By Saba Long
Joey Womack, better known as Joey Digital – an Atlanta-based technologist, has been around the startup scene for quite some time. He and his business partner, Justin Dawkins, are making an indelible impression in the technology scene.
Womack and Dawkins jointly own sf35, a business mentoring venture focused on African-American, Latino and women entrepreneurs. Under sf35, they’ve launched a new community-driven hackathon – Goodie Hack.
Womack has already organized two Goodie Hack events – including one earlier this month, and he has two more in the works for later this year.
Goodie Hack facilitates the development of technology tools that increase the efficiency and reach of its participants – purpose-driven, developing organizations. Nearly a dozen Atlanta-based organizations were selected to participate, including Atlanta Food & Farm, WeCycle, Community Guilds and Love Beyond Walls.
For most participants, these hackathons are their first foray into the merger of technology and civic engagement.
The winning team MAFDET, founded by Atlanta attorney Travis Townsend, pitched a criminal law mobile text feature to educate users on how to stay out of the criminal system. One could use the application if pulled over by police and generate a basic criminal law FAQ (frequently asked questions)
MAFDET provides educational and behavioral development training, often through the courts, to lower-income individuals and minority youth. Given these demographics’ reliance on mobile devices, MAFDET’s text feature can promote crime prevention through education in an easily accessible format.
Perhaps one of the more unique pitches came from the staff at WeCycle, a progressive health and wellness organization based in Atlanta’s historic Westside.
Their pitch: gamify cycling and urban farming. Using a virtual currency, bike coins, participants would earn coins for choosing to volunteer at a local community garden or for biking to work.
Like Bitcoin, the bike coins could be redeemed for tangible items such as cycling gear or fresh produce or items from organizations that partner with WeCycle.
Gamification as a social enterprise is still a new concept in the Atlanta not-for-profit scene.
With just two hackathons under its belt, Goodie Hack has already shown how technology can impact our communities by allowing for design-led storytelling to connect nonprofits with their end users.
Even Goodie Hack’s partners such as bone marrow donor registration organization, Be The Match, fit the altruistic theme.
“I came across a ‘Be The Match’ booth while at SXSW and donated then. It made sense to bring them into Goodie Hack because we focus on minority communities who have a lower propensity to donate compared to other ethnicities,” Womack said.
Next up for Womack and his team is Goodie Marketing – a hackathon-like event focusing on the marketing needs of the Goodie Hack participants.
Combined, both concepts serve as a “proof of concept” accelerator for developing, community-based nonprofits. If all goes well, both will have a global reach.