Digital and tech talent donate their time and expertise during Capital One Canada’s second annual 40-hour charity hackathon


From November 3-5, over 325 people were involved in Capital One Canada’s second annual Gift the Code™ Hackathon including participants, organizers and volunteers. In just 40 hours, over 165 developers, designers and UI/UX artists passionate about problem solving used digital for good by brainstorming, building and presenting solutions to solve specific digital challenges faced by six Toronto-based charities.

“The digital solutions participants developed in a mere 40 hours will maximize the efforts of our charity partners and leverage resources to their client base, help streamline processes, ease operational burdens and uncover new opportunities to meet the needs of deserving charities right here at home,” said Mark Cauwels, Chief Technology Officer, Capital One Canada. “Additionally, Capital One is providing a $5,000 grant to each charity to help implement these solutions.”

Participants were invited to sign up as teams or form groups on site during the event’s opening at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre on Friday, November 3. This is an inspiring display of community support and involvement in creating solutions to digital problems faced by charities in our local neighborhoods. Of the 165 participants, close to 30 per cent were female, more than double the typical rate according to hackathon organizer, Hackworks Inc.

Teams were given seven minutes to pitch their digital solutions to a panel of local technology leaders, tech and gaming influencers and representatives from the six partner charities. Judges then had the difficult task of determining which solutions could be quickly implemented and integrated into each charity’s existing interface. As a token of appreciation, teams were gifted commemorative jerseys reflecting each charity’s mascot.

The solutions created at this year’s Gift the Code™ were specifically designed to solve a digital challenge faced by six partner charities or non-profits in our community. This year, the teams provided a wide range of solutions from gamification to data collection and management.

“We’re so thrilled to have participated in Capital One’s Gift the Code™ Hackathon and to have the opportunity to implement a solution that will allow our counsellors to connect with each other in an open, peer-to-peer based support system,” boasted Ted Kaiser, VP, Innovation and Technology, Kids Help Phone. “We are especially excited to see how the suggested gamification system, built in Angular, will impact our community and team by using performance metrics to encourage and challenge counsellors.”

All 24 submitted solutions are open-source and will be available online at giftthecode.ca to allow for further development and implementation by other charities and non-profits.

The following are examples of digital solutions that were created to tackle the challenges that the partnering charities face:

Kids Help Phone – A chat bot to connect counsellors internally and encourage them through gamification which will create a peer-to-peer support system within the organization.

The 519 – Developed a secure registration platform for member of the LGBTQ+ community to access resources available to them. This allows The 519 to enhance their membership database and tailor programming availability to areas that need it most..

Autism Ontario – A searchable library of resources, available in French and English, that allows parents to easily navigate educational information. This empowers parents and caregivers to easily find what they’re looking for and eliminate the information overload many currently experience online.

Indspire – A solution that generates engagement in Indspire’s annual Soaring Indigenous Youth Empowerment Gathering by gamifying attendance. The Gathering provides assistance and coaching to Indigenous high school students as they prepare for post-secondary education and then later, to enter the workforce.

CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals – A data management solution leveraging machine learning to better serve client needs and present a case for funding opportunities. This advances the economic and social development of Toronto’s Black youth facing multiple barriers to employment.

Sistering – A chat bot that revolutionizes the conversations Sistering can foster with potential volunteers to provide additional information, insight, video and testimonials to encourage and educate on involvement possibilities.

To learn more about the Gift the Code™ Hackathon, visit: giftthecode.ca or follow #GiftTheCode on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

About Capital One Canada

With offices in Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo and Montreal, Capital One Canada has been offering Canadian consumers a range of competitive Mastercard credit cards since 1996. We challenge ourselves to see the world through the eyes of our customers, so we can deliver the market-leading credit products and exceptional service they’re looking for. Capital One Canada is a division of Capital One Bank, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE: COF). To learn more, visit: www.capitalone.ca

Media Contacts:

Andrew Clarke, Capital One Canada, 416-549-2930, Andrew.clarke@capitalone.com
Brittany Arnold, DDB Public Relations, 905-926-1863, Brittany.arnold@can.ddbpr.com