Impact Stories

First-person stories from people impacted by Ford Fund

Ford Fund Hosts Hackathon for Detroit High School Students

There were dozens of high school students in the Ford Resource Center last weekend, gathering to participate in the annual Detroit Hackathon. Students wrote code and created software for 12 straight hours at the Ford Fund sponsored event, which kicked off Computer Science Education Week. The events organized around this week are designed to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science and advocate for equity.

Twelve teams comprised of students from 16 Detroit high schools and Detroit PAL, used coding to create Snapchat filters designed around solving a community problem. Volunteer coaches, including several from the Ford Volunteer Corps, provided guidance by explaining business concepts such as defining the target customer and developing a cost structure for products. Workshops taught students the snapchat filter programming and how to create a business model to market their development.

Luisa Schumacher, D-Hack Judge and Senior Manager Essential Services with the Ford Fund said, this is what Metro Detroit needs. This is the future of work at play.

"I was blown away by the problems that the students wanted to solve," Schumacher continued. "A lot of the apps were associated with mental health and leveraging technology to support people with mental health issues. The students were so dialed in to what's happening."

The event was led by the Michigan Accelerate Computer Science (MACS) coalition including AccelerateKID, Google, SnapChat, Modern Software, 42 Levels, Michigan Dept of Education, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Abhishek Goyal, an Interaction Design Engineer at Ford Motor Company, signed up for the skills-based D-Hack coaching opportunity on the Ford Volunteer Corps website.

"It was exhilarating to be in the middle of the action again," Goyal said. "I don't usually consider myself out of date, but it was humbling to understand a teenager's view of the real-world problems and the innovative solutions they proposed in the form of fancy Snapchat lenses. I am excited to support more initiatives like these in the future and would urge my colleagues to join as well!"

The D-Hack Teams pitched their creations for a chance to win $1000 1st prize, $500 2nd prize and $250 3rd prize.

2022 Results

  1. First Place $1000 - Creativity Everlasting Experience (CEE)
    • Chelsea Wright
    • Elijah Shabazz
    • Evan Franklin
  1. Second Place $500 - Gestale
    • Dominic Jacques
    • Jaidon Vinales
    • Jordan Vinales
    • Amélie Strickfaden
    • Lauren Loper
  1. Third Place $250 - VBA
    • Aaron Richard
    • Kalob Harvey 
    • Levairus Hall 
    • Donovan Kearse 
    • Michelle A. Cobb