person looking at an image of a raised fist on a phone, symbolizing how public good app house is empowering positive social change

6 New Apps Creating Change: Transforming Conflict into Empowerment

On August 24, six organizations came together to unveil the apps they have been working on at the Public Good App House event hosted by Caravan Studios. Let's take a look at what was shared. Turning Tragic Loss into Valuable Insight

"I could live a thousand lives and each of those lives find my way back to you."

This poetic declaration was made to Brandon D. Anderson by his partner and best friend, Raheem. In 2007, Raheem was pulled over during a routine traffic stop and tragically lost his life during his interaction with the police. Brandon shared his emotional journey of how his heartbreaking loss motivated him to turn tragedy into action and create During his presentation, he also shared an alarming statistic: 93 percent of people who've experienced negative interactions with police did not report them.

Taking a constructive approach to his profound loss, and the pronounced lack of data around undocumented negative police interactions, he built an app. It allows users to anonymously rate their experience with police officers (both positive and negative). A Fast Company article stated that "the chatbot collected twice as much data in three months as the cities of San Francisco and Berkeley had in a year."

"Raheem" translates to "Second Chance" in Arabic. The app is intended to advance policy solutions that help curb police violence.

Purple Patriot: Empowering Women to Shape Government

Started by two sisters, Purple Patriot was launched after the November 2016 elections as a way to empower women to "reinvent government, driving equality and inclusion, with our voices, votes, and our wallets." The name "Purple Patriot" is meant to be inclusive to both Republican and Democratic parties.

Its founders' goal is for women to take three civic actions per week around causes most important to them. The app is meant to bolster female representation and offer clear steps on how to create more impact. Eighty percent of activism is led by women. Yet female representation in our government is frightfully low.

At the same time, up to $15 trillion of purchasing decisions are made by women in the U.S. Because women have such a strong influence on our economy, the app also rates companies that empower women.

This functionality allows users to reward corporations that are working towards helping underrepresented communities. One example of such a company that was mentioned during the presentation is Lyft, which has announced free and discounted rides to voters who might not have access to transportation.

5 Calls: Providing Effective Actions That Hold Representatives Accountable

Calling your representative has been said to be the most effective way to have impact for your time when it comes to legislation. When you log on to the 5 Calls site or app, you see several hot-button news issues that are making headlines.

You can find a topic of interest, and then the app tells you which representative to call (in your area) and even offers a script of what to say. The app has resulted in more than 2.3 millions calls to Congress.

Apptology: Helping Foster-Care Youth Transition into Safety

When transitional youth transition out of the foster system, they lose the protection of the foster care system. That shift leaves them vulnerable to drug abuse, human trafficking, and teen pregnancy. Apptology has worked with the Safe Children's Law Center and Alliance for Children's Rights to address this problem. It's created an app that allows social workers to help these youth find transitional and low-income housing, offering a "know-before-you-go" safety net.

Replate: Preventing Food Waste Through Redistribution

Forty percent of food in the U.S. goes to waste, and Americans throw away $165 billion in wasted food every year. Meanwhile, 1 American in 8 experiences food insecurity. Jonah Price and his team at Replate have created an app that makes leftover food easy to donate and liability-free.

The app coordinates the pickup of uneaten food from catered events so that it may be redistributed to those who might not otherwise have access to a meal. Replate has set a goal of serving 16 million meals to 100,000 people in the next four years.

SF311: Making It Easier to Report Non-Emergencies

When in trouble, most people default to dialing 911, even for minor issues like fallen trees or potholes on the road. However, SF311 launched in 2007 as a new number for non-emergencies, and now has an app designed to report common problems in SF.

The app provides city departments with better information that can be automatically routed to the correct department to resolve the issues. In San Francisco, the number-one request has been for street or sidewalk cleaning (over 1 million calls, followed by around 400,000 calls for graffiti removal).

To learn more about the Public Good App House, visit its website, check out its videos on Vimeo, or join its Facebook community. And if you'd like to attend the next Public Good App House event, it's on September 27 at Impact Hub SF. Register today!

Additional Resources: Caravan Studios