure funding to make the app a reality.

The ultimate goal with the app is to create a solution that benefits both job-seekers and nonprofits and helps place people in rewarding tech jobs. The app would be available to nonprofits at low or no-cost. Another goal of the app is to use it to help minorities in tech get experience in the field as they help nonprofits implement the app in their organization.

Michele said they hope to repeat this hackathon in coming years to regularly provide this opportunity to collaborate for a good cause and as a way to continually improve their app and create new features.

Why should people support the hackathon?

In short, this event is worth supporting because it’s the right thing to do, especially for people involved in the tech community.

“We’re so privileged to be a part of this [technology] economic engine. When I look  at how our industry has driven up the cost of living in the Bay Area, it’s become clear that, for folks who are not in the industry, there is an inverse effect on them,” Michele said. “Given the part that we play in this dynamic, we need to give back to those that don’t have the same privilege.”

People from all backgrounds are encouraged to participate, Michele said. “We’re looking for as many allies as we can find.”

Remote teams and individual participants are encouraged as well.

How are winners decided?

Winners of the event (there will be multiple) will be decided based on a number of different criteria, including the technical elegance of their solution and the usefulness of the solution from both a job-seeker and nonprofit management perspective.

Select winners will also receive special edition FormAssembly T-shirts as well as a coupon for an extended 30-day trial of FormAssembly (as opposed to the normal 14-day trial).

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We’ve been fortunate to be able to help many nonprofits improve their processes with FormAssembly, and we’re excited to be supporting StrideForce, too!

Interested in getting involved with this event? You can sign up as a participant or volunteer, or choose one of several sponsorship levels.

You can also buy raffle tickets for a chance to win other prizes including some items provided by FormAssembly.

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Update: December 15, 2016

The Hackathon was a success! We were so glad to be able to sponsor this important event. Here’s a picture of Michele and other Hackathon participants wearing the FormAssembly T-Shirts we donated.

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