When talented, innovative people come together, amazing things can happen.

Whether you're a designer or a developer, a copywriter or a coder, working in tech or at a creative agency, Goodby Silverstein & Partners invites you to join us for a hackathon event we're calling Hack SF.

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How it Works

San Francisco Bay Area nonprofits La Casa de las Madres, the Eviction Defense Collaborative, and Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin will kick off the event by talking about their missions. Each organization will also share one key challenge it faces that, if addressed, would have a significant positive impact on its ability to fulfill its mission.

Hackathon teams will then have 24 hours to come up with their best ideas. Ideas may range from affordable-housing fixes to apps to beautification projects or business ideas that will help the nonprofits fulfill their missions. Really, it’s up to you.

We’re confident that putting a bunch of creative people together for a weekend will lead to some innovative solutions.

We’ll also have a bunch of different APIs and databases you can work with from the city of San Francisco’s Open Data Portal.

You don’t need to have an idea or a team formed before you come to the event. Part of the fun of a hackathon is meeting other people and coming up with your own idea during the event.

An idea by itself lives only in the mind of an individual, but an idea shared among many can become reality.


On Saturday, February 22, and Sunday, February 23, Hack SF teams will have 24 hours to come up with ideas to improve life in San Francisco.


The judges will select three winning teams, one for each of the three nonprofits that participate. Prizes will be given to the nonprofits themselves so that each of them can implement the winning idea devised to benefit their organization. See the Prizes section for more details.

Hack SF Schedule

Saturday, February 22 - Day 1

  • Registration opens | 1:00 PM
  • People meet and form teams

  • Hacking kickoff | 2:00 PM

  • API workshops | 2:00-7:00 PM
  • Hosted by technology providers

  • Dinner served | 7:00 PM

  • Hacking continues | 8:00 PM-12:00AM
  • Teams can stay through the night or come back the next morning (drinks and snacks available)

Sunday, February 23 - Day 2

  • Breakfast served | 7:00 AM

  • Hacking concludes | 9:30 AM
  • Teams submit their hacks

  • Team presentations begin | 11:00 AM
  • Each team will have 3 minutes to present their idea to the judges and a representative from the nonprofit

  • Lunch Served | 12:15 PM
  • Judges deliberate and score presentations

  • Winners Announced | 1:30 PM
  • Prizes awarded by judges

  • HACK SF ENDS | 2:00 PM


We’re inviting five of the city’s top civic, creative and business leaders to be part of our judging panel. Teams will have three minutes each to present their ideas and projects to the judges and the audience. Prizes will be given to the nonprofits themselves so that each of them can implement the winning idea devised to benefit their organization.


Shannon Spanhake

The SF Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation

Deputy Innovation Officer | Twitter: @channelshannon

The SF Mayor's Office of Civic Innovation keeps government accountable, accessible and responsive. Our role is to create an environment that allows innovation to flourish in City Hall. Yours is to help us continually improve how government works, for everyone.

Ben Davis

The Bay Lights, IlluminateTheArts.org

President, CEO and Founder | Twitter: @BenDavisEye

Ben Davis is the visionary behind THE BAY LIGHTS and the creator of Pi In The Sky. He is founder and CEO of Illuminate the Arts, the non-profit that aims to alter the arc of human history through the creation of transformative works of public art. He is currently championing major art installations in San Francisco and beyond.

Scott Schwaitzberg

Google.org, Civic Innovation

Twitter: @sjttocs

Scott Schwaitzberg recently moved to San Francisco from New York City where he spent much of his career in business management and technology consulting. In his current role at Google.org, Scott is partnering with cities in a philanthropic and technology context to improve connectivity between residents and government, specifically with regard to services and civic engagement. Previously he has served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson in the City of New York and worked as an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Co.

Ellie Hardy

Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Director of Interactive Production, Associate Partner | Twitter: @mzelliesf

Ellie joined GSP in 2007 and has produced many award-winning interactive productions for a variety of clients, including Adobe, Yahoo! and Sprint. She currently leads the interactive department and manages a diverse team of interactive producers, developers, technologists and UX designers. Nothing makes her happier than mentoring and motivating her team to produce best-in-class interactive work.



Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions. We will update this section as additional questions come in. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please send an e-mail to hackathon@gspsf.com

How will teams be formed for the hackathon?

Participants can come to Hack SF in preorganized teams, or people can come by themselves, and they will be matched up with people who have complementary skills. Teams are limited to a maximum of five people, and we recommend that they be made up of people with a diverse set of skills. For example:

  • One Creative (art director, copywriter, designer)
  • One Developer (programmer, creative developer, technologist)
  • One Strategist (brand strategist, digital strategist)
  • One Product Manager (producer, project manager)
  • How long does the hackathon last?

    Hack SF will start at 1:00PM on Saturday, February 22, and will end at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 23.

    Are participants expected to stay through the night?

    Because the amount of time available for teams to work on their hackathon projects is limited to 24 hours, teams should expect to need the entire time to complete their projects. So yes, in typical hackathon style, the hope is that participants will work through the night on Saturday and into Sunday morning.

    How will the judging work?

    Teams will submit their projects for judging through the system that’s set up for the event (to be announced). Teams will be assigned a number indicating the order in which they will present their projects to the panel of judges and the audience. The judges will score each project using a number of different criteria. After all the teams have presented, the judges will add up their scores, and the first-, second- and third-place winners will be announced.

    How will prizes be awarded?

    Prizes will be given to the non-profits themselves so that they can implement the winning idea which will benefit their organization. See the Prizes section for more details.

    What role will nonprofit organizations play in the event?

    We will have representatives from nonprofits from San Francisco and the Bay Area present at the event to talk with participants about their mission and to tell them about the kinds of challenges they face in fulfilling that mission. This will give hackathon participants the ability to ask more detailed questions of the nonprofits and to identify areas for opportunity where they might be able to solve the nonprofit’s problem through creative thinking and problem solving.

    Where will the hackathon be held?

    The event will be held at 650 California Street, 30th floor, San Francisco, CA. When you register you will receive instructions about where to go on the day of the event.

    Whom should I contact if I have a question or if my company wants to sponsor the event?

    Please send an e-mail to hackathon@gspsf.com with any questions or sponsorship interest.

    Interested in
    participating in Hack SF?