Social injustice speaks volumes about the world we live in today. Time after time in history, Black lives have been dismissed and systemically targeted in a negative light; we stand in solidarity against repetition of Black oppression in our history. Discrimination towards Black lives must end.
We understand that working to abolish the social injustice directed toward the Black community may seem intimidating with the plethora of ways to contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement. We wanted to create a platform that would enable people to contribute to fighting social injustice, no matter how big or small.
By creating Make Cents, our goal of helping support human rights and the end of systemic racism is now simple and streamlined. Together, it is our responsibility to cease anti-Black sentiments. Creating an impact can start with baby steps, beginning with something that makes sense.
What it does
Make Cents provides anyone the opportunity to donate change to various organizations dedicated to fighting racial injustice and supporting black communities. Users start by creating an account and linking it to their bank account through Plaid in a secure and intuitive manner. Users can then search for and select different organizations they wish to donate to, shown with information regarding their causes and links to their websites. Once they have selected their organization preferences, everyday transactions will automatically be rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the spare change will be donated to the respective causes. Via the dashboard, users can see their recent transaction activity and view different statistics on their donations, summed up by a donation activity graph. Users will also be able to add multiple bank accounts/credit cards with each unique one contributing to a different organization.
How we built it
The frontend was built using React, Ant-Design, HTML, and CSS. The backend was built using Node.js, Express, and APIs for Plaid and Stripe. These two APIs allow us to connect with the user's bank account and keep track of their transactions. We use Firebase to store login information and general user data.
Challenges we ran into
The biggest challenge with the project was interfacing with the Plaid and Stripe APIs. Having everything work out from the third-party APIs through our backend proved to be tricky, but we were able to figure out and eliminate the bugs we encountered.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud that we were able to make a full-stack web application like Make Cents in such a short amount of time. Make Cents combines banking transactions and payment processing on our backend with an intuitive user interface on our frontend. We believe that Make Cents could easily be an application utilized by anyone in order to contribute to fighting social injustice. Our application is simple for anyone to use, making it easy for users to easily find organizations to donate to.
We're also proud of how well we adapted to a virtual hackathon. Our team stayed in strong communication throughout the hackathon, constantly staying on both Zoom and Facebook messenger. Coupled with Git for version control, we were able to work efficiently and effectively, despite the fact that we were in separate locations.
What we learned
We utilized a large amount of technology to create Make Cents and we all learned a lot from working with so much of it.
To reiterate, we called several APIs including Stripe and Plaid. In addition, the whole server was tied together with a Node.js, Express, and Firebase backend.
The large amount of technologies that went into this application meant that this entire project was a constant learning process for all five of us. We had a lot of fun facing the numerous challenges that were thrown at us and we were not scared to get knee deep into documentation.
What's next for Make Cents
We didn't have a chance to create a system to deduct the change from the user's account. This is the next crucial step to making the website functional. We would also need to set up a payment system to make sure that the user's donations were properly sent to the charities that they chose.