dsmHack 2020: Final Projects

The 48 hours of our annual hackathon always goes by quickly – but our teams are able to accomplish numerous solutions to help the selected nonprofits succeed in the future. This year, nearly 81 volunteers worked with 11 nonprofits.

Here’s what they accomplished:

Anawim Housing is dedicated to ending homelessness and providing safe, affordable housing for the people in our community who need it most. They had a need for an interactive and attractive map to facilitate conversations with potential property partners and showcase the variety of properties they offer across multiple cities. In addition, they needed a new, simple, visually appealing page that would highlight their impact and educate potential donors. The hack team implemented a location map with pop out property info and a data chart page with seamless navigation from their existing site despite having no access to the source site code. Take a look at the map here.

Back 2 School Iowa collaborates with communities and corporations to consolidate resources in order to inspire youth to continue in their educational endeavors and build upon their future careers. As part of this, they wanted to make finding local scholarship opportunities easier for students of Iowa. To solve this, the team created a workflow where Back 2 School can post a sponsor’s scholarship application on their website in 3 easy steps.

Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) is working together to meet basic human needs for the greater Des Moines community. DMARC needed 2 things: an update to their intake form for families in need and an ecommerce site to support their network of food pantries. The team solved these problems by updating the intake form based on the data they are required to capture and built a WordPress ecommerce site that allows users to log in and order food on a monthly basis for pickup at a pantry.

Des Moines Heritage Trust is dedicated to the preservation of historic properties in the Des Moines metropolitan area. They needed to raise awareness and attract potential clients. Following the mission of historic preservation, the team revitalized 2 websites as well as the Facebook presence, and provided new displays to showcase their history. Here are the links to the work that was done during this year’s hack:


Iowa C.O.R.E. Inc. is a cross-sector ecosystem of minority workers, underserved businesses, philanthropists, civic leaders committed to equity-based research and economic development in historically disadvantaged communities of color. Iowa C.O.R.E. wants to share the stories of successful community investment to ensure investments are being directed in the most efficient and impactful way. The hack team built a solution that gathers economic and demographic data from different sources and displays it as a heatmap. This illustrates under-invested communities in Iowa. Success stories pinned on the map also show the impact being made by investments. Take a look at the heatmap here.

Justice League of Food believes that the cycle of poverty can be broken through an investment in individuals and the creation of jobs. They needed a more robust website that meshed multiple brand identities into a holistic view of their mission. The team pulled all of their content into one space where clients are able to request their services, get involved, and learn more about what they do for the community. The updated website can be seen here.

One Heart Equestrian Therapy offers therapeutic services to people with disabilities using horses. They were looking for a way to get all of their 300+ volunteers on the same page each day they have therapy sessions. The hacker team built a custom web application to communicate which horses and equipment need to be readied for those sessions.

Parenting Way Inc educates parents for the health, safety & success of children and youth. The hack team made a previously in-person parental education course accessible via an online learning management system. Check out the work done here.

Pursuit of Innovation (Pi515) challenges, inspires and teaches technology skills to students with potential, empowering immigrant, refugee and other underserved youth to achieve success, garner influence and gain stability in their families and communities. The hack team revamped the Pi515 website with all new content, layout, and hosting to make it easy for them to get their message across and for their students to continue to maintain the site themselves. Check out the rebrand and new website here.

Please Pass the Love empowers school communities to embrace and sustain mental health and wellness supports for their students through education, leadership, and advocacy. They needed a social media platform for supporting youth struggling with mental health issues. To accomplish this, the hack team created custom Slackbot functionality and added integrations on a new PPTL Slack server.

Wonder Years Academy is a small nonprofit childcare center serving low income families in the Des Moines area for the past 28 years. The hack team created new branding and a website to act as a centralized landing spot for anyone interested in or utilizing Wonder Years Academy. Check out the new logo and website here.