Apps for Humanity Challenge

Hey innovators! Have an idea to solve a humanitarian issue? Can it be built using our open source tools? Submit your ideas to win $20k. Read Overview...
Total Prize Amount
Grand Prize Winner

Do you have an idea to solve a humanitarian issue? Think technology might help make that idea a reality? Submit your ideas for a chance to win $20,000 USD!

Who is the competition open to? The challenge is open to individuals and teams with OR without a technical background. (To be eligible to compete, you must comply with the Challenge terms as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.)

The Challenge

Submit a proposal describing your idea that aims to solve some humanitarian issue by answering the questions set out below. All questions must be answered to qualify for the Challenge. 

Why? We want innovative technology solutions to become commonplace in the nonprofit world, helping to solve issues that affect humanity.

About the CoreTech Foundation: CoreTech Foundation helps nonprofits use technology for social good. Thanks to the open source movement, we're placing traditionally expensive and sophisticated technology in the hands of the nonprofit world, so they can implement virtually any software-driven solution using our scaling platform and consulting services. To that end, CoreTech built an application platform called CORE, to help build solutions capable of impacting lives around the world, like this, this, and this

What is CORE? Learn about CORE in Question #3 below, here, and in the last two sections of the FAQs

Challenge Questions / Judging Criteria


1. What is the problem that your idea aims to solve? (10 points)

  • Who is affected by the problem?
  • What is currently being done about it?

2. What is the potential impact of your solution? (20 points)

  • Who would it help? Where? How?

3. How would the CoreTech Foundation's software tools help make your idea a reality? (30 points) (Note: for those looking for a more technical description of CORE, please refer to FAQs for details.) 

  • CoreTech's CORE software (an open-source suite of tools) allows you to: 
    • collect, analyze, and manage data of any size, securely
    • develop high performance mobile applications 
    • develop engaging web platforms 
    • monitor and report on progress and events
    • enable mobile transactions via SMS CoreTech's CORE
  • The key benefits of CORE are:
    • high performance
    • high availability (which means there can be many users without the application/system going down) 
    • redundancy (which means that if a system fails, there will be a backup)
    • scalability (which means it can accomodate many users and a large amount of information, transactions, etc.)
    • security 
    • integrity (which means that information can only be accessed or modified by those authorized to do so, so that unauthorized people can't change that information)

4. What makes your solution different from existing solutions that aim to address this problem? (20 points)

  • If it's a novel idea, what makes it novel?
  • If it builds on/adapts an existing idea, how does it add to that idea? 

5. Describe the practical usability of your solution. (10 points)

  • How can it be used by specific users to achieve the goals you've identified? 

6. How complex is your solution? (10 points) 

  • Note: It's not a bad thing if your solution is complex. We just want to see how you've worked the solution out in your head: how difficult do you think it would be to build? 
  • For techy folks, will your idea challenge our platform? 



Who can participate: As mentioned above, the Challenge is open to individuals and teams. To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the Challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

Selection of Winner: Based on the winning criteria, one prize will be awarded for a total of $20,000 USD. In case of a tie, the winner will be selected at the discretion of the Judging Panel.

Voting: All votes are subject to review. Any competitor using unfair methods to solicit votes will be automatically disqualified from the challenge.

Registration and Submissions: All submission materials must be submitted online on or before July 7, 2016 at 8pm PST. No submissions will be accepted after this time. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted. All submissions must be received online, via the Challenge website, and all uploads can be in PDF format only. Submission reporting requirements are detailed in Judging.

