On June 3-5, we came together with our partner State Farm and an incredible group of entrepreneurs to innovate to empower at Hackathon for Good. The problem statement: to design, architect and develop a cost-effective technical solution to help True Star Foundation serve and connect with more youths in ways that will empower them to share their voice, discover their path, and realize their dream. Throughout the weekend, the innovative ideas these teams created, built, and pitched will serve as important, new ways to make lasting change throughout Chicago. 

We kicked off the weekend with our opening ceremony, where an exciting group of speakers welcomed the7 participating teams. Our speakers included:

  • 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler
  • 1871 VP of Corporate Innovation Stephanie Miller
  • State Farm Chief Digital Officer Fawad Ahmad
  • True Star Foundation Co-Founder DeAnna Sherman
  • True Star Foundation Board President LaTonya Wilkins. 

In their opening remarks, they spoke about the need for discovering new ways to connect with local youth and reiterated the importance of work our participants were doing here. With these words of wisdom shared, we were ready to get the event started and take a hack at building a better future for our communities! 

During the event, the 7 teams worked for a total of 36 hrs to ideate, build, and create while also attending workshops and focus group sessions with True Star Foundation youth members to get input on their solutions. Additionally, mentors from State Farm, True Star Foundation, and 1871 were available throughout the weekend to support our busy innovators. 

On day two, we heard from State Farm Technology Director Mike Aviles about the company’s commitment to being a good neighbor in our communities through innovation. True Star Foundation Co-founders Na-Tae Thompson and DeAnna Sherman also gave us a deeper look into how their organization provides training and real-world work experience that teaches young people how to create, develop, and market digital content on platforms that empower them to forge their own paths. In fact, for the past 16 years, True Star Foundation has offered over 10,000 job opportunities to young people on the South and West sides of Chicago. 

With these words of inspiration, our incredible teams were energized and motivated for the final pitch. The judges were overwhelmed by the innovative and important solutions that each team presented, which made deciding on the first and second place winners incredibly difficult. But after some unforgettable pitches, we were proud to announce the results! 

The $5K first place prize went to Team “The Onion Peelers,” which was made up of employees from 1871 growth member SMS Assist, for their web-based solution that would connect students and mentors through a userface organized through youth-led interest groups, projects, and classes.

 In second place, Team “Tom Nook & Associates” created an in-depth incentive rubric that would help True Star Foundation track their incentives and rewards youth creators for their digital skill achievements and professional development growth. 

Finally, Team AXSModern took home the People’s Choice prize following a mentor and True Star Youth members vote. In total, our participating teams delivered game-changing solutions that will not only support True Star Foundation in the work they do, but also create a brighter future for youth across Chicago.

Thank you again to our participating teams, mentors, True Star Foundation and their youth members, and to our partner StateFarm for making Hackathon for Good an unforgettable experience! 

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