After Hurricane Sandy the NY tech community mobilized its resources and time to help with donations, rebuilding, and other relief efforts. Here is a round up of some different NY tech initiatives that are doing their part to help those affected by the storm:
- WNYC‘s New Tech City reported on the efficiency of the recovery post-Sandy. Host Manoush Zomorodi spoke with NY Tech Meetup chairman Andrew Rasiej, who helped launch nytechresponds.org where over one thousand tech experts have offered to donate time to businesses and non-profits struggling from tech problems caused by Sandy. In DUMBO, Rasiej noted that the tech community has allied before– in the aftermath of September 11. This disaster led to the creation of the National Tech Corps, a group of techies that would be available after or during emergencies for tech support. However, neither the Bush or Obama administration focused on this initiative, but there are similar ideas in the works to ally the tech community on a national level. Rasiej said, “The NYTM is trying to show that we can provide critical tech support, and it shouldn’t just be the role of government to provide relief and recovery.” Rasiej suggested using open mapping, search databases to help people find lost loved ones, and equipment supply to help communities help one another post-disasters.
- PC Mag covered the joint donation efforts of Tumblr and Humans of New York (HONY) photo blog in response to Sandy. In less than 24 hours, the fundraising team raised $100,000 for hurricane victims. HONY was started by Brandon Stanton, a NY photographer that set out to catalog the people of the city. The HONY Facebook page has over 424,000 fans and features daily photos of people that Stanton meets in NY. Tumblr and HONY dedicated the next ten days to helping Sandy victims, and reached their ten-day goal of $100,000 in one day. According to a spokeswoman for the campaign, the average donation is about $63. Tumblr and HONY are providing incentives and rewards for donations, including following HONY for a day. This prize can only be obtained by donation $2000+ dollars, so far three people will be shadowing Stanton. If you donate $30,000, HONY and Tumblr will gift you Stanton’s Canon EOS 7D, the camera that he uses for his photographs, this prize has yet to be claimed. All proceeds go directly to the Tunnel of Towers foundation which gives resources to areas hit hardest by the storm.
- AMNY compiled a list of volunteers that came forward during Sandy to help out in the best way they knew how. Jessica Klein, Mozilla designer, grew up in Belle Harbor in the Rockaways. During Sandy her parents refused to evacuate Klein’s childhood home, and when she arrived at the scene the next day her parents were stranded on the second floor and her neighborhood was in shambles. Klein decided to use her technology skills to help those in need. She created Rockawayhelp.com to coordinate volunteers and distribute donations, answer insurance questions, and address problems with power restoration. Before long, Klein was meeting with FEMA officials and organizing supplies for those in need. On Thursday her team joined up with Team Rubison, a disaster relief group, to do an intense clean up in the area. Nick Weissman of Williamsburg Brooklyn is a photographer who took pictures after the earthquake in Haiti. However, after Sandy Weissman felt like doing more than taking photos. He has been working with the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective to show Charlie Chaplin movies to antsy children and disabled people who have been stuck in shelters since Sandy. the collective also delivered food and other supplies to people in Coney Island. Additionally, Noah Reisman, a medical student at NY Methodist Hospital, volunteered his time and medical expertise to those in need of medical help after the storm.
- Reuters reported on NY-based iPhone app Budge, which set out to make donating to charities a social effort. The app lets friends challenge each other in games and activities. The loser has to make a donation of either $1, $2, or $5 to one of the charities supported by the app. Hillan Klein, co-founder and CEO of Budge said,”For us it’s really about changing the way people think about donating. We are driving to change the culture and say you can have fun while you do good.” Though the donation price tags seem small, they can add up. Klein noted that some people end up donating $24 to $50 in the course of a month. The app is partnered with organizations like Breastcancer.org, World Food Programme USA, and more. However, Budge is looking for more charity partners to aid with Sandy relief. Budge is free and available in the US and Australia.