Challenge Guidelines are subject to change. Registered competitors will receive notification when changes are made, however, we highly encourage you to visit the Challenge Site often to review updates.

show all
May 28, 2017, 1:35 a.m. PDT
You are here
Aug. 26, 2016, 10:21 p.m. PDT
We are thrilled to announce the winner of our Apps for Humanity Challenge is Pranav Agarwal and his satellite-navigation-based advance collision warning system for vehicles. Thank you to all of our participants!   
Aug. 26, 2016, midnight PDT
Winners Announced
Aug. 25, 2016, noon PDT
Judging Close
Aug. 22, 2016, 9:09 p.m. PDT
Please note that due to an extended judging period, the winner of the Apps for Humanity Challenge will be announced on Friday August 26th. Thank you for your patience.
July 25, 2016, 10:25 a.m. PDT
Please note that the winner of the Apps for Humanity Challenge will be announced on August 22, 2016!  
July 14, 2016, midnight PDT
July 7, 2016, 8 p.m. PDT
Submission Deadline
Deadline for ideation challenge submissions
July 5, 2016, 9:52 a.m. PDT
There are only two more days until the submission deadline closes (July 7th, 8 p.m. PDT)! We've received tons of great submissions, and don't want you to miss your chance to win $20,000! Let us know if you have any questions or concerns, and we'll b ... Read More
June 21, 2016, 12:45 p.m. PDT
There are 16 days left until the Apps for Humanity Challenge closes. Be sure to get your submissions in on time (July 7th, 8 p.m. PDT) and feel free to reach out to the CoreTech/HeroX team if you have any questions. You can reach us at: herox@coretec ... Read More
May 18, 2016, 10:19 a.m. PDT
It’s crunchtime. The pressure is on. So what would the next HeroX do in a situation like this? Take the challenge head on! With the deadline for entries right around the corner, the Apps for Humanity HeroX Challenge is entering the final stretch of ... Read More
May 6, 2016, 10:37 a.m. PDT
A contestant wrote to us with the following questions regarding Facebook apps and ownership rights. See our answers in italics:  1) Can an app in Facebook be programmed in CORE? It depends on the nature of your solution. If it is a socialization ap ... Read More
April 28, 2016, 2:12 p.m. PDT
A contestant expressed concern about submitting an idea without having a technical background. Note that the Apps for Humanity Challenge is open to contestants with OR without a technical background, so long as you fulfill the challenge criteria. To ... Read More
April 28, 2016, 2:10 p.m. PDT
Please note that individuals and teams are welcome to submit more than one entry if they so choose.
March 17, 2016, 10:40 a.m. PDT
We know, we know. Last time we announced our last deadline extension would be March 31st; however, recently we've had an overwhelming response from student groups interested in participating in the Apps for Humanity Challenge. To ensure a healthy com ... Read More
March 17, 2016, 10:30 a.m. PDT
A contestant wrote to us with a great question: are different programming languages comptaible with CORE? The answer is yes! CORE works regardless of the programming language used. Have a question about CORE? Write to us: herox@coretechfoundation.o ... Read More
Feb. 29, 2016, 4:20 p.m. PST
If you need some help understanding what's included in our CORE services, have a look at the image below. Also remember to revisit question #3 in the Challenge Overview and the FAQs for more details. This is important because we're looking for submis ... Read More
Feb. 29, 2016, 2:52 p.m. PST
We have updated the Apps for Humanity submission form so that you can now upload you proposals in doc or PDF form if you wish. 
Feb. 22, 2016, 3:14 p.m. PST
CoreTech was—and is—built using Open Source Software (OSS) and development. It’s a movement among website architects that you’ve probably heard of before. Open source. Both the technology and philosophy behind OSS line up very well with CoreTech’s c ... Read More
Feb. 8, 2016, 2:57 p.m. PST
Need some inspiration in developing your app? Read about how one nonprofit developed an app to end homelessness.   Sometimes, all someone needs is a second chance.   That’s the idea anyway behind a new initiative to end homelessness for U.S. vete ... Read More
Feb. 3, 2016, 3:24 p.m. PST
