I’m absolutely excited to say that Gift the Code, sponsored by Capital One, is BACK for a second year! Last year’s event was amazing to witness. I was humbled to see so many coders, designers, and data driven engineers collaborating in groups of five or six to build much needed and functional social awareness applications.

Gift the Code #UseDigitalForGood Charities

And this year is bound to be bigger and better!

Gift the Code #UseDigitalForGood Charities
Gift the Code 2016 participants – Photo by Ryan Emberley

I was awestruck last year, not only for how many people got involved, but also for how many women took on the coding challenge. If you ever want to vision the potential of a diverse Toronto tech community, then look at hackathons like this one.

*fistbump* to everyone involved!

Keep an eye on my  Instagram and Twitter, as I share pics from the event happening this weekend, from November 3-5, 2017 at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Having our local talent combine their super-hero level skills to help home-based charities in need is inspiring.

Using digital for good for 40 hours straight to create a library of publicly accessible applications is both heartwarming and mind-blowing.

Gift The Code Charities

Meet the six charities looking for help this year from Gift the Code.


Sistering is an open door for homeless and transient women, it’s for those who are fighting their way from an abusive situation, for those who are widowed and pensionless, for those who are caught in prostitution and drugs.

The Sistering organization is looking for a variety of volunteers, and with the help of Gift the Code, they hope to have a functioning solution to reach out to those who want to contribute their time, or donate their gently used items.

Kids Help Phone

Canada’s only anonymous help-phone for our youth, including counselling, Live Chat, and information/referral service.

Children growing up today, amongst the unfettered wild-west ranks of social networking, have this insane challenge to make it beyond high school with their mental health unscathed. I would think it almost impossible for our kids to grow without a battle wound or two, no matter how much we try to protect our children from the potential viciousness of pack-mentality embedded within any given student-body.

While phones can be the source of hurt if used irresponsibly, they can also be a source of good if this year’s hackers are up to the challenge of creating a solution to reach out to our young that are in need of help.

Autism Ontario

Autism Ontario is a volunteer-run organization; a front-line support for individuals on the spectrum and their families living in Ontario. Empowering those in need for day-to-day events, and being the strength to guide anyone who might feel lost in a potentially confusing journey.

Autism Ontario is looking to the hacker community of Gift the Code to build an interactive solution to effectively reach out to their members.

The 519

Toronto’s LGBTQ community looks towards The 519 for health, happiness and inclusion.

Being shunned, abused, arrested, or even killed simply because you feel and/or love differently is unfathomably disgusting.

The 519 supports the Toronto community by offering a wide range of initiatives including Newcomer and Refugee Settlement Services, Community Drop-In Programs, Community Support Services (Counselling, Anti-Violence), Trans Community Services, Queer Parenting Programs and more.

The 519 is searching for a solution that will help them manage their members and demonstrate its impact to the community.

CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals

CEE (Careers, Education and Empowerment) serves Toronto’s Black youth (aged 18 to 29) to help break any major barriers blocking them from employment.

With an intensive 3-month career program, CEE graduates currently have a 70% success rate to becoming employed after graduation.

Through Gift the Code, CEE hopes to increase their reach and capacity of their staff. They require a function to reach out to their alumni so that their impact can continue to beyond the three-month program.


Led by Indigenous people for Indigenous people, Indspire educates, connects and invests in Indigenous people so they can achieve their highest potential.

Indspire is looking to Gift the Code hackers to develop applications that will help them effectively connect their members with the services they need. A solution that will properly match mentors to mentees, and effectively help transmit much-needed information to its members.

Join Gift the Code #UseDigitialForGood

It’s not too late to help out Gift the Code this year! Visit GiftTheCode.ca to see how you can get involved right now! Also follow along with Gift the Code on Twitter (@GiftTheCode), Facebook (/GiftTheCode), and Instagram (@GiftTheCode) for exciting updates from the hackathon!

And, shhhh! Between you and I, if you’re participating in this year’s Gift the Code, I will see you there!  I was going to sign up to help, probably in a designing capacity. I’m not that confident in believing my coding abilities are up to par. Sadly, my family needed me more than ever for these past few month and I wasn’t sure if I could commit the 40 consecutive hours this year.  Then Capital One approached me and asked if I wanted to guest judge!  *insert shocked emoji*

Let me tell you, the idea of judging my heroes this way is intimidating, but I agreed for the super selfish reason that I want to see firsthand what applications my fellow coders and designers can come up with for our neighbours.

Sponsored by Capital One

This hackathon would not have lifted off the ground without the help and 100% support from Capital One.

Over the past year and a bit, I’ve had the pleasure to partner with Capital One in a number of socially conscious adventures, including last year’s Gift the Code, and later the Enactus Regional Exposition.

Being able to witness hackers using digital for good for another year, thanks to Capital One’s support, is an incredible privilege, and I can’t thank them enough for that!


Will you be in Toronto this weekend to use digital for good?


Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Capital One Canada in a partnership with Geek with Style to provide you the most up to date facts, helping you make better informed decisions. All opinions in this article are my own.