source: People’s Emergency Center, via LinkedIn

What we built: a platform for People’s Emergency Center administrators, staff, and volunteers that can allow individuals to sign up to volunteer and subsequently obtain clearances.

People’s Emergency Center (PEC) is located in West Philadelphia. PEC’s mission is to nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods and drive change. For families, children, and youth experiencing homelessness, PEC offers more than 235 affordable housing units, job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial education and planning, life skills and technology classes. …

“Learn about health, science, physics, and much more with this collaborative augmented reality app!”

Final Project demos. Hack4Impact members Abhinav Suri (3rd from left) and Hunter Lightman (4th from left)

Hack4Impact developers Abhinav Suri and Hunter Lightman and their team of Penn freshmen made top 10 in PennApps XIII, which took place January 22nd-24th, 2016.

For more context about the video of their presentation and their project description, we sat down for a conversation with Abhi and Hunter.

What stimulated your interest in working with Cardboard/VR?

AS: We were throwing around a lot of ideas before the hackathon, from a messaging app to unite all messaging services (see: to building a 3d printed hand. We wanted to definitely do something with hardware, but we didn’t know how to…

In 2008, the Center for Urban Economic Development surveyed 4,387 low-wage workers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. They wanted to determine the extent of violations of employment laws in core sectors of the US economy.

They discovered that:

  • 76% of those who worked more than 40 hours were not paid the legally required overtime rate.
  • 68% of the sample experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week.
  • The average worker lost $51 of his or her weekly earnings of $339 due to wage theft. …

Github has made it easy for millions of developers to publicize their projects so they can attract users and collaborators. But these developers often find themselves spending hundreds of hours building a project, only to push it to GitHub and earn a mere one or two stars.

I found myself in this situation while building a project for the nonprofit I work at, Hack4Impact. It’s a student group that makes technical projects for community organizations.

Together, we’ve built flask-base, which serves as boilerplate code for all of our products. …

Hack4Impact members with Brett Perlmutter of Google Access & Energy, who leads Google’s effort in Cuba.

Who we are and what we do

Founded at the University of Pennsylvania, Hack4Impact is a nonprofit that helps community organizations develop software solutions to enable greater change.

We believe in technology’s huge potential to empower activists and humanitarians to create lasting and impactful social change. Our mission is to foster the wider adoption of software as a tool for social impact.

We collaborate with 3–4 organizations per semester to develop applications that we believe have great potential for social impact. Each organization is paired with a team of Penn students, consisting of a PM, a tech lead, designers, and developers. …

Humans of PennApps post: What’s the best part of being part of Hack4Impact? “Honestly, all the amazing people I’ve met. They’ve really been a core part of my experience here.”

During PennApps XIII, Penn’s student-run college hackathon, Hack4Impact had the privilege of leading the second-ever Civic Hacking workshop, which was previously led by the Chief Data Officer for the City of Philadelphia Tim Wisniewski and the Code for Philly brigade of Code for America.

Civic Hacking Workshop

Last Fall, PennApps introduced Routes — a way of providing additional resources and incentives when people hack on specific themes. Hack4Impact was glad to see the introduction of a Route related to social impact, which would encourage projects tackling important societal issues.


We connect nonprofits in need of high-tech solutions with students passionate about building technology for good.

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