Adopt a Project:

In addition to starting new projects, Launchpad participants can decide to support these open-source projects and deliver an even greater impact!

Problem Statements

For an idea on what we are looking for with project ideas, check out our Project Idea blog post.

You can submit your ideas using our Project Idea Submission Form.

Improving Citizen Engagement with RCOs

Idea & Opportunity

Registered Community Organizations (RCO’s) have a critical role in the development process in the City of Philadelphia. Many are robust volunteer organizations that perform important civic work. With over 190 (RCOs) in the City, as a citizen it can be hard to identify who does what, where they do it and how someone can get involved. Currently, very limited information about these RCOs is publicly accessible and in most cases the information is dependent on each individual RCO making it available themselves.

This would be an opportunity to expand what data is publicly available and aggregate in one central location. The City has already provided the submissions and supporting documentation from the 192 RCOs that were granted status.

Who benefits if we take action?

Citizens looking to learn more about the work their neighborhood RCO is doing or who want to join their RCO, but don’t know how to become members or how to run for the board.

Community Based Policing

Idea & Opportunity

Using publicly available data, machine learning algorithms, and communication technology can increase citizen awareness and preparation of predictable crime. Breaking & Entering, Theft from Vehicle, even traffic accidents seem to follow a particular pattern. For example, there are more auto accidents on Friday afternoons, and Breaking & Entering show repeats about a month or two in the same area.

The idea is to get programmers and data analysts to create predictive models with raw data, then score these models against future projections. Findings should be easily shared using social media and other digital communication channels. OpenDataPhilly has crime data going back to 2006. What’s missing is a public space for people to create models. A running beta site has been setup at

Who benefits if we take action?

Both local citizens and Philadelphia police

Open Seat Finder - 2017 Board of Elections

Idea & Opportunity

While there’s been a lot of excitement about the 2018 ward elections next year, there are another 1,600+ hyper-local offices on the ballot in 2017—the Board of Elections! These are tiny, division-level seats that are also a good entry point into local politics, and who occupies these seats matters for whether polling places are well-run. Typically only about 60% of these seats get filled in any given election cycle. After March 18th, we’ll know who all filed petitions to run for the Board of Elections seats, and we’ll also know which seats are still open.

An interactive Open Seat Finder map would be of great practical value for getting information about open seats out to people who might be interested in waging a write-in campaign. A similar effort in 2014 promoted a map of open ward committee seats, and resulted in a wave of successful write-in campaigns, and the same could happen in 2017.

Who benefits if we take action?

People thinking about running for their first local political office; voters who will enjoy a well-staffed polling place and speedy voting experience if more Board of Elections seats are filled.

Get Out the Vote Block Captains

Idea & Opportunity

Similar to what’s done with the Streets Dept, create a non-partisan “get out the vote” Block Captain program for Philadelphia neighborhoods to encourage voting in upcoming elections. Block Captains would help register new voters, provide non-partisan sources of election information, and encourages actual participation.

A tech platform could support Block Captains receiving occasional “best practices” training about increasing voter participation, allow captains to sign up for push reminders via text messages and receive small get out the vote marketing materials prior to registration deadlines/election day. Not to vote for a specific candidate, but just to register, be informed and then just to go vote on Election day. Donations could be accepted to support the materials and perhaps even compensate captains in poor neighborhoods for their work.

Who benefits if we take action?

Blocks will benefit by building community and increase their voice by displaying that their constituents care. Citizens learn more about elections. Philadelphia contributes more voters to statewide elections and national elections.

Viral Social Campaign

Idea & Opportunity

Let’s create a viral social campaign that encourages local civic engagement here in Philly. Imagine a platform and message similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The platform would encourage the community to volunteer and nominate others to do the same. Idea is based on something similar in Calgary.

Sample: do 3 things for your community, share it on fb/instagram/twitter (photos & videos preferred), and then nominate 3 more people to do 3 things. Homepage has a list of all completed activity and perhaps a list of “things” that need to be done. Preferably includes a mobile component to make sharing easy.

Who benefits if we take action?

Broadly, the City of Philadelphia. Specifically it would encourage all local citizens to get engaged in making Philly a hotbed of engaged citizens.

Visualizing the Anti-Gerrymander: Help Fair Districts PA map its assets so that it can defeat gerrymandered political maps in Pennsylvania

Please checkout District Builder and consider adopting it

Idea & Opportunity

There is growing momentum across the country against gerrymandering, the process by which politicians draw their district boundaries to obtain an unfair advantage for themselves or their political party.

In Pennsylvania, the all-volunteer organization Fair Districts PA (FDPA) was founded in January 2016 to bring form and action to this movement. (See for details.) FDPA membership has grown dramatically in recent months, but it now needs the technological capacity to better deploy volunteer and financial resources coming in by the day — and to spur activism where there is currently no or limited FDPA organizing.

We propose creation of a geographical information system tool to help FDPA organizers visualize areas of strength and weakness so as to effectively organize resources to the most critical areas. The initial version of the tool would be developed and tested within Philadelphia; when proven we hope to scale it to cover the entire state.

The tool would begin with a map of conventional political and geographic boundaries (municipalities, counties, state legislative districts, etc.) and then add layers representing information relevant to FDPA organizing. A layer could illustrate the energy behind FDPA, including where meetings have taken place. A layer could show key districts that have decision-makers/persuadables - highlighting districts represented by party leadership, key committee members, members who will be targeted by the opposing party’s outside money in 2018, etc. Another layer might be useful in soliciting and targeting donations for key actions of the campaign. Furthermore, different segments of a given layer could be coded by color or other means to represent important metrics. For example, a zip code layer could show density of FDPA membership and outreach activity by local organizers. The legislative district layer might have multiple codes for degree of support or hostility from a given legislator, degree of influence that legislator has on others, margin of victory in their last election, proximity of a legislator to their next election, amount of outside money flowing to that legislator, etc. Essentially, the layers of this map would develop a Call to Action - donating, starting a working group where there is a void, contacting legislators, eventually completing a Draw the Lines map, etc.

Who benefits if we take action?

The initial beneficiaries would be the local leadership of FDPA, at both the neighborhood and city-wide level. If scaled to cover the entire state, the tool would be of tremendous value to all FDPA leadership at the county, region, and state levels.