Track: Inequality


Inequity pervades every aspect of society: economic, social, physical, spiritual, environmental, and others. In the United States’ democratic sphere, giving to nonprofit organizations is a means for citizens to express interest in these cause areas and advocate for different issues. However, too many times people don’t give because there are too many charities, overwhelming fundraiser mailings, and hard-to-see impact. We hope to break down these barriers by developing charity portfolios for users that diversify among their cause interests, allowing users to give monthly to a portfolio they can manage and learn about new charities that match their interests. So we hope to make giving easy, and connect givers and nonprofits heart to heart.

What it does

Charitable creates a unique charity portfolio for each user from a database of charities listed on Charity Navigator, selecting a number of charities based on the cause areas and monthly monetary value provided by users at setup. These charity portfolios can be managed by users, and charity information pages are generated for each charity in the database for users to discover new charities.

How we built it

We built a web app using ReactJS, and we used Google’s Firebase platform for user authentication and Firestore for our database containing all charities. We got design inspiration from Google’s Material UI framework.

Challenges we ran into

Working remotely was a challenge for our team, as we had to find times to meet up and work together despite not being in the same space together. We ran into technical obstacles regarding Git and merge conflicts due to our team size, and some of us had to learn web development from scratch.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We’re proud of the website we’ve built in such a short time, and how much our team members have learned–especially those new to programming and web development. Our team members experienced significant growth across the board, as we learned how to improve our programming skills as well as keep UI/UX in mind as we built our project. Interacting with the database for authentication and data storage was complex for us, and we’re happy with the functionality we were able to build into the site.

What we learned

Our team ranged from full-stack developers to first time React programmers. So, we each learned programming in ReactJS and with Firebase to different degrees. Yet collectively, we discovered the extent of charitable work organized in the U.S. alone and the potential for applications to connect data to users through a singular giving platform.

What's next for Charitable

We want to create dynamic portfolios that change annually based on user interactions with charity information sites, allowing users to discover new charities. We also want to incorporate more expansive datasets on U.S. charities to improve our recommendations to users. We envision a large network of U.S. charities promoting donations through Charitable to encourage giving.

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