GiveBackHack Holds Their 5th Successful Columbus Event

For the 5th year in a row, GiveBackHack Columbus gathered some of the brightest and most philanthropic minds in the city in order to tackle some of our pressing social issues using technology.

On April 26th, more than 100 attendees poured into the third floor of the Crane Center at the Columbus College of Art & Design, anxiously awaiting for the event to begin. Co-facilitators Suzy Bureau, Louisa Lee, and Emily Stuhldreher introduced everyone to the competition format, as well as thanking the various sponsors that donated money and resources to the event.

Suzy let everyone know what was on the line; IGS Energy, United Way of Central Ohio, and The Columbus Foundation had come together to provide $20,000 for the top teams. The funding could change the attendees lives as the teams took an idea and turned it into a sustainable social enterprise.

To kick things off, Dr. Melanie Corn, President of CCAD, spoke about the importance of the creative skills that the design school embraces, and how creative people can use their skill sets to solve real-world problems.

Soon after, the attendees we taken through several team building and design thinking exercises, including selecting a leader, building value around an idea, pivoting, and elevator pitching.

After a quick break, the pitches began. More than 40 attendees lined up and were given 60 seconds to present their idea. The pitches ranged from cultural integration through cooking, to preventing the collapse of the honeybee population, to mental fitness exercises. In the end, 13 ideas were selected by the community to move forward, and by the end of the night, the teams had been formed.

The next day, the teams were tasked with creating an MVP and getting user validation. After a filling breakfast, the teams began working hard on figuring out how to tackle the first few roadblocks with their ideas. Several mentors, including non-profit founders, creative directors, and CEOs were available to give advice and lend a helping hand. The teams worked hard brainstorming ways to further validate their ideas in preparation for the final day of the event.

On Sunday, the teams were finishing up with their validations and MVPs, as well as getting in some practice for their final pitches. Each team gave their pitch a trial run by presenting to additional community leaders serving as mentors, receiving feedback before walking over to Canzani Auditorium to get a feel for the venue. Once each team went through their practice run, they were ready for their final presentations.

The 13 teams presented their ideas to a panel of six distinguished judges:

  • Councilmember Shayla D. Favor, Columbus City Council
  • Emily Savors, Director of Grants Management for The Columbus Foundation
  • Jen Bowden, Director of Social Impact at IGS
  • Lisa S. Courtice, Ph.D., CAP, President and CEO of United Way of Central Ohio
  • Lauren Gruenebaum, Chief Product Officer at Root Insurance Company
  • Kathleen Clyde, Portage County Commissioner

Each team was given just four and a half minutes to present, with an additional minute or two at the end for Q&A. Afterwards, the judges went to deliberate on which ideas would be funded.

In the end, seven teams were awarded resources, including the following three which received funding:

119 – A way to help the chronically ill inform the people around them of what to do should they have a medical emergency.

  • Received up to $7500
  • Consulting session with Zach Boerger of Drive Capital
  • Opportunity to practice pitches with LOUD Capital

Renter Mentor – A way to disrupt the Section 8 monopoly on the affordable housing market

  • Received up to $7500
  • 3 months of COVA co-working space with $150 in meeting room credit
  • Opportunity to practice pitches with LOUD Capital

Spice Up – A way to promote cultural integration through cooking and food

  • Received up to $5000
  • Admission to the SEA Change accelerator program

At the end of it all, 3 ideas were funded, and many others were awarded in-kind services and consultation opportunities, giving them the opportunity to take their next step forward. It was fantastic to see each team passionately taking action toward realizing their ideas, and we can’t wait to see how well these teams perform at SEA Change later this summer.

Here’s to another successful event, and looking forward to GiveBackHack Columbus 2020!

About GiveBackHack

GiveBackHack gives people the power to transform their communities for the better, starting with localized events that bring together passionate doers and experts to create solutions to real problems through a Lean Startup and Design Thinking Framework. The organization provides the framework, access, resources, and support needed to impact our communities for the better. Visit ​ to learn more about how GiveBackHack is the launchpad for social innovation.