During the Summer of 2018 I went in search of community. Having lived in Colorado for almost seven years, focused on family and work, I had spent almost no time in the community.

The Northern Colorado community has a lot to offer so I narrowed my search to tech groups, hoping to find a group where I could learn, network, and provide help where needed. After an exhausting 6 weeks attending 2 to 3 different meetups a week I met a ton of great people and had a much better understanding of the NOCO tech community.

One of the stand-out meetings I attended was with the volunteer organization, Code for Fort Collins. The group is a brigade of the larger national organization Code for America that focuses on improving government services through technology. A few high profile projects generated by Code for America programs include Clear My Record, a system to automate clearing eligible convictions, and GetCalFresh, a program that simplifies the application for government assistance for California residents.

Among a number of programs managed by Code for America, the Brigade Network consists of 73 Brigades working with their local governments to better local services. Code for Fort Collins is an active brigade under the Code for America 501c non-profit organization.

Code for Fort Collins has completed a number of projects including: Solar Scorecard, an app to highlight the status of the city of Fort Collins goal for renewable resources, the Homeward 2020 Data Dashboard, a data visualization tool for the Homeward 2020 organization, and a new website for the Fort Collins Bike Co-op.

9 months in, I've greatly enjoyed being a part of Code for Fort Collins. The premise of working directly with local government and community organizations aligns with my desire for local engagement in a way I hadn't realized when I began searching.

We have ongoing projects with the Poudre Fire Authority, the local Volunteers of America chapter, and ongoing discussions with local organizations to determine other community programs we can assist with.

This week marks the Code for Fort Collins inaugural fundraising drive. We are raising funds to provide food at new member meetings, cover meeting venue expenses, and to provide cloud hosting services for projects. These funds will help grow Code for Fort Collins and allow further engagement with the Northern Colorado community.

You can support Code for Fort Collins by making a tax deductible donation to Code for America, directed to Code for Fort Collins. Any amount will help and is greatly appreciated! You can read more about our fundraising drive and Code for Fort Collins on the codeforfoco.org blog.