DC Do-Good List 2020

Our first annual list of tech nonprofits and volunteer opportunities for software engineers, coders, and developers in the DC metro area.

Are you a software engineer, coder, programmer, or developer in the DC, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) metro area interested in volunteering your time with a nonprofit organization in tech? Whether you’re interested in mentoring students, contributing to open-source projects, teaching classes, building apps and tools for local governments, or making tech more diverse and inclusive, DC has something for you.

Please note: this is not an exhaustive list. We plan to keep adding organizations as we come across them. We include organizations based both inside and outside DC, as long as there are opportunities to get involved in the DC area. Our criteria for this list is that:

  • The Organization currently has active volunteer opportunities listed on their website within the DC, Virginia, Maryland (DMV) metro area. We did not include organizations that do not provide volunteer opportunities or that appeared to be inactive.
  • The Organization is focused, at least in part, on creating or maintaining software, teaching software skillsets, or making software more diverse and accessible.

Civic Tech and Civic Hacking

Did you know that many local governments and communities rely on volunteers known as “civic hackers” to build and maintain fundamental resources? Many cities and communities thrive because civic tech organizations work on projects to address community needs, from flood mapping to finding polling centers.

 

Code for America Brigades: Code for Baltimore and Code for DC

 

What they do:

Part of the international organization Code for All, Code for America maintains brigades across the United States (there’s even one in Hawaii). Code for Baltimore and Code for DC put technology to work for citizens in their respective cities. They maintain partnerships with City offices and departments to help deliver projects that help the community.

 

How you can get involved:

Once you join your local brigade or attend one of their meetups, you can help out with a current project, pitch a new project, or even become a project lead.

 

DC’s Digital Inclusion Initiative

 

What they do:

The Connect DC Digital Inclusion Initiative was created by the Office of the CTO to help DC residents obtain access to affordable computers, computer education, and internet.

 

How you can get involved:

Volunteers can help host events or volunteer to help with event registration, public speaking, and more.

 

Electronic Frontier Foundation

 

What they do:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a nonprofit organization that has worked to defend digital civil liberties since 1990. They support user privacy, free expression, and innovation.

 

How you can get involved:

There are several ways to get involved with the EFF in DC and online. They include: Coding with EFF, Translating with EFF, Community Organizers, and Cooperating Attorneys.

Allies in DC include CryptoParty Bmore (@CryptoPartyBalt on Twitter) and Privacy Tools in Action at the DC Public Library. There are also opportunities to join the EFF Alliance or Donate to EFF.

 

Teaching and Mentoring in Tech

When we started making this list, we asked engineers and educators for recommendations. They all said the same things. Many students don’t have access to mentors or educational programs focused on computer science, coding, and programming. However, there are a number of nonprofits in DC that aim to change that with your help.

 

Digital Enterprise Academy (DEAcademy)

 

What they do:

DEAcademy is a nonprofit organization on a mission to give middle and high-school students from the DC metro area opportunities to: find mentorship from software engineers, shadow programmers and engineers at work, and learn about tech.

 

How you can get involved:

Get in touch to learn about how you can become a mentor for a student, give a presentation at a local school, and more.

 

CodeNow

 

What they do:

CodeNow is a non-profit that teaches high-school students how to solve problems through coding. Their program has four levels to introduce students to web design, coding, and how to build your own apps.

 

How you can get involved:

CodeNow offers weekend workshops, online learning, hackathons, and summer competitions.

 

CoderDojos

 

What they do:

DC has a number of CoderDojos were you can work with kids as a mentor or volunteer. There’s one in Maryland, DC, and NoVa. CoderDojo is a growing community of 2221 free, open and local programming clubs for young people. They host DojoCons around the world, as well as “Coolest Projects” where young people can show off their work. James Whelton cofounded the CoderDojo Foundation in 2013 with a vision that “every child worldwide should have the opportunity to learn code and to be creative with technology in a safe & social environment. In 2017, the CoderDojo Foundation joined forces with the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

How you can get involved:

Dojos can always use volunteers and mentors for sessions – even if you don’t code! You can join a current Dojo, or start your own.

 

TEALs Schools

 

What they do:

Microsoft’s Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) Program “partners with high schools to build teacher capacity and student interest in computer science with the goal of enabling schools to sustain equitable CS programs on their own.”

 

How you can get involved:

Join volunteers from hundreds of companies and see how you can co-teach computer science alongside classroom teachers.

 

Conferences

Several organizations hold conferences in the DC area focused on benefiting local communities. There are a few coming up this year.

 

Ruby for Good

 

What they do:

Ruby for Good is a yearly event in the DC metro area for Ruby programmers from all over the globe to get together over a long weekend to build projects that help communities.

 

How you can get involved:

Become a participant and stay in dorms while you hack and network for good causes. You can also volunteer by attending the event or becoming a team lead. There are also opportunities to sponsor the event. Note: this is not a hackathon.

 

USA Science and Engineering Festival

 

What they do:

The USA Science & Engineering Festival inspires students nationwide with year-round K–12 educational programming and culminates in a multi-day celebration on April 23-26, 2020 in Washington, DC.

 

How you can get involved:

Sign up and join the festival!

 

Diversity and Inclusion

In our experience working with tech startups in the DC metro area, executives and hiring managers want to make diversity and inclusion a top priority in their hiring processes and company cultures. They want employees of all races, genders, and orientations to feel welcomed and valued, and they want to ensure that everyone is compensated fairly for the work they do.

Unfortunately, we’ve uncovered data (keep an eye out for our upcoming compensation report) and testimonials that show the area has a long way to go. There are many positions where salaries are still unequal, and many companies don’t know how to attract and foster diverse talent.

However, there are a number of nonprofit organizations inside and outside of DC that you can join, get involved with, or support if you care about this issue.

 

Project Include

 

What they do:

Project Include is a nonprofit organization on a mission to make tech more diverse and inclusive. They’re gathering and sharing data and creating a community that aims to set standards for inclusiveness, comprehensiveness, and accountability.

 

How you can get involved:

If you’re a CEO or tech startup leader, you can join the Project or take their survey to help make your team, and the DC tech community, more diverse and inclusive.

 

The Black Code Collective

 

What they do:

The Black Code Collective is a group of black developers who meet to support skills, careers, and opportunities.

 

How you can get involved:

Black software developers in DC can join their Slack channel and attend their Meetup events.

 

Girls Who Code

 

What they do:

Today, fewer than 1 in 5 CS graduates are women. Girls Who Code is creating learning opportunities and career pathways to help close that gap.

 

How you can get involved:

There are a number of ways to get involved with Girls Who Code. There are opportunities to become a partner, fundraiser, or use their lesson plans. You might also be able to start a club or join the March for Sisterhood. If you are a member of a nonprofit organization and have access to a classroom with computers, you may be able to start a club. Girls Who Code can provide training, a custom learning platform, curriculum, and other resources. Girls Who Code also provides downloadable lesson plans so you can teach and inspire. Topics include the history of women in tech and computational thinking concepts.

 

Meetup Groups

 

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the many group on Meetup.com that are helping make tech more accessible, diverse, and inclusive. We’re building out a search tool on the hatchpad to help DC residents find diversity and inclusion oriented Meetups near them. Select “diversity in tech” from the dropdown menu.

Meetups provide teaching, coaching, networking, and community. An increasing number of Meetup groups also livestream and record their Meetups to make them accessible for anyone who is unable to attend in person.

 

Add to the list

We’re building out an ongoing list of volunteer opportunities and nonprofits in and around the District on our hatchpad community page. Email info@myhatchpad.com if you’d like to add to this list.