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Micro-Mentoring Nonprofit Entrepreneurs at Accelerate Good Global

MattRaible
Matt Raible
Developer Advocacy Director

This past week, I had the pleasure of volunteering my time to help with an #OktaforGood initiative: Micro-mentoring at the Accelerate Good Global conference. Micro-mentoring in this case involved discussions with nonprofit leaders that had questions about technology, or running their business. The conversations are limited to 20 minutes each, and I was able to talk with a lot of innovative nonprofits.

Accelerate Good Global is an event that aims to unite nonprofit tech entrepreneurs, technology leaders, and philanthropists who believe in leveraging tech for good. Okta was a sponsor of this conference, and they asked the @oktadev team if anyone wanted to sign up. I jumped at the opportunity to share my experience, talk about technology, and see if Okta’s Developer APIs could be useful.

Everyone I talked to had a great story and had started cool nonprofit companies. I felt the need to share the love and give them a little visibility.

Able Thrive

The first person I met with was Brittany Déjean, founder of Able Thrive. Her company curates disability content from people, organizations, and hospitals all over the world so that everyone can live an #AbleLife. It’s especially important to provide this content to people soon after an accident happens, to give them hope and guidance.

We talked about her story and why she started Able Thrive. I mentioned my good friend, Bruce Snyder and his bicycle accident. I suggested he’d be an excellent mentor for others in a similar situation. Brittany said she’d love to do a mentorship program and I said I’d intro her and Bruce. I also mentioned Okta for Startups as a way to provide single-sign-on for up to 25 employees. If you’re a nonprofit, the 25-person license is good indefinitely!

Nexleaf Analytics

I had a discussion with Denisse Ruiz and Natalie Evans from Nexleaf Analytics. They’re helping the world cook cleaner, with better stoves. They do this by gathering data about usage and emissions on stoves, then try to replace it with cleaner ones, and provide ways for people to pay for the stove just by using it.

According to the World Health Organization, household air pollution from cooking, heating, and lighting is a big problem:

Around 3 billion of the world’s poorest people still rely on solid fuels (wood, animal dung, charcoal, crop wastes and coal) burned in inefficient stoves for cooking and heating, and some 1.2 billion light their homes with simple kerosene lamps. These household energy practices emit large quantities of health-damaging particulate matter and climate warming pollutants (e.g., black carbon) into the household environment, increasing the risk of respiratory illnesses, including childhood pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular diseases, and lung cancers.

I’m sure Nexleaf offers more than just household pollution sensors, but these were the only ones we discussed. IMO, making household air cleaner is a very noble cause. You can read about clean stoves in an article on Nexleaf's website: StoveTrace: How Data Can Help Steer Clean Cooking in the Right Direction.

Credit Do

I met with Chris Avila Hübschmann, Founder and CEO of Credit Do. Her company wants to help deliver the first debt-free generation. They’re doing this by providing opportunities for students (high-school aged currently) to volunteer at social good opportunities and earn credit in local stores. She said many of the events are all about showing up and it’s a great lesson to teach how important that is.

From Credit Do’s homepage:

We create unique opportunities for purchasing food, clothes, school supplies, and other essential goods in exchange for doing social good. We call them Smarter Barters.

It’s a very cool idea, and I hope they succeed in making financial independence a reality for all.

Peerlift

The last team I met with was Julie Chen and Sam Gorman from Peerlift. Their company connects high school students of all backgrounds to a proven selection of exceptional opportunities for college. They have a cool site, and it's right up my alley since I have kids that are in high school and looking to improve their credentials for college.

Sam showed me the mobile app, which is hosted on Firebase. We talked about PWAs versus native mobile apps. They hadn’t heard of PWAs but were very interested, and I explained their web apps that act like native apps. They can even be installed! Their only downside is they aren't listed in app stores, but Microsoft recently said PWAs would be featured in their store: "We believe PWAs should be discoverable everywhere apps are discoverable – this means they should appear in the Microsoft Store alongside native apps."

I encouraged Sam to sign up for a free Okta Developer account, start adding personalization to their app and read my Ultimate Guide to Progressive Web Applications. We hit it off so well; we’ve already connected on LinkedIn. I hope to help (and use!) Peerlift figure out how to provide more opportunities and engage with their community.

It was a fun day volunteering at Okta, where all employees get three days per year to give back to their communities. I’m happy I was able to give back to the tech community and meet so many impressive entrepreneurs!

Speaking of cool stuff, did you hear we helped plan and coordinate the Iterate Developer Conference just a couple weeks ago? We had a great time and met a lot of happy developers. See it through the eyes of those on Twitter in Tweeting Okta's Iterate 2018 Developer Conference by @oktadev’s very own Lindsay Brunner.

As part of Iterate, we gathered pledges from people to donate to open source projects. We're delighted to announce we collected **183 hours** of pledged open source contribution time!

To learn more about Okta for Good, see https://www.okta.com/okta-for-good/.

 
 
MattRaible
Matt Raible
Developer Advocacy Director

Matt Raible is a well-known figure in the Java community and has been building web applications for most of his adult life. For over 20 years, he has helped developers learn and adopt open source frameworks and use them effectively. He's a web developer, Java Champion, and Developer Advocate at Okta. Matt is a frequent contributor to open source and a big fan of Java, IntelliJ, TypeScript, Angular, and Spring Boot.

Matt is also a member of the bad-ass JHipster development team and loves classic VWs. You can find him online at @mraible and https://raibledesigns.com.

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