December 03, 2012

10 People Honored for Using Technology to Improve Social Good

The SXSW Interactive Festival has announced the 2013 winners of its Dewey Winburne Community Service Award. Ten social entrepreneurs who are using technology to tackle tough problems like educational inequity, environmental degradation, and poverty will be honored in March at the social-media industry event, in Austin, Tex.

The awards are named after one of the festival’s co-founders, a teacher who was devoted to helping disadvantaged youths learn technology skills.

The winners are:

• Madhura Bhat, who co-founded Health for America, a fellowship program for young people to develop technology solutions to improve health care.

• Elizabeth Davidson, who co-founded ScriptEd, a nonprofit that trains volunteers from the tech industry to teach computer programming to students in New York City high schools.

• Arlene Ducao, who leads Open Infrared, a project that maps ecological features and risks revealed by infrared satellite data.

• Rey Faustino, who started One Degree, an organization that connects San Francisco residents with resources like afterschool programs or help finding a job.

• Gene Gurkoff, who created Charity Miles, a smartphone application that lets users earn money for charity by walking, running, or biking.

• Elena Lagoudi, a former museum worker at the National Gallery in London who now lives in Greece, where she is experimenting with social-media activism and art efforts in the wake of that country’s financial crisis.

• Simeon Oriko, who started the Kuyu Project to teach young people in Kenya how to use social media and other digital tools to improve their communities.

• Amanda Quraishi, who created a smartphone application called 365muslim to promote interfaith dialogue and greater understanding of America’s Muslims.

• Ben Sawyer, who is a leader in the use of video games for social good. In 2002, he co-founded the Serious Games Initiative and now leads the Games for Health Project.

• Rich Schwerdtfeger, who is chief technology officer for accessibility for the IBM Software Group, where he spearheaded an industry-wide effort to make software accessible for people with disabilities.

Send an e-mail to Nicole Wallace.