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Helping to Make a Mark in Baltimore

Ashley Conway

5 min read

Last updated on February 4th, 2023 at 2:33pm

We recently partnered with Make a Mark to both sponsor and participate in their annual event in Baltimore. I talked to our team’s participants to learn more about the organization and their experience during the day of the event.

A Little Background on Make a Mark

Make A Mark was launched to supply nonprofits with resources that typically are out of reach or out of budget. Through an application process, Make A Mark matches some of the most talented local designers and developers with a nonprofit who would benefit from their marketing, design, and technology skills. Make A Mark is making strides in cities around the world, and recently wrapped up its second year in Baltimore, Maryland. To find out more about participating in a city near you - as a nonprofit or a maker - check out the Make a Mark website.

Finding a Way to Give Back

Being a relatively new company comes with many firsts, including evaluating ways to give back to our local community. We decided to both apply as participants and sponsor the Make A Mark Baltimore chapter event in September. We had three employees apply and be selected to participate in the event. Nine nonprofits were selected to receive support from local designers and developers. Each nonprofit was paired with a group of 5-6 talented creators. The nonprofits participating included Baltimore Job Hunters Support Group, Bikemore, Black Girls Unscripted, Hosts for Humanity, PIVOT, Positive Strides, Touching Young Lives, and United Ministries.

Shortly before the event, we learned who our team members would be working with: the Women’s Law Center of Maryland.

I sat down with Tara Urso, Senior Product Designer, and Evan Rittenhouse, Full Stack Engineer, to talk about their experience during the event. Tara and Evan worked with our CEO, Brian Price, on the team helping the Women’s Law Center of Maryland revamp their website.

Q: How did you hear about Make A Mark?

Tara: I found out about it sometime last year on Twitter via a tweet from Steph Loughran (the Make a Mark Baltimore site leader). I then raised it here at as a possible community effort we could participate in.

Q: Tell me a little bit about the Women’s Law Center of Maryland and their goals for the event.

Evan: The Women's Law Center of Maryland is a nonprofit that works to promote legislation for women's rights. They also help out in court cases involving things like domestic violence and discrimination, and they do some policy and advocacy activities.

Tara: The Women’s Law Center was looking for a refresh of their website. Specifically, they were looking for a mobile-responsive website and to have their main services front and center.

Q: What inspired you to get involved?

Evan: I decided to get involved because I enjoy using my skills to help others. On top of that, we later found out that we were going to be helping the Women’s Law Center and I got excited because I really like their cause and respect their mission.

Tara: I wanted to get involved in Make a Mark because it brings together volunteers in the creative and tech community and provides a way to make a large and lasting impact for nonprofits. Giving a nonprofit a tremendously useful asset such as branding and marketing materials or, for our group, an entire new website, is something that can help support a nonprofit’s mission for years to come.

Q: What does it mean to you to be able to give back to a nonprofit?

Evan: Giving back to a nonprofit just really feels good, you know? These organizations are working tirelessly for what they believe in. With the work these people are doing, it's just making our world a little bit better.

Tara: Giving back to the WLCMD was amazing because we were able to put in place a tool for them to use going forward. Not only is the new site mobile-friendly, it’s also really easy for WLCMD staff to add to and edit themselves.

Q: How has your experience with prepared you for this?

Evan: We put a lot of emphasis on making easy to use. Bringing that same expertise to this space - for example, ensuring a consistent look and feel and a natural user experience - really helped our efforts during Make A Mark.

Tara: Working as part of a team to define requirements, prioritize tasks, and incorporate feedback to designs here at definitely helped prepare me for Make a Mark.

whiteboard of new website wireframe

After 12 hours of design and development, our team walked away feeling inspired, accomplished, and ready for next year. Below are the before and after shots. You can check out the complete product of our collaboration at the new WLCMD website.

photo of complete team at wrap up

Thanks to our team members from UMBC, idfive, Orange Element, and Unleashed Technologies. And a huge thanks to idfive for opening their doors to us and all the participants and other sponsors!

The before and after of the WLCMD website:

before and after view of the WLCMD website

About the Author

Ashley Conway

Ashley is the operations specialist at Kion.

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