Trying to Drive Impact? Get Scrappy. Here’s Why We Support Develop Appalachia and You Should Too

There are so many talented, hardworking people in regions that are often overlooked for the coasts.

I often talk about the inspiration for our company name in my meetings with leaders at the organizations we consider supporting. In computer science, “Skiplist” is a data structure that is intelligently fast, efficient, and lightweight.

Modeling our practices and approach to philanthropy based on those qualities has helped guide our decision-making.

Values Define Us

Our values are at the forefront of what we do – whether that’s helping people build and understand hard technology or focusing on our relationships with business and community partners.

So, when a member of our engineering team shared some information about Develop Appalachia and their mission, it was an easy decision to support them.

Develop Appalachia is a 501(c)(3) working to help develop entrepreneurial, coding, business, and design skills in the Appalachian region.

When I spoke with President and co-founder, Eric May, I was not only impressed with the mission and goals of Develop Appalachia, but with the personal commitment of Eric and his board. Getting a non-profit going from the ground up is an arduous task, made all the more so while maintaining a day-job.

But Eric and his team have managed to make it work, and their first event, Hackpalachia, is set to take place on September 28 at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Hackpalachia is, “an inclusive, social-entrepreneurship focused hackathon for students and young professionals in the Appalachian region.” Participants will have the opportunity to work with students from universities throughout the region to tackle tough problems, gain leadership skills, and learn about entrepreneurship while growing their artistic, business, or coding skills.

Is it obvious why Skiplist is proud to be a sponsor?

We like the scrappy organizations.

The grassroots-led efforts to improve promote tech and entrepreneurship in underserved areas.

Groups like Develop Appalachia that can take even a small amount of funding and do transformative work.

And their goals don’t stop at a single event. Develop Appalachia has plans to host workshops, networking events, and build a community focused on the people who live in or are from the Appalachian region and their excellent work.

On a recent call, Eric shared that:

Experience tells me that there are a lot of talented, hard-working, and hungry people in the region who just need that extra bump or that skill/network pipeline to help them achieve their dreams or land that next big job. I don’t think there’s much of a meaningful difference between someone who goes to Harvard (or any other highly-ranked school) and someone who goes to a university in the Appalachian region, except one of those two most likely has had to struggle a lot more in their life and doesn’t have the resources and support they need. For most jobs, even something like a 10-week bootcamp or training program can suffice, and a lot of that time spent in the education pipeline doesn’t necessarily equate to business success.

That conversation reaffirmed the decision to support them in their endeavors and to build a lasting partnership with Develop Appalachia.

Eric and the entire Develop Appalachia team share many of our values at Skiplist. There are so many talented, hardworking people in regions that are often overlooked for the coasts. As we continue to draw attention to the ideas and people in these areas, the more we can drive meaningful impact.

Build Thoughtful Software
Samantha Wolfe
Written by

Samantha Wolfe

Samantha is an experienced project manager with practical knowledge of marketing. She obtained a Master’s of Public Health degree from Kent State University and began her career in the public health and non-profit fields before making the jump to the software industry.