October 26-28, 2018


Have you ever wanted to be a part of the solution for issues in your community? Have you ever had an idea to solve those issues? GiveBackHack is your next step. Attend to partner up with the community and find the resources to make ideas into a reality.

We’re currently planning for our first GiveBackHack Baltimore. Check back here for updates or contact us to get involved!


Brittany Young

Founder of B360

Brittany Young is Baltimore native and founder of B-360. B-360 utilizes dirt bike culture to end the cycle of poverty, disrupt the prison pipeline, and build bridges in communities. In partnership with Baltimore City Community College and NASA, she serves as the project manager of the BCCC STEM Scholars Program - merit based scholarship and internship program designed to increase the number of African- Americans in the STEM field starting at the community college/GED level.

She has programmed nuclear & power plants, manufactured products, developed medical devices, and planned satellite explorations, but finds the most satisfaction in her roles in STEM education, mentoring and overall service to her community. She describes herself as a socioeconomic engineer - connecting people, resources and opportunities to those in need. She wants to use her experiences to build solutions that benefit the community, uplift voices and challenge people to tap into their inner genius.

Eric Sabelhaus

DevOps at Fearless

Eric is a DevOps engineer and a full-stack software engineer working at Fearless.  He's designed, aided in, and facilitated the successful deployment and engineering on numerous large scale applications. Eric has always had a passion for building and implementing applications that meet core user needs, and he promotes application success at the development team-level using a well-practiced scrum agile methodology. Eric strives to use technology to make a difference in his surrounding community. He currently lives in Baltimore City, where he is passionate about improving the quality of life for all of its citizens.


Smitha Gopal

CEO of Rendia

Smitha Gopal is the CEO of Rendia, a Baltimore-based company that creates visual patient education software to help doctors and patients communicate with each other. Prior to joining Rendia (formerly Eyemaginations), Smitha worked at a boutique investment bank. She earned an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Finance from the University of Virginia. Smitha is a member of the Betamore Advisory Board, the Venture for America Baltimore Advisory Board, and the GBC LEADERship Class of 2017. She lives in Baltimore City with her family.

Michael Rosenbaum

Chairman and CEO of Arena

Mike founded and is the Chairman and CEO of Arena, which applies predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to talent, hiring, and team assembly. Mike also founded and is now the Executive Chair of Catalyte, a company he started to apply predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to the software engineering industry, with the goal of improving productivity and results of software engineering efforts by removing implicit biases related to race, class, gender, and other factors. Earlier in his career Mike was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics at Harvard, and served at the White House as an economist, at the U.S. Department of State on trade issues and issues related to the former Soviet Union, and at Coopers & Lybrand in the Russian Federation on privatization and commercialization in the early 1990’s.

In the community he serves on the board of Bryn Mawr School, on the Innovation Council of Lifebridge Health, and on the Rework America Task Force of the Markle Foundation.  Previously he has been on the board of the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Family Tree, non the Leadership Council of the Open Society Institute Baltimore, and as President of the Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Maryland.  Mike has a JD from Harvard Law School, an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA from Harvard College.

Myra Norton

President and COO of Arena

Myra Norton is the COO and President of Arena. Norton has extensive academic experience as an administrator and professor in mathematics and statistics at Temple University, Towson University and the United States Naval Academy. She has been featured as a speaker and facilitator at several industry events and she has collaborated with researchers from Harvard University, Babson College, University of Virginia, the National Institutes of Health, University of Maryland, and the University of Chicago.

In the community she leads the National Girls Collaborative Project as part of her work with the Center for Women in Technology, she serves as member and past chair of the Industrial Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Information Technology at UMBC, she mentors college students and young professionals in the Baltimore area, and she works with high school students through the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). Norton graduated from the University of Alabama with a BS in Math Education and received an MA in Mathematics and an MS in Statistics at Temple University.

John Jones

Vice President of Interactive Strategies at Case Foundation

John Jones is the Vice President of Interactive Strategies at the Case Foundation. John leads technical strategy, interactive campaign development and the digital execution for the Foundation’s programs and movements. He has a passion for technology and finding ways for it to both serve and lead the Foundation’s efforts. A developer by education, you can often find John dissecting new technologies and research to discover what impact it can have.

John’s current focus is leading an initiative at the Foundation to embrace the open source community. It is his goal to make releasing open source software a key aspect of every campaign the Foundation undertakes and establish the Case Foundation in the open source community as leaders for philanthropically-oriented projects.

Event Sponsors

Directions & Parking

Allovue, R. House 2nd Floor, 301 West 29th St, Baltimore MD 21211


Valerie Garrison is a Product Manager at emocha Mobile Health, a Baltimore-based startup building high-impact technology in the public health sector. Valerie is also a Venture for America (VFA) fellow and the Social Impact Liaison for the Baltimore VFA Chapter. In her free time, Valerie enjoys biking, swing dancing, and engaging in her local community.

