Learn More about Code for Change

Starting June 28, 2012, nonprofit organization or government agency can enter your Challenges here at the Code for Change website hosted by Applications for Good. Learn how to create an awesome Challenge Brief here. Or, contact us to find out more on being Code for Change nonprofit or government partner.


If you are a developer, designer or innovator we match you to the Challenges and others with similar interests. Starting June 28 and all the way up until our two weeks of collaboration, you can start working. Register here as a technology partner or if you already have a challenge in mind, enter your solution here.


In September we are all coming together for two weeks of collaboration in New York, starting Sept 28th. Finally, challenge/solution teams will showcase your work at our Oct 12 expo and awards. We are offering $10,000 in cash and additional prizes for those who build Applications, create viable prototypes or enter into promising partnerships as a result of Code for Change. Winning applications are recognized with our App Catalog and other promotional venues (tba).


The creativity begins June 28, 2012 when we begin sourcing and developing challenges from the nonprofit organizations and government agencies. We will present the challenges during the summer through our website and invite teams to commit to solving challenges. Anyone can play.

On Friday, September 28th, at NYU’s Wagner School, we kick off the competition with an afternoon and evening of team matching and gathering, giving technologists, designers, innovators, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies a chance to meet face to face, pitch ideas, and challenges and form working groups. Over the course of the next two weeks, teams will meet on their own time to work collaboratively on their solutions. On Friday, October 12th, all participants will reconvene at NYU Wagner for a “demo day” when they present their solutions for judging at our exposition.

Register for the September 28th kick-off event here!

Prizes will be awarded in multiple categories. Top award recipients will win cash and additional support to continue working with their civic and community partners, bringing their concepts to full development by the end of 2012.

Prizes include mentor sessions, VC lunches, introductions to national foundations, space with business incubators, general support for project development, cash, and more. At the end of the year, we’ll present final results and products.

Code for Change is a partnership between NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, One Economy, Code for America, NPower, Blue Ridge Foundation, and Motorola Mobility Foundation.

For inquiries and information, email [email protected].


Register for Updates

More about Code for Change

More about the Competition and Expo

Code for Change’s lead partners and supporters


Nonprofit Organizations & Government Agencies

Submit a Challenge, Get a Solution.

Do you have a challenge that could benefit from an innovative technology solution? At no cost and with the support of the Code for Change team, nonprofits and public agencies are invited to submit “Challenge Briefs,” which technologists and innovators with big ideas will build solutions around. Code for Change is about impact. Challenge Briefs should address bold, systems-oriented issues, the solutions to which could substantively improve services, accessibility of programs, and how an organization does business. Code for Change welcomes agencies to pitch their toughest problems with field-wide relevance to innovators and technology experts. Many of the Code for Change prizes will support organizations in the full development of new prototypes. How to Enter a challenge.


Technologists, Innovators, & Designers

Show Your Skills, Do Good.

Are you an expert coder with technology chops you want to share with the world? Do you have innovative ideas that could make a difference? Do you think good design can change the world? Put your skills to work for a better world and compete to win cash and prizes. Code for Change matches you with the leaders of nonprofits and public agencies in New York City. These organizations may focus on kids in NYC or access to water in developing countries – what they have in common is that they’re all in the Big Apple and in need of technology interventions and innovative solutions to their challenges. That’s where you come in to compete. Prizes include mentor sessions, VC lunches, introductions to national foundations, space with business incubators, general support for project development, cash, and more. Recently, the White House has become interested in this effort; one winner may also have the opportunity to work with the Obama administration to take this work to the national stage. How to Enter a Solution

The Basics: Challenge, Meet Solution

Code for Change is the catalyst for a sustained effort to meet the technology challenges of nonprofit and public sector agencies. To truly address social challenges, ensure relevant solutions, and develop partnerships, Code for Change facilitates an engaging process of challenge identification and refinement, solution generation, and ongoing development:

1. Identifying and Refining Challenges

During the summer of 2012, nonprofit organizations and government agencies are invited to share their challenges.  With the support of the Code for Change team, these specific problems will be refined into Challenge Briefs. Challenge Briefs cleanly frame the challenge in a way that is easy to digest, readily understood, and actionable.

2. Coming Up with Solutions

Throughout the summer and into September, Code for Change will invite technologists and innovators to enter the competition by registering for the C4C events in October.  Over the course of the month, these technologists will explore the Challenge Briefs, pick their favorites, and begin developing Solutions.  Groups (our suggestion is no more than five per team) may also enter the competition as a team.  Teams are encouraged to immediately collaborate through the Code for Change website and otherwise to get solutions underway. The Code for Change team will be available to help facilitate the process.

3. Code for Change Competition, September 28th – October 12th, 2012

On Friday, September 28th, challengers and teams will come together, new teams may be formed, and technologists will meet nonprofit organizations and government agencies. All teams will be invited to pitch their ideas in a timed presentation.  Each team will receive feedback after their pitch via a question and answer session. Teams can gather more feedback by mingling during the event. On Saturday, June 2nd, teams demo their entries in an exposition style.  Judges will visit with each team and assess their presentations. At the end of the day prizes will be awarded.
→ Learn more about prizes

4. Lasting Impact

The Code for Change event, activities, and prizes promote cross‐sector relationship building, continuing partnerships, and the full development of prototypes.  All teams will be provided with mentorship at, and in many cases, beyond the June event. Many prizes emphasize continued activity and include VC lunches, introductions to national foundations and space with business incubators.


What Makes Code for Change Unique?

Code for Change (C4C), a newly formed partnership of New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (NYU Wagner Innovation Labs), One Economy, Code for America, NPower, and Blue Ridge Foundation New York is developing an “innovation pipeline” to address public service organizations’ greatest technology challenges. C4C matches nonprofit  organizations and government agencies with talented coders, innovators, and designers, who propose creative, game-changing solutions. C4C’s goal is to establish a sustainable ecosystem in which social sector agencies can leverage the talents of corporate, entrepreneurial and technical talent on an ongoing, rather than one-time, basis.

The current wave of hackathons, app contests, and similar tech prize competitions has inspired new applications and technology uses in the social sector.  The next wave must capitalized on the initial enthusiasm and transform it into lasting improvements. C4C takes a new approach by focusing on scalable solutions relevant beyond individual organizations and fostering sustained relationships between social and tech sectors. The complex world and challenges that nonprofits organizations and government agencies face demands sustained, multi-sector collaboration.


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