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How You Can Code Global Poverty Away

Filed Under Code, Thought Stuff

Bowls of food

This post is in response to Blog Action Day. This year’s topic is one that is important to everyone – poverty.

Back in the first years of my computer infancy, one website struck a core nerve with me – The Hunger Site. It was the first time I saw a website completely dedicated to the greater good of humanity. It is rare that we as software developers get the chance to utilize our talents for the sole purpose of making the world a better place, but there is always opportunities if we keep our eyes open.

While passing through Sioux Falls, SD this weekend on a family vacation, the family and I decided to take a road break at a local mall. While bopping around we discovered a store unlike any other called Catharsis. Catharsis is a small, local art studio with some of the best local talent I think I have ever seen.

Since I am a chatty guy, I started chatting with one of the owners and he began to tell me a story that the entire store actually operates like a non-profit organization and that all proceeds go to local charities such as animal shelters, half-way houses, and the local Luther League. I was absolutely humbled by these guys and their generosity (as must have the mall, because they practically donated the space even through the xmas season).

Catharsis Store

Long story short, they said they were new to the internet and needed a website – I decided this was one of those opportunities to help. I donated a small amount of money, time, and personal resources and help them to create Experience Catharsis. It is literally only hours old and still slightly under construction, but it is a start of something I feel could be larger than local to Sioux Falls.

Many small hands move mountains, but small hands with the power of the internet can change the world. I hope you search and find at least one opportunity in your career to donate your time and skills as the rewards you inadvertently may find might be greater than anything you could ever imagine.

– Max

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5 Responses to “How You Can Code Global Poverty Away”

  1. Dew Drop - October 15, 2008 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew on October 15th, 2008 6:24 am

    […] How You Can Code Global Poverty Away (Max Pool) […]

  2. Kate Bladow on October 15th, 2008 8:17 am

    Max – Nice site. This is a really great example of how tech people can reach out to help others and make a powerful difference!

    If others are looking for volunteer opportunities, check out or contact NTEN – a community of nonprofit techies and accidental techies. Or, of course, you could contact me. I’m certain that I could find something in the legal aid world.

  3. Lloyd on October 15th, 2008 12:48 pm

    WOW what a small world. I was in the mall last night and seen that store for the first time, thought it was interesting. Heard the twilight zone tune when I read my codesqueeze rss feed.

    Hope your trip to SF was good!

  4. Matt on October 15th, 2008 4:59 pm

    Max that’s an awesome site – good stuff. You say thats only a few hours old – bloody magnificent. Out of curiosity what did you build it in? (What technologies? Open source?) I would love to do something like this for a few organisations I know, and if I could do something this great in such a short time, then all the better.

  5. Max Pool on October 15th, 2008 6:27 pm

    @Matt –

    It’s a WordPress site, with a paid theme by, and then modified on top of that for SEO and customization purposes.

    Time to install WP and theme ~10 mins, but I have spent probably 15 hours tweaking and customizing PHP and CSS to make it just right…

    Glad you like it!

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