HCA Healthcare Foundation - November 20, 2020

Through our partnerships with national organizations, workplace giving initiatives, grants to nonprofits and the volunteer efforts of our colleagues, HCA Healthcare is continuously seeking new ways to build stronger communities. Amid the challenges of COVID-19, a group of inspiring HCA Healthcare colleagues linked arms with fellow do-gooders in the first-ever virtual Hack for the Community event. Their story below…

From medical missions to serving in local foods banks – HCA Healthcare colleagues know that caring for others doesn’t stop at our hospital doors.

But how do our information technology (IT) colleagues give back? They HACK!

From October 29 to October 30, some of the best and brightest minds in the technology industry – including our very own HCA Healthcare colleagues – came together to build sustainable, tech-based solutions for local nonprofits. Hack for the Community serves as an avenue to connect and inspire IT talent to think outside the box to solve problems while contributing to a meaningful cause.

The unforeseen impact of COVID-19 has no doubt brought to the forefront, even more, the significance and vital impact of both our nonprofit community and the tech sector.

Over the course of the 36-hour virtual 2020 Hack for the Community event, nearly 200 tech volunteers – representing 30 business partners across seven different industries – built websites, apps and other systems for 14 local nonprofits.

This year, many of the technology solutions were built to be scalable resources that will support projects in other cities and communities around the country.

“The hearts of these volunteers are incredible. People want to solve problems, especially during COVID-19. The volunteers’ talent, time and skills are invaluable resources. This is a huge light in the midst of our storm and we are incredibly grateful.”

-Amy Green, founder of nonprofit organization The Rooted Bridge

Heeding the call to hack

The HCA Healthcare Foundation launched the first Hack for the Community event in 2014 to foster skill-based volunteering and meet growing community needs. Local nonprofits, who were already driving change within Nashville, sought technology upgrades to take their outreach to the next level. So, with talent that knew how to write code, design functional applications and back-end systems, we extended a different kind of helping hand. Nonprofits submitted their technical wish-lists for consideration and HCA Healthcare tech experts went to work in a challenging and invigorating 36-hour hackathon.

Since then, the do-good momentum has seen four full-scale hackathons and earned partnership with the Nashville Technology Council. HCA Healthcare colleagues are now hacking alongside the best in the business, with tech talent from other business partners like Deloitte and HealthStream joining the cause.

What’s more – each event encouraged us to do better, do more and improve more lives in our city and around the country.

“Six years ago we all sat together in a room working to solve for Nashville nonprofits. Today, amid COVID-19, we were in hundreds of different places across this city in the safety of our own homes,” said Joanne Pulles, HCA Healthcare’s vice president of community engagement. “Socially distanced and six feet apart, we’re still using our creativity, our innovation, our ingenuity to solve problems for Nashville’s nonprofits.”

“I’m so grateful to our business partners who have been with us throughout this journey. I’m grateful to our nonprofits who have trusted us to work with them to create these new solutions. I’m grateful to the Nashville Technology Council for helping us pull this all together. And mostly, I’m grateful to you, the hackers, who have worked creatively and collaboratively to develop solutions,” added Pulles.

Brian Moyer, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Nashville Technology Council, extended duel gratitude to the hackers who were working to unearth new ways to solve old problems through technology. He kicked off day one of the event by saying, “In Nashville, we have a history of coming together and collaborating to help our community and neighbors. Most recently, we saw our community’s dedication to helping each other on the eve of a pandemic and the aftermath of a tornado. I’m grateful to see our tech community come together again during this time of need to do what we do best for those organizations on the front lines who are helping our neighbors every day.”

“This is our first year to participate in the Hack for the Community and it is such an exciting opportunity. The developers are like wizards and I can’t believe what they can get done in 36 hours. Their knowledge, skills and techniques will help improve our organization’s efficiency and operations.”

-Karen Gillingham, director of operations at nonprofit organization The New Beginnings Center

Curiosity. Collaboration. Challenge.

