Location: Cambridge, Mass
What inspired you to start this project?
In the past year, the political climate has prompted me to want to be part of change. I wanted to find a way to make an impact for the causes I cared about. I had made a few small donations, and started to explore opportunities to donate my time and expertise. As a designer/developer, my time is best spent doing what I do best. I knew there were organizations out there that needed design and web development help, but it wasn’t easy to find them. I built Project 501 to help connect non-profits with skilled tech talent who were willing to donate their time.
What do you hope to accomplish with it?
I think it’s fair to say that most people who work in tech are motivated to make an impact — we like building things that improve people’s lives. Unfortunately, startups and tech giants simply have more money to spend on recruiting, which has created a serious shortage of design and tech talent working in government and non-profits.
The ultimate goal of Project 501 is to bring the level of talent and innovation currently applied in startups to non-profits. To do this, we need to build a path that makes it easy for tech talent to find exciting and meaningful opportunities to volunteer their expertise.
Personally, what is your charity of choice?
There’s so many organizations out there working on important causes. I’ll take this opportunity to represent a small organization local to Boston called Resilient Coders. Resilient Coders brings technical literacy to young people from traditionally underserved communities. They’re doing really great work; go support them!
Who inspires you to give?
My parents were good enough to teach me to be generous with my time and money. More recently, I’ve started reading Peter Singer’s writing on the concept of effective altruism.
What motivates you to give back in this way?
There’s a human aspect to giving – I think it’s important to find a way to give that you’re comfortable with. I could live in a smaller place further out of the city and donate half of my income, but I don’t think I would be as happy then. Donating my design and development expertise allows me to make an impact and help organizations, while doing what I love doing.
What do you think is important for people to be aware of in philanthropy:
Again, I think its so important to find a way to give that works for you. If you find a way to give (whether it’s time or money) that gets you excited, you’re going to give again and again.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Project 501 is currently looking for Volunteer Ambassadors to represent the platform and serve as a point of contact for local organizations in cities across the country. If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact me at team at project501.com