For Immediate Release                                

October 18, 2016

Contact: Marie Ternes / / 917-282-9862

Civic Hall Labs Announces Winners of the 2016 Healthy Public Challenge

NEW YORK, NY (Oct 18, 2016) — Today, Civic Hall Labs, the nonprofit research and development arm of Civic Hall, presents the winners of its 2016 Healthy Public Challenge. Civic Hall Labs distributed a total of $100,000 and six months of mentorship to ten teams with solutions to build more cohesive, engaged, and accessible communities. The competition generated civic tech solutions from entrepreneurs, students, technologists, designers, government, health professionals and policy makers.

The 2016 Healthy Public Challenge asked participants to focus on one of three target areas that address the civic roots of health disparities within communities:

(1) Civic Cohesion: increasing communal interactions, community discourse, and engagement within and across groups;
(2) Civic Agency: supporting underrepresented groups for participation in governing our public at the local, state, and/or national levels, improving decision-making through data equity, open sourced tools or access to information;
(3) Public Assets: protecting and increasing access to public goods and social safety nets.

The Healthy Public Challenge winners are drawn from across the robust field of civic tech. Through their projects, Healthy Public Challenge Civic Innovators part of NYC Councilmatic, Reported PD, and the Participatory Budgeting Project are building civic agency by increasing dialogue between neighborhood groups and local government entities to discuss the most pressing health and safety issues facing their communities. Civic Innovators at New York City Hollaback!, Article 25, Looped, Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, and the Good Men Project with ThinkPlay Partners are strengthening civic cohesion through their technology interventions tackling social isolation, inter-generational learning and support, and gender-based violence. Finally, Civic Innovators at Heat Seek and are increasing public assets by using technology to protect fair, safe, and affordable housing in the most vulnerable communities in NYC.  

Challenge winners include community-based nonprofits, individuals, and technology startups. Each recipient of the grand prize will receive $10,000 and six months of advising with Civic Hall Labs and their Healthy Public Experts as they develop their groundbreaking projects.

About Civic Hall Labs

Civic Hall Labs, launched at the 2016 Personal Democracy Forum conference, exists to collaboratively design and develop technology for the public good. Through our Themed Labs and the Civic Xcelerator, we bring together domain experts, data scientists, researchers, designers, technologists, media makers, community groups and entrepreneurs to create measurable pilots that have the potential to grow. Throughout our design and development process we create new models for civic participation, whilst simultaneously expanding the field of civic tech. Learn more at

With the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Civic Hall Labs launched the Healthy Public Project to catalyze innovation in addressing the civic roots of health.  


June 9, 2016


Marie Ternes



Civic Hall Labs Debuts at Personal Democracy Forum New Nonprofit to Build Tech for Good Not Cash

NEW YORK, NY (June 9, 2016) —  Today, Civic Hall Labs, the nonprofit research and development arm of Civic Hall, launched at Personal Democracy Forum. Founded by Andrew Rasiej and Micah L. Sifry, it exists to reimagine civic participation for the 21st century; expand the field of civic tech; and demonstrate a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to designing and building technology for the public good.

In an emerging field, Civic Hall Labs defines “civic tech” as the use of technology to advance any issues connected to the welfare and well-being of the general public. Distinct from private lives, the “public good” deals with shared challenges and opportunities at a societal level.

“Civic Hall Labs is founded on the premise that technology can do more for humanity than just generate wealth,” said Andrew Rasiej, Civic Hall Labs’ Co-Founder and CEO of Civic Hall, “When technology is designed and built with the people it intends to serve, it can improve lives and make the world a better place.”

“We are launching Civic Hall Labs to build on the efforts and talents of the vibrant community at Civic Hall,” said Micah L. Sifry, Civic Hall Labs’ Co-Founder and Executive Director of Civic Hall. “Labs is going to help move the needle and show that the tech community cares about making positive change, not just money.”

Civic Hall Labs is structured to use technology to make an impact. The sister relationship to Civic Hall, the largestcollaborative community in New York City of individuals, organizations and government entities who care about leveraging digital tools for societal impact, uniquely positions Civic Hall Labs.

"Technology alone will not save us. Technology wielded as a tool by an empathetic, informed public can," said Elizabeth Stewart, Civic Hall Labs Founding Executive Director. “Civic Hall Labs’ view is that complex public challenges require sustained collaboration by diverse stakeholders.  Civic Hall Labs will help grow projects and ideas that might not be a venture capital firm’s investment dream, but will improve the welfare and well-being of our communities.”

Civic Hall Labs fulfills its mission through themed Labs that leverage Labs’ path breaking public development methodology and a Civic Xcelerator that supports individuals in becoming civic inventors and entrepreneurs. “Public interest organizations, foundations, civic entrepreneurs, and public agencies need a trusted source who understands their world, their mission, and their constraints to help them use design, data, and technology in thoughtful ways to create positive impact on society. Our methodology is designed to bring together diverse skillsets and perspectives to create open source projects that can scale,” shared Erin Simpson, Labs’ Director of Programs.

Civic Hall Labs launches with funding from the Ford Foundation; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Craigslist Charitable Foundation; Democracy Fund; and New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Central to the mission of Civic Hall Labs is having a network of experts in technology, media, human rights, philanthropy, and the public sector. The founding Senior Advisors are:

         Annmarie Levins, General Manager for Microsoft’s Technology & Civic Engagement Group

         Nancy Lublin, Founder and CEO of Crisis Text Line

         Dan O’Neil, formerly the Executive Director of Smart Chicago

         Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director of Code for America

         Graham Roberts, Graphics Senior Editor at The New York Times 

         Jack Rosenthal, Pulitzer Prize Winner and former President of The Times Company Foundation

         Bryan Sivak, former CTO at US Dept Health and Human Services and tech entrepreneur

         Beth Blauer, Executive Director of Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University

         danah boyd, Founder and President of Data & Society

         Baratunde Thurston, Co-Founder of Cultivated Wit, comedian, writer and digital expert most recently Producer on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

         Anand Giridharadas, New York Times columnist

Civic Hall Labs hosts two breakout sessions at the Personal Democracy Forum 2016 :

         Thursday, June 9th, 4:00 PM: Introduction to the Civic Tech Field Guide

         Friday, June 10th, 3:15 PM: Ethical Frameworks for Civic Tech

Learn more at