By pushing themselves to rapidly advance their skills and expertise, the volunteers drove meaningful solutions to some of the nonprofits’ greatest challenges.

Jeremiah Weeden-Wright, HCA Healthcare consulting application engineer and volunteer hacker, has participated in Hack for the Community since its inception. This year, he was the lead developer for the Boys and Girls Club of Rutherford County hacking team, who aimed to digitize volunteer recruitment and management processes to save staff time, improve accuracy and better report on impact.

Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Rutherford County hacking team teamed up virtually to create tech solutions for the nonprofit.

“Many of these organizations can’t afford to build solutions like this, whether it’s the money to buy a product or the time/resources to build one,” explains Jeremiah. “I think that by building reusable solutions like the one we extended this year, it can only get better and be more applicable to other organizations. It’s great to be able to deliver a fully-functional, working solution to these organizations that allow them to focus on what’s truly important – whether it’s teaching kids, feeding the hungry or building community.”

Jaime Martinez, a HCA Healthcare senior technical test analyst, also volunteered at the event as the project lead for the Young Leaders Council hack team. Jaime’s team delivered a web interface application that will help the nonprofit keep track of student data and allow them to connect with other nonprofits to serve in leadership roles.

“It is extremely rewarding to be able to help nonprofits become more efficient so that they can use the time saved on more meaningful things,” says Jaime. “Also, being able to work with a team of people that has a great heart for service made things much easier and exciting at the same time.”

Volunteers on the Young Leaders Council hacking team gathered virtually at this year’s Hack for the Community event.

Giving back to the community: one code at a time

2020’s Hack for the Community projects included website enhancements, client support apps, operational optimization and volunteer management platforms. The Urban Green Lab team took home the Hackers Choice Award, including a three foot trophy and $2,500 prize for their multi-view game application to educate community members on environmental. The PENCIL team received the $5,000 Judges’ Choice award for their project that automates communications and outreach processes using Salesforce to improve services and save staff time.

Take a look this year’s projects below:

Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville

Streamline the Arts & Business Council’s donations process by integrating WordPress site with Salesforce, eliminating manual data entry and freeing up time to work with the local arts community

Boys & Girls of Rutherford County

Digitize volunteer recruitment and management processes to save staff time, improve accuracy and better report on impact

Homework Hotline

Develop a web application to automate reporting that will save valuable staff time and improve their ability to share key impact metrics

Interfaith Dental Clinic

Digitize the client intake process to enable Power BI reporting and improve efficiency to allow Patient Care Coordinators to spend more time with patients

Junior Achievement

Digitize student pre- and post-assessment process to make scoring more efficient and allow staff to better analyze impact of BizTown program

Nashville Shakespeare Festival

Streamline audience survey data collection and entry processes to improve engagement and more easily collect donations

New Beginnings Center

Help the Center track and support their clients’ journeys towards wellness by developing a simple follow-up tracking application for progress reporting


Automate communications and outreach processes using Salesforce to improve services and save staff time

Rock The Street, Wall Street

Configure workflow automation and develop student-facing mobile app using Salesforce platform to boost efficiency and strengthen engagement

Salvus Center, Inc.

Redesign website to create a more visually engaging and functional user experience

Teach for America

Develop a website that allows parents to register their child for summer school and enables TFA staff to communicate with parents by text message, improving communications and student attendance

The Rooted Bridge

Connect patients with trusted practitioners by developing a website directory to provide reliable referral pathways

Urban Green Lab

Create the Sustain Game, an application that will teach kids or adults about the environment and sustainability through a fun, interactive game

Young Leaders Council

Automate a manual process of annually matching 175-200 future board members with nonprofit partners, saving time and improving connections to community leaders.

Founded in 1968, Nashville-based HCA Healthcare is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, comprising more than 2,000 sites of care, including 187 hospitals, surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, in 21 states and the United Kingdom.