Geeks plan all-nighter to help nonprofits build better Websites


January 4, 2008
Geeks plan all-nighter to help nonprofits build better Websites
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Kara Garbe with Twin Cities RISE!, an antipoverty group that provides job training, says her nonprofit could really use a better presence on the Web, but there’s no money for it.

“We really direct our funding in the most effective way we can, and that means providing services to our participants,” she said. “Having a high-end Website isn’t a top priority.”

Twin Cities Rise! is one of the Minnesota nonprofits that has applied to participate in the F1 Overnight Website Challenge – set to begin on March 1. The event will pair ten teams of Web developers with 10 Minnesota nonprofit organizations. Together, they’ll work for about 24 hours to design brand new Websites.

The Overnight Website challenge is sponsored by Sierra Bravo Corporation, a Twin Cities software development company.

“When you look at 24 hours of time from a team of five or six people, that’s a lot of value we’re delivering to the nonprofits,” said Mark Hurlburt of Sierra Bravo. “We’re hoping the teams are going to like working with the nonprofits and they’ll continue to be working with them and making that donation as time goes on,” he said.

Software developer Robert Fischer is a member of team, one of the geek teams that will be whipping up a new Website for a lucky nonprofit.

“It gives me a chance to get out there and work with some of these nonprofit organizations, and I’m the kind of person who likes to give back to the community and help out whenever I have the opportunity,” Fischer said.

Fischer’s team, or one of the other ten teams of geeks, will likely be working through the night with the Riverview Economic Development Association, which works to improve St. Paul’s West Side. REDA also organizes the annual Cinco De Mayo event.

“Our Website is fairly static right now and hasn’t changed in a long time,” said REDA’s Brian Gioielli. “We just felt it was time to upgrade a little bit.”