Our 2022 Year in Review
Published on Feb 7, 2023 by Derek Eder, Sean Watland and Michael Chladek
Ahead of our fourth annual Member Meeting and Board Elections on Feb 7, 2023, we’re publishing our 2022 year in review to share with our Members and our community (that’s you!).
As we look ahead to 2023, we also look back at what we did in 2022. Here we go …
For those newer to Chi Hack Night, this is the eighth “year in review” that we have done. Take a look at our year-in-review posts from 2021, 2020, 2019, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014 to follow along how we got here.
In that tradition, here are the high-level statistics for Chi Hack Night in 2022:
- We put on 48 Chi Hack Night events. If it’s Tuesday, even during a pandemic, it’s hack night!
- We had 34 presentations with topics covering climate change, education, equity, govtech, journalism, and more!
- We held our third annual Member Meeting and board election
- We held a hybrid community feedback session
- We celebrated our 500th Chi Hack Night episode
- We simplified the committees our Board uses to get work done
- We streamlined the renewal process for our membership
- We remain financially stable
- We updated and set new objectives and key results (OKRs) for our organization
And with that, let’s dive in.
We had 34 presentations, 11 in-person!
Below is every presentation from 2022, organized by topic. You can also watch all 34 of them in one YouTube playlist.
Presentations by category
Climate change and environment
- #475 What does it actually take to decarbonize a state?
- #478 Data for Climate: Lessons learned from Sunrise Movement’s data team
- #483 How The Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act Was Passed
- #495 Chicago’s Climate Action Plan
- #502 Decarbonize My State
- #503 ChiVes - Harmonizing Environmental Data & Partnerships for Resilient Futures
- #486 Tracking COVID-19 Data from Chicago Public Schools
- #507 SOYPE : Saving Our Youth from Prison via Education
- #519 Civic Tech’s Evolution: Thoughts for the Next Gen
- #521 Administrative Informatics - Understanding the Data Needs of Public Agencies
- #492 The Internet Equity Initiative
- #499 Unpacking Chicago’s Digital Divide
- #508 Tonika Lewis Johnson, Folded Map
- #512 Project Rainbow: Addressing Learning Loss through a Digital Equity Lens
- #513 The Chicago Covenants Project
- #514 Digital Equity - A 40 Year Community Retrospective
Government technology and data
- #476 Former Inspector General Joe Ferguson
- #482 Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison
- #505 Residential Valuation V3: Cook County’s Next Top Model
- #477 It’s All Good - Why Block Club Chicago Chose Positivity For Their First Podcast
- #489 Cabrini Green: A History of Broken Promises
- #491 How we mapped racial segregation in Chicago
- #496 City Cast Chicago
- #515 Injustice Watch’s #CheckYourJudges election guide
- #490 Meera Raja, CUTgroup Chicago: a reflection
- #480 Code for Chicago: Supporting Not-for-Profit Organizations
- #511 The Chicago Tool Library
- #518 The Resource Directory Dilemma: or, Why there isn’t, probably won’t be, and maybe shouldn’t be a Yelp for Social Services
- #494 The Handcrafted Digital Map
- #498 MAPPED Chicago (Making a People’s Pathway for Engaging Design)
- #479 The future of preservation policies and movements in Chicago
- #506 How Commuters Take Action in Chicago
Chi Hack Night celebrations
List of organizations represented
In these presentations, we heard from individuals from an array of organization types, including local government, journalism, academia, nonprofits, and business:
- Cook County Assessor’s Office
- Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison
- Cook County President’s Office
- Former Inspector General for Chicago
- Office of the Mayor, City of Chicago
- University of Chicago
- University of Illinois
- Virginia Tech
- Block Club Chicago
- City Bureau
- CityCast Chicago
- Injustice Watch
- South Side Weekly
- Code for America
- United Congregation of Metro East
- P33 Chicago
- Chicago Tool Library
- Open Referral
- Clean Power Lake County
- Commuters Take Action
- Folded Map
- Sierra Club Illinois
- Sunrise Movement
- The Accelerate Group
- Chicago CartoGraphics
- Chicago Digital Access Alliance Inc
- Design Trust Chicago
- Preservation Futures
We held our third board elections
From top left, 2022 elected and appointed seats: Michael Chladek, Sean Watland, Eric Sherman, Cameron Sow and Laurie Merrell.
On Feb 22nd, we held our third election for our Board of Directors. We were amazed at the turnout. Of our 57 official Members, 26 attended virtually to cast their votes.
