Compassion and technology intersect at Smart Cities Week

Tue, 2016-09-06 12:46 -- Liz Enbysk

Want to learn what bright minds are doing to close the hunger gap and reduce food waste in cities like yours? Or how technology your city probably already has can combat homelessness? Then join us at the second-annual Smart Cities Week Conference and Exhibition taking place Sept. 27-29 in Washington, D.C. And be sure to scroll to the end of the story for details on special discounts for registered SCC members as well as government and human services professionals.

Compassion, technology and some out-of-the-box thinking are making a difference in cities around the world, where so much food is
wasted yet so many go to bed at night hungry or malnourished.

At Smart Cities Week you'll hear from experts and entrepreneurs actively involved in reducing food insecurity -- and you'll also see how what they're doing can be replicated in your city. Our panel on hunger and food waste includes:

  • Hannah Dehradunwala, Co-founder and Executive Director of Transfernation, a tech-based nonprofit  that helps to redistribute the extra food from corporate events to local homeless shelters and soup kitchens in New York City.
  • Ron Reynolds, CEO of Green Collar Foods, an indoor vertical farming operation that began in Detroit and will deploy a network of franchised inner-city farming facilities that leverage its technology and offer jobs and STEM training where they're needed most.
  • Jody Tick, Senior Director of Food Resources, Information Technology and Programs with the Capital Area Food Bank, which uses data-driven approaches and a hunger heat map the Washington Post says may "revolutionize the war on hunger."
  • JoAnne Berkenkamp, senior advocate at NRDC, focuses on improving the efficiency of the U.S. food system by reducing food waste from farm to fork. She specializes in food-waste prevention and food rescue through industry-based approaches, consumer education and policy advocacy.
  • Andy Finke, COO at DC Central Kitchen, oversees overall business operations, strategic partnerships and revenue generating operations, and offers broad knowledge of food service technology solutions.

That is one of two panels hosted by the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative, which we launched earlier this year to highlight how technology many cities already have can reduce suffering. The other panel is focused on homelessness – and you won't want to miss it either.

On the front lines of homelessness
Two of our panelists have been homeless at some point in their lives and will offer a very personal and inspiring perspective on how they got to where they are now. Today Ryan Zehm runs his own company in Boise; Dana Woolfolk is a homeless services coordinator for the city of Alexandra, VA.

You'll also hear from Melissa Mowery, a longtime social services professional who is currently working with the New York City Department of Homeless Services in a program that uses technology to better target those at most risk of becoming homeless. Meanwhile Manny Sarria, Assistant Executive Director of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, will talk about the success the Trust has had demonstrating the need for supportive housing using a free, data-driven tool from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

In these sessions you'll hear about replicable technologies – from apps to social media to cloud-based tools -- being used right now in cities around the world to reduce suffering. You'll see how compassion and technology can intersect to prevent evictions that so often lead to homelessness. You'll hear from someone who's been homeless how something as basic as free Wi-Fi can change a life.

We think you'll find these and many of the other sessions, keynote addresses, technology demonstrations and networking opportunities at Smart Cities Week a valuable experience. We're pretty sure you'll go home with new connections, new ideas and newly inspired to advocate for solutions to help the disadvantaged in your city.

Conference discounts

  • If you are a human services professional working in the public or nonprofit sector, we are offering free passes to the full conference. Click here for details.
  • If you work for a government organization, we are offering special discounts to you as well. Click here for details and use the code: GOV when you register
  • If you are a registered member of the Smart Cities Council, click here to register and activate your discount. Haven't joined the Council yet? Click here to register (it's free). When you register you can indicate you'd like to receive the Compassionate Cities newsletter, which will launch this fall.

Go to the Smart Cities Week website for more details on the event.