Sharing Resources for Public Good: Chi Hack Night

Braintree has a long history of supporting employees and the communities they’re a part of by offering space or resources for causes they believe in. One example of this is the company’s ongoing commitment to the Community Team: a group of developers who spend part of each week building partnerships with tech-focused groups through conference sponsorships, local grants, and partnering with outside groups to host events that draw members of the tech community to our offices.

We do this for a lot of reasons: it increases awareness of our people and our capabilities; it helps us reach out to potential recruits; and it provides a way for consumers of our services to get to know more about our technical interests. But our main motivation for putting in long hours for events is driven by a core Braintree value: “Care, a lot.” Luckily, for many of us, the passion we have for our company happens to be closely aligned with the passion we have for the community -- it works out pretty well.

One great example of a Community Team event is our ongoing partnership with Chi Hack Night. For the last three years we’ve provided a home base for this group every Tuesday night as their numbers have grown to thousands of participants. They reach out to communities all over Chicago and connect designers, planners, developers, activists, and even bystanders together to challenge their minds and build tools to augment and improve Chicago civic life. Here’s a quick introduction:

And it’s not just individual volunteers or Braintree seeing the benefit. There are dozens of examples where you can see the results of Chi Hack Night being used by the City of Chicago or Cook County to improve the services to the city and surrounding areas. In fact, local government has been actively engaged in Chi Hack Night for years, using it as a source for contributions to its open-source research work. For instance, this video showcases three separate projects that leverage community analysis and tools to help preserve the cleanliness and safety of Chicago waterways:

The Chi Hack Night organizers constantly measure the needs of their community and partner with us to make the most of our space and our volunteer time. They have continuously made improvements on how the weekly event is organized to make sure that newcomers are welcome, our employees are not disrupted, and that they provide the best possible environment for good work to happen. They work hand-in-hand with our amazing volunteers from across the Community Team and Braintree to ensure that every hack night is a successful one.

CHI Hack Night

And the result? Fantastic. Chi Hack Night is a shining example of how individuals can make an impact on the world around them, and it’s thrilling to see the great press that it’s received. We truly enjoy this partnership and hope to continue it as we also strive to be the best citizens and community members we can be.

Ray Berg Ray Berg is a developer and member of the Braintree Community team. More posts by this author

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