GiveCamp_McCawOn October 18-20, UMBC hosted the third annual Baltimore GiveCamp, which was organized by Douglas McCaw ‘99, information systems. During this weekend-long hack-a-thon, more than 230 software developers, designers and database administrators donating their time to help 30 non-profit organizations complete various technical projects.

Due to its central location and ability to provide the necessary IT infrastructure, McCaw thought UMBC would be the perfect spot. “I also felt it would be a good opportunity for students to meet and work with professionals in the IT business.” A few students have participated over the years, and McCaw hopes for even more student involvement in the future.

McCaw first heard about GiveCamp – a national event developed by Chris Koenig – as a member of the Central Maryland Association of .net Developers (CMAP). McCaw knew it was something he wanted to bring to Baltimore, so he worked with CMAP to organize a Central Maryland GiveCamp chapter.

Since the event began three years ago, it has continually expanded to offer more and better services. One key change? Offering lectures on social media, which allows the non-profit representatives a chance to learn how to use current technologies to their advantage. And that’s what GiveCamp is all about – helping the dedicated people at these non-profits get skills and services they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

GiveCamp_doorThis year, one particular project stuck out for McCaw because it exemplified what is at the heart of GiveCamp. A non-profit that provides food and nutrition counseling for homebound residents needed a website, but they lacked the funds to make it happen. GiveCamp volunteers developed a website for them, which saved them time and money, and allowed them to expand their operations so they can continue to help people in need.

Projects like these revolutionize the way the non-profits work, but more than that, they represent an enormous philanthropic effort. Since McCaw launched his GiveCamp chapter, hundreds of developers have given of their time and talent, and the value of the services they offer has grown to more than $500,000. And he hopes to continue growing the Baltimore GiveCamp as a major event in the software development community.

“I would like to see the program include more non-profits, more attendance and more people from the community. We also hope to add more specialized programs that could help non-profits navigate technology, as well as help students and professionals gain experience in development.”

If you’re interested in taking part in next year’s GiveCamp, whether as a volunteer or a non-profit, registration opens in the spring and can be done on its website. Those interested in planning GiveCamp, please contact McCaw at douglas.mccaw@jhuapl.edu.

In honor of National Philanthropy Day, we compiled a list of other Retrievers, like McCaw, who are giving back. Read about them here.

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