HeroX contestants,  In the interest of soliciting the best ideas from competitors, we've decided to extend the deadline for the Apps for Humanity Challenge one last time. The new deadline is March 31, 2016.  For those who have already submitted pro ... Read More
Jan. 25, 2016, 11:02 a.m. PST
Attention contestants: please note the contest judging criteria below. We're less than a month away from the submission closing date. Please ensure that your submissions fulfill these criteria. Have a question? Post it in the comments section or emai ... Read More
Jan. 15, 2016, 2:53 p.m. PST
Three young Australians won $10,000 grants for their apps for social good after participating in the Samsung Adappt Bootcamp. Read about their winning ideas, Diabeteens, In The Zone, and Meet and Move here. 
Jan. 11, 2016, 1:29 p.m. PST
Read about one of CoreTech's projects, Project Prime, at HeroX: https://herox.com/news/499-project-prime-ramps-up-effective-youth-engagement.  Learn more bout CoreTech Foundation and follow our updates here:  http://coretechfoundation.org/ twitter ... Read More
Jan. 11, 2016, 1:29 p.m. PST
Read about one of CoreTech's projects, Project Prime, at HeroX: https://herox.com/news/499-project-prime-ramps-up-effective-youth-engagement.  Learn more bout CoreTech Foundation and follow our updates here:  http://coretechfoundation.org/ twitter ... Read More
Jan. 5, 2016, 11:09 a.m. PST
Please note that the deadline for the Apps for Humanity Challenge is Feburary 15, 2016 (not March 14th as incorrectly indicated in an update yesterday). Thank you and good luck!
Jan. 4, 2016, 10:35 a.m. PST
Happy New Year, HeroX contestants!  We've received some exciting new submissions during the holiday season. Keep 'em coming! To ensure that all contestants have a fair shot at the Apps for Humanity Challenge, we are urging you to review our judging ... Read More
Dec. 17, 2015, 10:29 a.m. PST
Don't have a tech background but have a great idea to solve a humanitarian issue using tech? We want to hear from you! The challenge is open to anyone with exciting and innovative solutions that fit our challenge criteria. Not sure where to start? A ... Read More
Dec. 9, 2015, 2:33 p.m. PST
Dec. 7, 2015, 4:50 p.m. PST
Dec. 3, 2015, 11:44 a.m. PST
A contestant asked us whether the aim of this competition is to create an app that helps nonprofit organizations OR to come up with an idea that helps humanity in general. We answered: Great question! The short answer is: you are aiming to solve an ... Read More
Dec. 2, 2015, 9:41 a.m. PST
Read it at: http://www.builtinla.com/2015/12/01/coretech-launches-humanitarian-competition-20000 
Nov. 20, 2015, 12:09 p.m. PST
Hey contestants: we've added two links under "CORE Platform Features". Check them out to learn more about CORE's functionality. Remember, your explanation of how CORE can be used in your solution counts for a whopping 30 points. Still have questions ... Read More
Nov. 18, 2015, 5:38 p.m. PST
For folks interested in seeing sample submissions from past HeroX challenges, we've added a few links under "Example Submissions" on the challenge page. The more detailed and comprehensive your proposals are, the better! In case you can't find them o ... Read More
Nov. 18, 2015, 5:33 p.m. PST
We've had a few requests come in for more time to submit detailed proposals to our challenge, so we've extended the deadline for submissions to February 15th, 2016. Good luck, contestants!
Nov. 10, 2015, 2:19 p.m. PST
We've received our first submission - an exciting indication of the innovative ideas floating around out there to make the world a better place. Keep 'em coming and reach out if you have any questions: herox@coretechfoundation.org.    
Oct. 29, 2015, 9 a.m. PDT
Individual registration opens. During this stage, individuals can register for the challenge and begin to work toward the challenge goals.
Oct. 26, 2015, 2:05 p.m. PDT
See the challenge overview page for the fundamental building blocks of our CORE software, and take a look at the FAQs for further context and details. 
Oct. 26, 2015, 1:38 p.m. PDT
See the main challenge page for the submission judging criteria and score breakdown
Oct. 15, 2015, 9 a.m. PDT
Pre registration
Pre-registration for ideation challenge opens
Updates (32)
Forum (10)