The Calgary Probono Lounge Friday March 7, 2014

In 2010, while living in Washington D.C., I had the chance to partake in the inaugural edition of DC Week. Sandwiched in between this week long technology and social media festival, was an event called The ProBono Lounge.

As you can imagine, the metro D.C. area contains an active plethora of young tech savvy talent and a massive amount of struggling local, national and international Non-Profits (or NGOs or whatever you want to call them). The ProBono Lounge was designed to do dedicate one half day in the middle of the festival to pair up struggling local non-profits and organizations with web designers, web developers and social media experts for a little bit of a free workshop. The idea being that Non-profits and organizations would come into the lounge with their technical problems (usual web site and social media issues) and would then spend some time with a designer, developer or social media expert that would give them some advice with their issues. Sometimes they’d actually work on the issue that afternoon or work on something after meeting during The ProBono Lounge. Of course this was all a free service designed to give the tech community an opportunity to give back to the NPO/NGO community in the city.

Now the first rendition of the ProBono lounge was a bit all over the place, but I did manage to spend some hours in the lounge volunteering with a couple local DC NPOs that had signed-up. Out of that afternoon session, I ended up working with a small program called DC Food For All, which eventually turned into a three year working relationship with Bread For The City. As someone new to the city and looking for new projects, The DC ProBono Lounge was an amazing experience.

That experience has stuck in my brain for a long time. One of the things I promised myself was that If I was ever back in Calgary for a more formal time I’d try and set-up a similar thing here. Not only does Calgary have an equally talent pool of designers, developers and consultants, but it also has an amazing culture of volunteerism within the city itself. So this is really the perfect sort of thing for city.

Well, now I’m back and it’s time to get to work.

So over the next few weeks I’m going to putting together some information about the Calgary ProBono Lounge. But I wanted to write a quick blog post to plant the seed for the project.

If you’re interested in helping me get this idea off the ground, I’m going to be looking for the following:

  • Web designers, web developers, graphic designers and social media consultants that might be interested in volunteering an afternoon or some hours helping out a local NPO or charity.
  • I’ll be looking for local NPOs/Community Organizations that don’t have much money, are doing good work, but need some technical help.
  • I’ll also be looking for a place to hold this.
  • Coffee/Beer sponsors to purchase fuel for the afternoon/day.
  • And of course moral support sponsors.

I’m still tossing around the idea, but if you’re interested in helping me out with my little project or even participating, send me an email at cturner@armadillostudios.ca.

Categories: The-Calgary-Vibe, The-Corporation,

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