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  • Northside West

Charities win from PayPal’s hackathon

Sunday, 2nd December, 2018 1:00pm
Charities win from PayPal’s hackathon

Pictured at this year’s Opportunity Hack is Sabina Cotter Irish Youth Foundation (centre), with PayPal Ireland staff Karel Lootens, Sasha Palmer, Francesca Placido and Pádraig Corcoran.

Charities win from PayPal’s hackathon

Pictured at this year’s Opportunity Hack is Sabina Cotter Irish Youth Foundation (centre), with PayPal Ireland staff Karel Lootens, Sasha Palmer, Francesca Placido and Pádraig Corcoran.

STAFF from PayPal were at Castleknock Hotel earlier this month to take part in a challenge to create and develop digital resources and systems for Irish charities over a 24-hour period.

Opportunity Hack involved employees from various disciplines including coding, software development, customer support, risk and compliance, who were tasked with working with the charities to develop solutions for their most pressing digital needs.

A judging panel consisting of various members of the Blanchardstown based PayPal team - including senior directors Anthony Rafferty and Mairead McIlkenny, as well as Emmet Ryan, Technology Editor at the Sunday Business Post, Guy Thompson, General Manager of Castleknock Hotel, and Anthony Cooney, CEO of the Fingal Chamber of Commerce – had the difficult task of choosing the best projects.

Based on the criteria – including innovation, collaboration, impact, completion and presentation – the Irish Youth Foundation team was crowned the overall winner.

The organisation, which financially supports projects and develops programmes that make a difference to children and young people facing adversity in their lives, built an online system for grant-making.

The new system allows applicants to apply for grants via web forms and enables the Irish Youth Foundation to maintain, filter and notify applicants. It also allows the team to create reports and prevents them from having to process everything manually.

The other projects that benefitted from new digital solutions created at the hackathon included the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, which provides services and supports for those living with dementia and their carers. 

A virtual tea day was the aim. The organisation wanted to have the ability to send a virtual cup of tea to friends and family via email after making a donation. The capability also shows a live tea-drinking counter and a money raised counter.

PayPal staff also helped Drumcondra based Child Vision, the only organisation in Ireland dedicated to the education and therapy needs of blind and multi-disabled children.

The staff helped create an online community platform for them. The mobile app provides a hub for parents and volunteers, and hosts a donations centre for fundraising and event notifications. 

Focus Ireland, the country’s leading not-for-profit addressing and raising awareness about homelessness, also joined forces with PayPal personnel to create a standalone donation platform so they could set up and accept donations in the form of both once-off payments and standing orders.

ALONE, which provides housing and support for older people, wanted help with a virtual thrift store. The team developed a platform for sellers to pay to advertise their unwanted goods and receive donations from ‘buyers.’

This offers a number of payment options, without involvement from ALONE, and ensures that all funds go to the charity.

Anthony Rafferty, Director of EMEA Merchant Operations, PayPal spoke about the hackathon.

“At PayPal, we are passionate about giving back to the wider community and supporting our teammates in their careers,” he said.

“We want to help everyone reap the benefits of technology and that is what the hackathon is all about: it is a fun way to help charities harness digital and mobile funding for deserving causes, while providing PayPal teammates with a sense of achievement and an opportunity to develop their skills.

“We started the hackathon three years ago and every year we are incredibly proud of how it engages Irish charities and our teammates. It is testament to both our people and the community around us.”

Guy Thompson, General Manager, Castleknock Hotel and Country Club, said the hotel was honoured to host Opportunity Hack once again.

“For the third year running, we’ve witnessed the contribution the event makes to worthwhile causes,” he said.

“It’s brilliant to see PayPal so actively involved in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As a former President of the Fingal Chamber of Commerce, CSR is something I'm particularly passionate about.

“I'm delighted that Castleknock Hotel and Country Club continues to collaborate with PayPal on this innovative initiative that provides charities with practical and tangible technological help.”

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here