This blog post was guest-written by Faith Lin, Community Relations Manager at Cisco

Here at Cisco, we value social impact and making a difference in our own communities. Often times, we do so by volunteering with local nonprofits. Other times, we use our passion, creativity, and talent to empower these non-profits with new tools and solutions.

From October 28 to November 3, Cisco, in partnership with PayPal, Intuit, and Coding Dojo, sponsored the 5th annual Opportunity Hack. The hackathon gave employees the chance to network, share ideas, and build solutions that enable change and social innovation for non-profits.

We worked closely with organizations and community partners to create fun and challenging problem statements that could lead to solutions that someday create a lasting impact within our communities.

Sometimes, nonprofits don’t have access to the technological or business expertise that we and our partnering companies leverage daily. But in just 48 hours, our employee participants developed and implemented real technological improvements to help them operate more efficiently, and potentially, scale their impact.

This is what makes Opportunity Hack so powerful–not only are we bridging the gap between technology and social change, but we are doing so in a fast-paced and exciting environment.

This year’s participating organizations and nonprofits included Citizen Schools, The Bread Project, Give Light Foundation, Food Craft Institute, EARN Inc, the City of San Jose, and Ushahidi. Their projects and assignments ranged from mobile apps and e-commerce platforms to chatbots and real-time status trackers.

Over the course of the first weekend, participants divided themselves into teams and hacked through the nigh before demoing their progress on Sunday. Then, the following Friday, after teams presented their ideas to a panel of esteemed judges, the winners were finally announced.

Team Plato, which included our very own Tran Tu and Joy Dai, won first place

We want to thank the many Cisco employees who dedicated their time to this great cause. Among the judges was our very own Harbrinder Kang, VP of Cisco Corporate Affairs, who gave his time on Friday to listen to and evaluate all of the presentations.

We are also very proud of Tran Tu and Joy Dai, who were part of the 1st place team, Plato! They worked with Ushahidi, a Cisco Foundation grantee, to develop a chatbot for crisis response and human rights reporting.

“We created a solution for Ushahidi, which is a crowdsourcing platform for people to report crises and human rights violations,” Tran and Joy said. “It has been deployed in over 160 countries.”

We also want to thank Ajith Chandran for participating as a mentor and helping The Bread Project win the People’s Choice Award. Finally, we want to give a shout-out to Raghu Murugesan, Tejas Ravindranath Gujjar, and Yashas Malleshappa, who worked with Give Light Foundation.

Thanks to our very own Ajith Chandran for helping The Bread Project win People’s Choice Award.

Thank you all so much for your talent, passion, and hard work! Visit the results page to view all of the teams and their submissions.

We hope to continue expanding our outreach, working with more nonprofits, and welcoming even more participants. Keep an eye out for the next Opportunity Hack; until then, learn more about all of Cisco’s community partners.


Austin Belisle

No Longer with Cisco