Morgan's family home was destroyed by a tornado in MA 8 years ago. As she watched her community try to organize itself the design for emerged. See her story on video through Supporting Resilient Communities, Inc..

What it does is a communication platform that connects people impacted by a local disaster with those who want to donate items and/or volunteer. Run by the local organizations that are responding to the event, provides a central hub to post current information about what services and resources agencies are offering and events of interest to all stakeholders: disaster victims and survivors, evacuees, first responders, service providers, long term recovery groups, members of the public who want to help and funding organizations.

How we built it

The site was first put together with the help of Code for America and several MIT students in 2011 after the tornado. Now it's time to improve the user interface and update the code.

Challenges we ran into

Accomplishments that we're proud of

What we learned

The largest user of was a volunteer group in Sonoma County who activated on Sept. 9, 2017, the day after the outbreak of the Tubbs Fire. We learned that the site works best when a community uses it for pre-disaster preparation and all the relief agencies collaborate to share information and have at least one staff member trained to get current data on and off the platform. Even without pre-event setup, helps interagency communication during the relief and recovery periods. It is especially useful in getting help to victims who aren't aware of where resources are available and those who are at great risk of slipping through official agency cracks. The Needs, Donations and Volunteer data bases buffer the immediate rush of help offered by the wider community and permits individuals and agencies to call on these resources during the years long recovery period.

What's next for 2.0

We are currently organizing teams of user-centered designers and coders to analyze the current function of the site and specify improvements to be coded into the next version (2.0) during 2019. The new platform will be open source and have several API's that permit communities to link to other resources and databases. In addition, the back office permissions structure will be enhanced to facilitate better data access, AI-augmented matching of needs requesters with donors and volunteers with agencies will be implemented and a more consistent user interface will be put in place.

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