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Compassionate Cities

Compassionate Cities is a Council initiative to raise awareness about ways communities can reduce suffering and improve the lives of vulnerable populations through the use of digital technologies already being applied to solve other city challenges. Click here to learn more about the initiative – and scroll down for articles highlighting how technology is helping the homeless, the hungry, the disabled and other people in need around the world.

Voices from Davos: Leaders promote tech-focused routes out of poverty


Paypal's CEO says revolutionizing the financial system would lift millions out of poverty. Rwanda's president argues digital connectivity is the pathway to prosperity. See if you agree with what leaders at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting are saying about how to end income inequality.

Will ordering groceries online lead to healthier choices by food stamp recipients?


Seven retailers – Amazon and Safeway among them – were chosen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a two-year pilot offering food stamp recipients in seven states the opportunity to order and pay for groceries online. The goal is to increase access to healthy foods for low-income families and individuals. Will it work?

Novel approaches take on food waste (and hunger and GHGs too)


Malaysian teens call their mobile food surplus app Robin Food; in Brazil restaurant diners are encouraged to eat a little less but pay full price to help combat child hunger and malnutrition. Read about more novel efforts around the world to reduce food waste, hunger and greenhouse gases.

Lessons from Asheville: Solving community problems with data


Asheville, NC's civic hackers are using data to help their city's vulnerable populations – from working with a homeless coalition to helping the city find jobs and housing for formerly incarcerated people. The Asheville initiatives are part of a national effort to help underserved citizens.

AT&T ed-tech accelerator accepting apps from ventures driving social impact


Now in its third year, the AT&T Aspire Accelerator supports innovations in education technology that promote student success. For profits and nonprofits selected for the program receive financial investment, access to expert services and mentorship. Application deadline is Feb. 7.

Homeless in Amsterdam try on contactless payment jackets


One downside to a cashless society is that it's more difficult to help out a homeless person. To counter that, a Dutch ad agency designed a warm winter coat with a built-in terminal that people simply tap with a contactless payment card to donate a euro. A prototype is currently being tested, with early feedback reportedly positive.

$5 million boost will expand promising UW technology that streamlines social service delivery


A social services management solution created by University of Washington students to improve processes in child welfare, foster care and homeless youth systems is expanding, thanks to $5 million in new funding.

Seattle homeless wear electronic beacons that tell their stories to passersby


With the GiveSafe app on a smartphone, people walking the streets of Seattle can read the stories of homeless people they pass by and, if they wish, make a safe, cashless donation to help meet the person's needs – groceries, bus fare, maybe a haircut.