Olivia is a 2016 Venture for America fellow who works for Sagamore Ventures. She grew up in Catonsville and went to UNC for college, where she studied economics and entrepreneurship. She completed internships at startups in NYC (Honest Buildings) and San Francisco (Airbnb). Now she spends her time outside of work running, mentoring through Thread, beekeeping, cooking, reading memoirs, and using the fireplace in her apartment.

Snehal Sawlani works as Client Success Manager at Arena, a predictive analytics startup in Baltimore, MD. She is also a Class of 2015 Venture for America alumnus. Previously, Snehal has worked in R&D at a large pharmaceutical company and in an academic stem cell research lab. She co-founded her university's chapter of iGEM, an international synthetic biology research competition. Outside of work, Snehal spends her time volunteering for Chayn, doing hot yoga, and appreciating the local arts scene.

Kevin is currently the Student Venture Coordinator for FastForward U - the branch of Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures which provides entrepreneurial education and resources to Hopkins students. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2016 with a M.S. in Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA for short) and is a 2017 Venture for America fellow. Kevin is also the Co-Founder of What's Mapnin', a startup which connects college students with their local business community through entertaining and engaging caricature maps. With any free time, he enjoys spending time with the Baltimore VFA cohort, playing poker at Maryland Live, and all things baseball (Go Marlins!).

Mike Ong is an Associate at Legends of Learning, a D.C.-based startup focused on creating science games for grades 3-8 that increase engagement and test scores. Mike is a 2018 Venture for America fellow and graduated from Ohio State with a major in accounting. Mike enjoys cooking, finding new music, and engaging in his local community.

Nitin Sampathi is a multi-disciplined designer from Baltimore, MD, who currently works as an Interaction Designer at emocha Mobile Health. He graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a Master's in User Experience Design in 2017. During his free time he enjoys hiking, re-watching episodes of The Office, and exploring and documenting Baltimore through drone photography.

Karina Mandell graduated from St. Mary's College of Maryland and after a few years. moved from social work to social entrepreneurship and impact projects. She is now building  Green Smart Cities, working to create a sustainable community, an EcoDistrict, within Baltimore. In addition she also leads Sync The City, a tech startup that offers a marketplace for companies looking to share resources and partner on mutually aligned projects.

Pre-submitted Ideas

Submit your Idea 

  • 1. Spare – Change for Charity submitted by Merlin Patterson

    Spare – Change for CharitySubmitted by Merlin Patterson

    What is the problem are you solving?

    Charitable giving does not happen as much as it could. Based on some quick research, people do not donate for a variety of reasons (too small to make a difference, poverty can't be solved, charities aren't vetted), and in America it seems charitable giving is down from previous years. (,

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    Spare will use the change left over after a purchase rounded up to the nearest dollar and donate it to charities of your choice that have been vetted by us. This will make giving automatic and ensure that the most of your money is making the most impact. Spare will eventually also provide educational tools about charity to help people give even more.

    Is this idea brand new or has it been partially-vetted?

    Brand New

    Why are YOU uniquely positioned to solve the problem? What other people do you need to help?

    The team I need includes a designer for great UX, someone connected to charities to form partnerships, and a marketer who can market well to charitable consumers.

    As a developer, I am capable of building the scalable platform that Spare needs. As a social entrepreneur, I have the background through fellowships and accelerators to ensure that this idea becomes the leading social platform for change it can be.

  • 2. Phone Pregnancy Blood Test submitted by Merlin Patterson

    Phone Pregnancy Blood TestSubmitted by Merlin Patterson

    What is the problem are you solving?

    Typical home pregnancy test kits use urine to test for a specific hormone hCG. While these can be accurate, they are less sensitive than blood tests, possibly leading to false negatives. However blood tests have to be done in a doctor's office, which is inconvenient, and typically more expensive.

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    By using a smartphone and a custom blood test adapter, blood tests can be made convenient, cost effective, and get you more accurate and sensitive results.

    Is this idea brand new or has it been partially-vetted?

    Brand New

    Why are YOU uniquely positioned to solve the problem? What other people do you need to help?

    To start off with, as a genderless person who cannot get pregnant, I am not the ideal spokesperson for this tool nor can I give appropriate feedback. So there should be someone on the team who can get or has been pregnant. This can of course merge with another role.

    Other roles needed are a bio engineer who can build the blood test adapter, a UX person to design the experience, and someone who understands how to get a device like this approved by the necessary departments

    For myself, I can build the mobile app in a scalable way to handle the complexities of blood testing.