Boston Innovation Challenge brings mobile engagement to the Red Cross mission

Communications Director Kat Powers (center) and her happy group of hackers.

The American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts came to the Boston Innovation Challenge with a challenge of their own – find a way to connect to a younger crowd of potential volunteers, reach out to the wired generation on how to be prepared in the event of an emergency – oh yeah, and do it in a way that’s entertaining and engaging. 

The result? Two teams of energized and inspired coders, designers, and business people created mobile apps over a two-week span to help boost outreach and acknowledgement of the American Red Cross mission. 

The first is a “Build a Go Bag” app that allows smartphone users to put together a disaster kit and shopping list – complete with unique, personalized items – and share their go bags online. Visit for more information. 

The other is an American Red Cross weather demo application called “RedAlert” that allows you to track severe weather, prepare users for weather emergencies with mobile checklists, and monitor weather near family and friends. The app allows mobile users to be proactive in their preparedness in case of tornados and hurricanes. 

We were so delighted to be a part of event at the Harvard Innovation Lab and happy to say that both Red Cross teams tied for second place in the challenge!

“I am so excited other folks get that ‘innovation’ and ‘American Red Cross’ go together like Charles and River or perhaps ‘Boston’ and ‘Innovation.’ Our participation in the Boston Innovation Challenge has really stirred up some great collaborations we know will help serve our humanitarian mission.” – Kat Powers, director of communications, American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts.

Moving forward with innovation and social engagement is important to the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts and crucial to taking awareness and preparedness to the next level. We hope you play along and check out the apps! And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and “like” us on Facebook!

Check out a wrap-up of the event on!

American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts CEO Jarrett Barrios (second from right) sits on a panel of judges at the Boston Innovation Challenge on Sunday.


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