NBCUniversal Social Hack

NBCUniversal Social Hack

Connecting Developers, Designers and Data Scientists with Social Impact Challenges


Developers, designers and data scientists are invited to apply their skills to help prototype solutions for real-world problems at the NBCUniversal Social Hack.

NBCUniversal believes innovation is good for communities. By supporting nonprofits, social entrepreneurs, and community organizations, NBCUniversal can use the power of media and technology to help solve important social issues in communities of need.

At the NBCUniversal Social Hack, participants will choose between two program tracks featuring Per Scholas and Move For Hunger – two nonprofit organizations who will benefit from this rapid prototyping for social impact. Each nonprofit will lead a specific prototyping track providing subject-matter mentorship, and firsthand experiences to addressing community challenges. NBCUniversal and NYC Media Lab staff will provide additional presentations and workshops to Hackathon participants during the two day program.

Interested participants should create a team and choose one nonprofit track. You will need to incorporate specific challenge questions (listed below) when submitting your application and prototype ideas. Apply today to participate! The application deadline is June 9th, 2017.

HACKATHON Dates, Location, Prizes

Friday June 23 from 6:00pm - 9:00pm and Saturday June 24 from 9:00am - 9:00pm

Venue: Civic Hall, 118 West 22nd Street, 12th Fl, New York, NY 10011

On Friday June 23,  the hackathon will officially kick off with developer, designer and data scientist attendees from across NYC’s university campuses and beyond. Teams will assemble themselves and introduce their concept to the audience on Friday evening with the goal of working on their concepts ideas all day on Saturday June 24.

On June 24, the hackathon will begin with breakfast, a pep talk and a technical partner workshop. During lunch, teams can meet with Mentors from NBCUniversal and the nonprofit partners. The teams will hack through the afternoon. All hacking will end at 5:30pm which will lead to the project demos, the judging and then ultimately, the prize ceremony and closing reception.


  • Grand prize = $3,000

  • First prize = $1,500

  • Second prize = $1,000


  • Tour of NBCUniversal at 30 Rock

  • Coffee chat with an NBCUniversal technology executive



Nonprofit partner: Move For Hunger

Move for Hunger is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that works with relocation companies to collect non-perishable food items, and deliver it to food banks all across North America.

Many people throw out a good deal of “stuff” when they move. Unfortunately, a lot of this “stuff” is food that could be delivered to a family in need rather than discarded. By teaming up with relocation companies across the country, Move For Hunger is creating one of the nation’s largest year-round service programs. Moving companies offer to pick up unwanted, non-perishable food items from their clients and deliver the items to their local food banks.

Social impact challenge questions:

  • Move For Hunger is on a mission to get more people who are moving to make their move in a socially responsible way, by booking with one of Move For Hunger’s movers and donating their food. How can we use mobile and/or web technology to bring awareness to this search and booking resource at Move For Hunger’s website?

  • Move For Hunger currently provides a variety of resources on how to start a food drive. Currently the process for starting a food drive brings together boxes, trucks and individuals. How can we simplify the process for someone to organize a food drive? How can we use mobile and/or web technology to empower and enable people to organize local food drives in their communities? Once the food drive is organized, how can we encourage people to donate to the food drive?


Nonprofit partner:  Per Scholas

Per Scholas is a national nonprofit that drives positive and proven social change in communities across the country. Through rigorous and tuition-free technology training and professional development, we prepare motivated and curious adults who are unemployed or underemployed for successful careers as IT professionals, and we create on-ramps to businesses in need of their talents. Today we provide our solutions in six cities across the country: Atlanta, GA; Greater Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; the National Capital Region; and New York. To date, Per Scholas has trained 6,000 individuals, helping them build lasting, life changing skills and careers in technology.

Social impact challenge question:

Per Scholas has a large alumni network and many modes of "grassroots" communication that our office uses to stay in touch with our graduates. It is important to be able to effectively engage and track the progress of our New York alumni to record and report out on program outcomes to our funders, community based partners and future students.

  • Currently, the "grassroots" modes of communication with our alumni network is very "piecemeal" and includes phone calls and personal outreach email from our staff.  Our challenge is to identify and create a tool that will allow our staff and our alumni to remain connected to one another. Keeping alumni connected using a single tool would allow us to more easily track their progress and success. If they have changed jobs, received a promotion, re-upped their skills we want to know about it! Using our program data and visualizing the multiple touch points we have with alumni, can we devise a better system or tool that would increase their engagement with the organization and the network? This "engagement tool" could have incentives or interactive features to create enjoyable modes of communication allowing alumni to update and track others progress. Similar to a university network, Per Scholas sees amazing value in building out the capacity of our alumni body. In addition, the tool could be used for staff to have easier access to graduates progress to more easily record and report out on their success. 



  • Jessica Clancy, VP, Corporate Social Responsibility, NBCUniversal

  • Sowmya Gottipati, VP, Media Labs, NBCUniversal

  • Adam Lowy, Founder & Executive Director, Move For Hunger

  • Jake McIntosh, Manager, Marketing & Events, Per Scholas

  • More to be announced!

View all official rules for the hackathon here


About NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBCUniversal is a division of Comcast Corporation.

About NYC Media Lab

NYC Media Lab connects digital media and technology companies with New York City's universities to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and talent development. A public-private partnership launched by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, NYC Media Lab funds prototyping projects that foster collaboration across a range of disciplines core to the future of media and runs The Combine, an early stage accelerator for emerging media and technology startups.