Grand Rapids Give Camp 2009

GiveCamp is a weekend-long event where software developers, designers, and database administrators donate their time to create custom software for non-profit organizations. This custom software could be a new website for the nonprofit organization, a small data-collection application to keep track of members, or an application for the Red Cross that automatically emails a blood donor three months after they’ve donated blood to remind them that they are now eligible to donate again. The only limitation is that the project should be scoped to be able to be completed in a weekend.

During GiveCamp, developers are welcome to go home in the evenings or camp out all weekend long. There are usually food and drink provided at the event. There are sometimes even game systems set up for when you need a little break!  Overall, it’s a great opportunity for people to work together, develop new friendships, and do something important for the community.


The Grand Rapids GiveCamp was held on November 13-15, 2009 at the YMCA. This was the first GiveCamp held in Grand Rapids, with great success! The Grand Rapids GiveCamp was able to take on 23 projects for 22 nonprofits (they did 2 projects for the YMCA). There were ~90 people present, including developer volunteers, nonprofit representatives, and volunteers.

Out of the 23 projects, nine were .NET (Custom .NET and DotNetNuke) and the rest were open source (Joomla/Drupal/Ruby on Rails). The biggest problem that nonprofits needed to solve was how to work with static webpages that they couldn’t update by themselves; a CMS package takes care of this.

In addition to a cash sponsorship, Microsoft donated 7 backpacks and a Zune.

clip_image004A professional photographer (Adam Bird) even took pictures, donating his time to take them and shared them with everyone via Facebook at  In addition, Cowboy Eric and David Giard took some great action shots. 

In addition to their main workspace at the Grand Rapids YMCA, the Grand Rapids GiveCamp had a Cincinnati satellite, where a team of 7 additional people worked from Cincinnati on a project:

What an amazing event!   Huge kudos to the event organizers (Chris Woodruff, Matt Davis, Emily Stoddard-Furrow, Carl Furrow, Ryan Montgomery, John Hwang, and Tera Wozniak) and sponsors! 

Grand Rapids Give Camp website:


Pressclip_image005 via The Grand Rapids Press: michigan/index.ssf/2009/08/techsavvy_volunteers_help_nonp.html

The Grand Rapids Times:

The Rapidian:

Friends of GR Parks:

Blog posts

David Giard:

Chris Roland:

Alan Barber:

Andy Singleton:

Atomic Spin:

Steve Smith:

Libby Ziemelis:

Mutually Human Software blog:

Give Camp site:


The Grand Rapids GiveCamp has its own Twitter account:

clip_image007 - includes map of followers’ geography, including India and Japan! – these expire after some time


Adam Bird:

David Giard: 

Cowboy Eric, Day 1:

Cowboy Eric, Day 2:

Cowboy Eric, Day 3: