Z Technology Innovation Awards – Outdated

Does your nonprofit have a technology related project idea that will advance your mission? The Technology Innovation Awards recognize nonprofit organizations that have plans to positively impact their communities and change lives, through innovative technology projects. Tech Forward will grant $10,000 to nonprofits to help implement these technologies. From building apps for your community, producing interactive data sets for your funders, or creating programs using predictive analytics, the TIA grant is a catalyst to starting projects that can help you reach your mission.

Congratulations to our 2019 TIA Winners! Applications for the 2020 Technology Innovation Awards will open June, 2020.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible nonprofits must: 

  • Be a 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 charitable organization (as defined by the Internal Revenue Services), other than: churches and organizations whose primary mission is to promote a religion; private schools, colleges, or universities; nonprofit hospitals or cooperative hospital service organizations; and governmental units.
  • Demonstrate fiscal responsibility, which is defined by adherence to general accounting standards.
  • Be inclusive and embrace diversity; does not discriminate in service delivery and employment on any basis including ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or religion.
  • Have an annual operating budget of at least $500,000.
  • Able to send a representative to the Tech Forward Conference this September

Application Questions

  1. Part One: Eligibility (must meet all requirements above)
  2. Part Two: Organizational Information
    1. Organization Name
    2. EIN #
    3. Website URL
    4. Primary Contact Information
    5. Annual Budget
  3. Part Three: Organizational Background
    1. Mission
    2. Offered Services
    3. Key Constituents
    4. Additional, Relevant Background (if applicable)
  4. Part Four: Technology Project
    1. Project Name | Project Teaser Description
    2. Full Project Description
    3. Target Timeline & Dates
    4. Draft Project Budget (Attach)
  5. Part Five: Project Impact
    1. Target Impact
      1. Program | Internal Operations Impact
      2. Services | External Constituents Impact
    2. Lifespan of Impact / Measurable Metrics


Questions? Contact techforward@techimpact.org with the subject line “TIA Question

Award Sponsors

Previous Winners

Community Food Share

Community Food Share– To eliminate hunger in Boulder and Broomfield counties through engagement, collaboration and leadership.

Project: Community Food Share will build a comprehensive, map-based analytics tool – the Food Security Mapping Platform (FSMP) – to understand the dynamics of where people live, the services they do or do not access, demographic characteristics and food insecurity. We will identify gaps in food access service; collaborate with community partners to direct new/improved services to the demographic/geographic areas of need, and leverage Feeding America’s food insecurity data by census tract and the reporting capabilities of Boulder County Connect (BCC) – a new participant-centric database that tracks household characteristics and social and human services programs utilization. The FSMP will create metrics that will inform stakeholders of the geographical and service provision gaps in food access programming.


Strategic Actions for a Just Economy–SAJE builds community power and leadership for economic justice. Since 1996 SAJE has been a force for economic justice in South Los Angeles focusing on tenant rights, healthy housing, and equitable development. SAJE has taken many notorious slumlords to court, has established a community land trust, and helped implement innovative popular education programs. We run a regular tenant clinic, help connect local residents to jobs, and fight for community benefits regarding future development through private agreements and public policies.

Project: The OWN IT! suite of tools makes public data accessible through interactive visualizations and maps to anyone with a phone or computer. The public iteration was launched June 2019 and is accessible through www.ownit.la .

In the rapidly changing housing market of Los Angeles, low-income residents are vulnerable to housing instability and displacement.. While large corporate landlords use algorithms to crunch massive amounts of data, tenants are often the last to know that their building owner has changed and that they are being displaced from their homes. With OWN IT!, the tools are built around a core database compiling public records and data from various sources to paint a picture for community members to see how real estate transactions, land use planning, evictions and code enforcement can affect their housing situation. The data is democratized, making it accessible to everyone and be easily understood, equipping families with information so they can take action to protect their housing. In subsequent iterations, OWN IT! will be able to connect users directly to community organizations who can help educate tenants of their rights and take action to protect their homes.


MPRO – A recognized leader in healthcare quality improvement with extensive experience in Medicare and Medicaid programs, utilization review, independent medical review, health information technology, research methodologies, data analysis, and outreach strategies. For 34 years, MPRO has demonstrated a commitment to high quality, cost-effective healthcare and quality improvement by creating innovative solutions for a broad and diverse range of healthcare challenges.

Project: Like the rest of the nation, Michigan is experiencing an opioid epidemic that is having a devastating effect on the citizens, workforce and economy of our state. In fact, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, the state of Michigan had a rate of 84.9 opioid prescriptions per 100 people – 18.4 prescriptions higher than the national average of 66.5 prescriptions per 100 people.

This project will be conducted in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and other stakeholders and partners to develop a database that will be used to track opioid prescription patterns and identify potential “outliers” who could be targeted for education and technical assistance.
Our data analysts/epidemiologist will utilize their tools, SQL, SAS and Tableau, to analyze the data and determine those physicians that are outliers in their opioid prescription patterns. Using Microsoft Azure infrastructure, this tool will be designed to allow the user to explore opioid prescribing rates, changes in rates, and “hot spots” in the county and ZIP code-levels, drilling down to the physician-level. We will then utilize this data and collaboratively work with MDHHS to meet with and help educate these physicians and work together on a reduction solution.

Support Center for Child Advocates

Support Center for Child Advocates teams specially trained volunteer attorneys with staff social workers and lawyers to advance our mission “to advocate for victims of child abuse and neglect, with the goal of securing safety, justice, well-being and a permanent, nurturing environment for every child.” We serve children and youth from birth to age 21 by representing them in abuse and neglect proceedings, advocating to secure services and permanent homes, finalizing adoptions, when appropriate, and helping clients testify in court.

Project: Project: Electronic personal records are widely used by families and service providers, yet foster youth rarely have easy access to their own essential life documents. Without family who can keep their “papers,” they leave foster care without a home for their information and unprepared for post-system independence.
We want to advance services to older youth who are approaching the end of their involvement in the child welfare system— SCCA seeks funding to create and advance an exciting new initiative, our Digital Locker Program, which will provide our young clients and others in the child welfare system with an electronic system for storing their most valued documents—birth certificates, school transcripts, health records, ID. These vital documents often go missing during transitions to new placements and to independent living, creating difficulties and delays for our clients in obtaining employment and entering training and school programs
Once developed, we hope to implement Digital Lockers across the city and region—with statewide replication as a future possibility.

Vetri Community Partnership

Vetri Community Partnership was established to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living, and we empowers children and families to lead healthier lives through fresh food, hands-on experiences and education.

Project: VCP is one of the few organizations in the country that is trying to create a school lunch program based on fresh foods and vegetables. Getting city kids to eat vegetables is challenging at the best of times. We have the additional complications of state reporting, industrial scale, and a system that is designed for heat-and-serve food. Everything about today’s school lunch is built around ‘convenience’ food, including the software. For our schools, ordering ingredients is a chore that takes hours, when it should take minutes. It also currently generates endless paper waste.

That software is what we hope to change. Available technology should not restrict us to a system; technology is a tool that helps us make systems better, and our innovative lunch program deserves innovative software.

The meal-planning software that we currently use is PrimeroEdge, which we require in order to maintain state nutrition compliance. With the Technology Innovation Prize, we will create a sister program that works with PrimeroEdge for our staff and partners. When our school partners log into this program, they will find convenient ordering lists and clear, easy-to-read recipes. It will save our staff hours of time, reams of paper, and will empower our cafeteria partners. We are also excited that we will be able to share this program with other organizations, many of whom can’t try scratch-made meals because there isn’t software to support them.

We will implement this program in our schools over the next two years. Within three years we hope that our scratch-made cooking software will enable many new partner schools to join our program or start one at their school.

Family & Children's Aid

Family & Children’s Aid is a community-based non-profit organization that offers innovative and responsive services to heal and support children, families, and individuals in their time of need. We have been serving our community since 1809, and are now the largest outpatient children’s mental health care provider in Western Connecticut.

Project: Family & Children’s Aid requests support for implementing our project: “Therapeutic Technology Tools (Triple T)” to incorporate new and innovative interactive technology in our mock subway station–Harmony Station and to create a toy store to help children who have abused, neglected or traumatized to continue their therapy. With this award, we can implement new technology in our “shops” changing the whole experience for a child and helping the 6,000 clients we serve from low-income backgrounds. In keeping with our innovative incentive program for children who have been abused or neglected, we would like to turn a storage room into a toy store. Not just any toy store, but something very unique. The current location of our storage room is adjacent to where we have our “Harmony Station” subway car.

We could convert the plain storage room into a train car and the incorporation of technology will be key in engaging our clients of all ages (typically ranging from 3 to 18). We would like to install screens on the walls to simulate being on a moving train which we would change the images seasonally. We would also like to install a miniature subway set and tracks that could be triggered with a button to go run throughout the top of the store.

In addition, we would like to update the interface of the mock subway train, which currently has flat images of switches to have real working switches and lights to make it more interactive.

Turtle Island Restoration Network

Turtle Island Restoration Network mission is to education, inspire mobilize people in local communities around the world to take action to protect marine wildlife and the oceans and inland watersheds that sustain life on Earth. Our work is buoyed by thousands of supporters, volunteers and pro bono professionals, who help us extend our network around the globe.

Project:  Adding to our cutting-edge research at on sharks, Turtle Island Restoration Network has launched a research project to determine if a computer algorithm can do what the human eye can’t— recognize individual sharks. This project will evaluate the application of computer vision and deep convolutional neural networks to hammerhead mark-recapture. This will link photographs of individual sharks across the data sets of researchers and divers, creating longer and geographically wider life histories for each animal.  If successful, this could revolutionize shark studies and would improve our understanding of population size, longevity, site residency, and movement, such as migration between known resident hot spots, currently and even looking back in time if we can mine historical photos. This data is critical to conservation of shark species around the world.

This new method would also allow researchers worldwide to avoid current mark-recapture methods that require physically invasive tagging after capture by long line fishing or tagging with a spear gun, and allow scuba divers to become “citizen scientists,” and contribute to conservation science. The mark and recapture method is commonly used in ecology to estimate an animal population’s by marking a number of individuals in a natural population, returning them to that population, and later recapturing some of them as a basis for estimating the size of the population at the time of marking and release. The study is being conducted by computer scientist Jason Holberg from Wild Me (who created the Whale Shark photo id project), and Charles Stewart, Professor of Computer Science and Department Head at Rensselaer Polytechnic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there geographical restrictions?

Application is open to all US based organizations, or international organizations with US presence. International organization that are registered through a US-based nonprofit or parent organization are also eligible.

When will winners be announced?

Winners will be notified in August and announced at the Tech Forward Conference in September. Winners are expected to send at least one representative to the conference to accept award.

Are winners required to attend Tech Forward?

Yes, winners must send at least one representative to the Tech Forward Conference in September. A $500 travel stipend and free registration is provided to winning organization to attend the event.

Are there reporting requirements?

Winners will be asked to provide six month updates to Tech Impact for marketing and promotional purposes only.