We Are Microsoft: Developers Rally Around Charities

I am still recovering from the intense weekend at the We Are Microsoft Charity Challenge Weekend that took place in Dallas, TX.  Toi Wright and the crew put together an awesome event.  The event had over 100 developers come together to create solutions for 22 charities in the Dallas, TX area over the weekend. 

I was assigned to a team of awesome individuals to create a new website for paxUnited.  paxUnited provides programs to youth and adults to provide them with the skills they need to peacefully resolve conflicts.

The Team


Todd Stone, Tim Mitchell, Nathan Woodward, Jay Smith, Andrew Dalgleish

The Project

paxUnited wanted a complete website that provides a more professional, polished look to customers and clients. Additionally, we would like to establish additional sections for visitors that provide more in-depth information. Another great need is the ability to put merchandise online for purchase and to provide online registration for training courses.

Friday evening we meet with two member of paxUnited and quickly got down to discussing requirements, we needed an easy to use content management system that would also included a robust event management system with pre and post test for course registration, a store where you could purchase paxUnited items, and a donation page.  We quickly discovered that the current hosting plan that paxUnited had would not support any Microsoft .NET or SQL Server applications so we opted to go with the free hosting offered all of the charities by Verio.

After checking out Telerick’s SiteFinity and Telligent’s Graffiti CMS, both very powerful and capable Content Management Systems, we elected to go with mojoPortal.  The mojoPortal offered easy to use page editing and included Blog, ecommerce, secure file sharing, surveys, polls and more.  Todd had worked with it before and after looking at the demo site that showed off two premium modules we were hooked.  Todd contacted the developer directly too see if he would donate the two premium modules to our charity. He agreed, so a huge thanks to mojoPortal for making our project a success.

The rest of the weekend we spent creating content and configuring the site.  Most of Sunday was spent on the new look and feel of the site.  I really want to thank the web designers that help us.  The site wouldn’t look nearly as awesome without their help.

So take a look at the results…

current site new site
Before After

It was an incredible experience and I want to thank everyone on my team, it was great to get to know you and work with you.  This is my second time to attend this event and I hope sometime this year we can have one in Northwest Arkansas.

Here are some links to find out more about the event.  The facebook group for the event includes lots of photo and several video profiles of the charities.

We Are Microsoft Charity Challenge Weekend: http://wearemicrosoft.com

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