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24 Hours of Web Programming for Charity

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -For twenty-four hours straight, a group of web developers crafted a handful of websites designed to reboot the online image of some charities.

A Cedar Rapids business that typically works on hospital websites, called Geonetric, is creating new websites for The Catherine McAuley Center, Gems of Hope, Mission of Hope and a branch of the Transportation Advisory Group called 365Ride.

Workers started putting together the data and the sites on Thursday at 8:00 in the morning. The process ended on Friday at 8:00 a.m.
It wasn't easy for nearly fifty web developers to keep their eyes open all night long, but they had one main strategy to keep themselves going.

"A lot of Coffee." said Geonetric CEO Eric Engelmann. "I think we've had coffee delivered three times so far and I've delivered espresso to people."

The non-profit organizations on the receiving end of the web work provide a range of services to the community. That includes housing homeless women, providing transportation to people with disabilities and bringing hope to cancer patients. Leaders of the charity groups said the sites would help them connect with people who could use their services.

"We serve former offenders, the poor and the homeless, really anybody that's in need in their time of life. So, we serve a lot of people," said Mission of Hope's Tina Herring. "You know, we're hoping for more exposure because even though we've been around for more than ten years, we know there's still people in our city that maybe have heard of us but still don't know what we do."

"The Catherine McAuley Center really relies on volunteers," said Nicki Ross with the Catherine McAuley Center. "A lot of our services are provided by volunteers and we hope our new website can help promote the services in and promote and draw people in."

The contest wasn't created to select four organizations as winners. Originally, the web workers were only going to pick one recipient, but when so many applications came in, they chose more.

"We decided we wanted to do something to give back to the community," Engelmann said. "We looked at a bunch of different options, working for Habitat for Humanity, but we're really good at building websites, maybe we should focus on that. We had an idea to do it overnight and decided to go for it."

Web developers worked closely with representatives from all four organizations to complete the sites with the most valuable
information needed to help those in the community. The non-profit leaders were also taught how to maintain the websites and apply new social media skills.

Take a look at the new sites:

The Catherine McAuley Center: click here.

365Ride: click here.

Mission of Hope: click here.

Gems of Hope: click here.

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