February 1-3, 2019


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.

At the upcoming event, you’ll gain access to a wide variety of people – technology experts, social impact experts, startup folks & more.  This community is everything needed to get a social impact idea off the ground! We have stellar mentorship, the right framework and all the resources you need to continue to move your current* social impact idea forward, launch something brand new, or join a team of folks doing great social impact work!

At the end of the weekend-long event, we have >$2,000 and in-kind resources to provide to teams to help them move their ideas forward even further.

Email us at with questions!


*any idea that is not brand new must be submitted in advance


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.

Marc Hausle

Head of User Experience at Bytelion

Marc Hausle is the Head of User Experience at Bytelion, a custom software development firm located in Hampstead, Maryland that builds applications for start-ups, enterprise clients, and government clients. Marc is a user experience expert dating back from his career at Apple and Google. At Google, he led and built the Google Play Review Team and made an impact on hundreds of apps used by billions of people all over the world. He worked closely with the Material Design Team establishing the rules and guidelines for one of the most used design systems in the world. Marc now leads the Bytelion's design strategy with a focus on providing efficient, delightful user experiences that provide value to businesses and their users. When Marc is not working he enjoys spending time with his 5 children and helping the tech community learn about the importance of design.

Chris Van de Verg

Principal at Van de Verg Law Office

Chris Van de Verg is the start-up entrepreneur's best friend. He is passionate about ensuring the success of new businesses from set up and incorporation, all the way through to the final details of a sale. At every step, he will protect your business and your interests, and provide peace of mind throughout. Chris helped found Annapolis-based CoreTel Communications, Inc. and served 19 years as General Counsel there. During this time, he guided the growth of this home-grown startup into a group of affiliated companies, which included eight regional Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLEC)s and five wholesale Voice-Over-Internet Protocol (VOIP) service providers operating in multiple states along the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Prior to his tenure with CoreTel, Chris worked as a solo-practitioner with an office in Baltimore, serving local technology-based startups, including Severna Park-based Internet service provider, ToadNet. Chris received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore Law School in May of 1996 and was admitted to the Maryland Bar in December of 1996. He graduated from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, with honors, in May of 1993. Currently, Chris is pursuing a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Law degree at his alma mater, the University of Maryland Baltimore Francis King Carey School of Law. Chris uses his passion and experience navigating IT companies through the startup phase to empower local Maryland tech businesses in the Baltimore City, Columbia, and Annapolis regions.

Jamie McDonald

CEO Generosity Inc. and Co-Founder at The Courageous

Jamie McDonald is the Founder of Generosity Inc.  Jamie McDonald is a nationally known social-sector entrepreneur. She serves as an advisor to socially motivated CEOs and visionaries driving large-scale change.

After 16 years as an investment banker, Jamie shifted her personal mission from startups and venture capital to innovation and growth of the generosity economy.  She launched Generosity Inc. after the acquisition of GiveCorps, a crowdfunding and community building software platform she co-founded in 2011. GiveCorps was acquired by Network for Good, the nation’s largest online charitable giving platform, in 2014.

Jamie writes and speaks about transformational innovation, social impact and movement building, next generation philanthropy, and the role of business in social change. She advises companies, nonprofits, cities and states around the country.

John Cammack

Managing Partner of Cammack Associates

John H. Cammack is Managing Partner of Cammack Associates, which specializes in early stage investing in enterprises advancing brain fitness, business services and educational attainment.

From 1991 to 2009, Mr. Cammack was a senior executive at T. Rowe Price where he served as Division Head and member of the firm’s Operating Steering Committee, Institutional Marketing Steering Committee, Compliance Oversight Committee and member of T. Rowe Price Investment Services Board. Current board assignments included,, ABAG (Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers), Baltimore Corps, Betamore, Fusiform, and Calvert Education Services. Past roles include the Chairmanship of the United Way of Central Maryland and the Mutual Fund Education Alliance.

Mr. Cammack graduated from Denison University with a BA in History and received his MBA from Columbia University.

Event Sponsors


Friday - February 1

Doors Open
Dinner & networking (don't miss this!)
Friday night begins! We'll cover everything you need to know, let you pitch, vote on top ideas & form teams for the weekend
Wrap up!
Facilities close

Saturday - February 2

Doors open & breakfast to start the day!
Morning business/mentors arrive
Community updates - circle up and discuss progress
Afternoon Mentors arrive
Wrap up!
Facilities close

Sunday - February 3

Doors open + breakfast to start the day
Business/mentors arrive + community updates
Pitch practice and presentation tech check
Final Presentations Begin
Judging and awards
Wrap up and celebrate
Facilities close

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.

  • 3. Sync the City submitted by Karina Mandell

    Sync the CitySubmitted by Karina Mandell

    What is the problem are you solving?

    Local businesses in Baltimore are unable to take advantage of opportunities because their needs aren't being matched with relevant partners. There is plenty of data to show that most people/organizations are "siloed" and stay within their networks, however research has shown that the "weak ties" can provide the greatest connectivity. Baltimore itself suffers from the "white L" that segregates businesses geographically and racially.

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    Our idea is to create a network of local businesses that will allow them to broadcast 1) what they are working on, 2) what their needs are, and 3) what amenities they have to offer others, all in real-time. The application will also match businesses with new partners based on specific needs. As a business grows, the app will refine matches and account for skill, knowledge, and ability of partners so that each is on the "same level" to optimize productivity.

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


    How you have vetted your idea and the success or difficulties you have seen thus far?

    We have spoken with local business owners and city leaders, and they all like our idea. We have worked with a few developers to generate a proof of concept, but we are still trying to tie everything together and make a polished product. We need more developers, coders, and designers, in addition to business advice to launch a product.
    One of the greatest difficulties is the significant gaps in data. Baltimore has nearly 30,000 businesses. How can we know that any given network is full and complete, without any gaps? In other words, we don't know what we are missing.

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

    I am passionate about helping businesses get what they need, especially non-profits and services. I have seen first hand how organizations lament the lack of resources, yet they don't know about the other organization down the road that can provide exactly what they need. I have acted as a business "matchmaker" in several instances, and have seen the positive interactions, profit, and growth that have resulted when the right two businesses come together. This is a great feeling, but I know it can be scaled up city-wide and will impact everyone for the better. It will break down silos and sync the city!

  • 4. HEADS UPP submitted by Velda Day

    HEADS UPPSubmitted by Velda Day

    What is the problem are you solving?

    Helping young men coming out of the youth detention facilities to walk in their future with their heads up and not their hands cuffed. Yes there is plenty of data.

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    HEADS UPP is a residential facility that will allow the young men an opportunity to change the element from which they came. WE will show young men how to have and keep the mindset to be productive members of society by exposing them to educational tools, workshops, job training, and parenting skills.

    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?

    I am a firm believer that if we show our young men how to be responsible they will become the head of their household and the generation cycle will be broken. From talking to young men in gangs and in the streets, it is obvious they were not given the time, attention or guidance needed to be successful. They believe that no one understand them or want to be bother with them, other them those that are like them. Our commitment is to provide interactive learning by teaching awareness and understanding of the factors that contribute to an escalating crisis and the techniques for maintaining control in the face of aggressive behavior. We are in need of residual housing, furniture, household items, food and all the trimmings.
    Our Focus:
     Relationship Development
     GED Classes
     Career Development
     Substance Abuse Groups
     Anger Management Classes
     Support Groups for Physical and Sexual Abuse
     Healthy Safe Sex Practices & Resources
     Gang/Bullying Prevention