Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Matching nonprofits with developers, new platform aims to leverage tech for social good

June 11, 2012, 12:08 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

codeforamerica

Photo Credit: Code for America

A new online platform intended to use technology for social good is currently in the development stage.

SocialCoding4Good, a project from the Palo Alto-based Benetech, is designed to engage software developers, technical writers and other IT professionals with social causes that need their tech help.

The platform aims to increase awareness of this new type of volunteerism by matching humanitarian organizations that work on issues like disaster relief, human rights and education with the ideas, skills and time of product developers.

The project is supported with seed funding from Knight Foundation through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

About the foundation’s support for the project, Knight’s Program Director in Silicon Valley, Judith Kleinberg says:

            “It’s exciting to see that even at the pilot stage of the project, it’s capturing a lot of attention. We look forward to watching it develop and seeing how people can use the platform to help lead to more informed and engaged communities.”

Several pilot projects are currently available to volunteers. Several of them are Knight grantees like Code for America, which helps governments work better for everyone with the people and the power of the web, FrontlineSMS, whose software is used by organizations to help create social change in sectors like disaster response and health services, and Amara, a universal video subtitling tool.

Volunteers who are interested in contributing their skills can sign-up online indicating the organizations that interest them, how much time they’re able to commit to volunteering and what skills they’re able to contribute to the various projects.

The Stanford Social Innovation Review recently highlighted the platform in its article “Coding for a Better World.”