After several weeks of outreach, we’ve solicited a great collection of hackathon challenges from local organizations. They truly represent Western Massachusetts, and they show exactly why civic hacking has value beyond the big city.

For example, did you know that Massachusetts has data about the location of public wells but no comprehensive information about private wells? That’s fine for Boston and other places with an extensive public water infrastructure, but it’s problematic for our part of the state. Glen Ayers from the Franklin Regional Council of Governments wants to fix that.

And while most people around here understand the benefits of shopping from local businesses and buying local food, they might not know the benefits of banking locally. Dan Finn from Pioneer Valley Local First wants to see where our money is and visualize how local deposits flow out to the community.

Community Action, which serves 30,000 people in our region, wants to better understand where the local need is for safety net services to make sure they’re allocating resources effectively. Census data to the rescue!

The Care Center in Holyoke wants to tap visually-minded folks to illustrate the innovative education they provide for teenage mothers, a population that many assume are destined for a lifetime of minimum wage jobs.

These are just a sample of the projects being pitched on June 1st. Someone from each of these organizations will be on hand throughout the weekend to help us understand the best way to move their work forward.

Inspired? Have thoughts on the challenges? Put ‘em on our Hackpad, and we’ll see you at Hack for Western Mass.