There were three members chosen by Chi Hack Night Members based on popular vote and two appointed by the current Board of Directors with majority Membership approval. All board members serve 2 year terms.
The elected members of the Board were: Michael Chladek, Eric Sherman, and Sean Watland. The appointed Board members approved by the Membership were Cameron Sow and Laurie Merrell. After the election, the Board still had one vacancy and in August, we appointed Shriya Jalukar as our 11th Board member.
Before the upcoming election in 2023, we’d like to give a special thank you to Samantha Evans and Steve Luker! They will not be seeking another term on the Board at Chi Hack Night, but will certainly be missed! Thank you for all you’ve done for the Chi Hack Night Community!
March 2022 Community Feedback Session
Responses from the March 15, 2022 community feedback session
On March 15th, Chi Hack Night hosted a community feedback session to gather how folks are feeling about their communities while still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, how are folks feeling about Chi Hack Night, and what changes they might like to see in the coming months.
Similar to the results we saw in prior feedback sessions, feedback contained a mix of optimism and anxiety about the future. Many comments centered on the challenges and opportunities of online, hybrid, and in-person events, with a variety of opinions expressed but seeming general consensus that Chi Hack Night should plan to continue with hybrid offerings.
This community feedback session was more inwardly focused than our mostly post-election session last year, with a primary emphasis on Chi Hack Night operations during the current phase of the pandemic.
While there was some ambivalence about how well Chi Hack Night has achieved hybrid programming thus far, there was a strong and shared interest in figuring out how to continually improve and how to ensure that Chi Hack Night remains an inclusive and accessible space for Chicagoans to get involved in civic technology through the pandemic and beyond.
We held our 500th episode
Co-hosts Derek Eder and Emily Drevets at CHN 500
July 12, 2022 marked the 500th episode of Chi Hack Night. That’s 10 years!
For this very special in-person hack night we featured 7 lightning talks answering the question ‘how has Chi Hack Night impacted you or your organization?’ You can watch each of them here:
- Eric Sherman - How I Chi Hacked My Life
- Kyla Williams Tate - Civic Leadership Springboard (pre-recorded)
- Derek Eder - Decarb My State
- Emily Drevets-Larson - Start where you are
- Michael Chladek - Chicago Media Justice
- Laurie Merrell - The #jobs Channel & Me: How CHN facilitated my career switch into (civic) tech
- Nick Lucius - From Lawyer to Chicago’s CTO (pre-recorded)
There was also:
- a photo booth!
- and, of course, civic hacking fun for all!
Chi Hack Night current and former board members at the CHN 500 photo booth
New board committee structures
In 2022, the Board adopted new committee structures to better align with the core functions of Chi Hack Night. At the start of this year, the Board had 9 committees (yes, we realize that was way too many!). Each board member was generally a part of 3 to 4.
After we revised our organization’s OKRs, or goals, we asked the question: do our current committees align with our OKRs? After some consideration, we decided they did not and there were more than we needed.
The Board, led by Sean Watland, reorganized our committees into more manageable groupings that aligned with our organization’s key goals.
In August 2022, the Board decided to pare down our committees into just 3:
- Event Ops
- Membership & Volunteers
- Communications & Promotion
Updates to our membership process
As you may know, Chi Hack Night is a Membership based non-profit. The membership votes on our Board of Directors and our bylaws.
In December of 2022, we held a special member meeting where members voted on two proposed changes to Chi Hack Night’s bylaws to make the renewal process more straightforward. We had 18 members attend, who unanimously approved the two amendments.
Members will now need to renew their membership on an annual basis and the specific qualifications required for membership were removed from the bylaws themselves in order to allow greater flexibility to explore other models of what membership qualifications may look like in our remote / in-person hybrid future.
Chi Hack Night continues to remain financially stable and is in a good position to cover a potential increase in in-person events for 2023. The return of in-person events in 2022 meant increased expenses compared to 2021, although expenses remained substantially lower than they were pre-pandemic.
In 2022, we received donations from several individuals throughout the year (thank you to those who donated!) and saw the return of organizations providing sponsorship donations to Chi Hack Night (thank you, Open Tech Strategies and DataMade!).
With the return of in-person events, the main expenses for 2022 included professionally recording and editing the in-person presentations as well as providing food at such events. We also saw an increase in presenters taking advantage of Chi Hack Night’s honorarium for speakers.
|Cash on Hand Beginning of 2022||$ 30,426.44|
|Total Income||$ 13,990.00|
|Advertising & Marketing||5,923.38|
|Food for In-Person Chi Hack Night||5,084.71|
|Legal & Professional Services||200.00|
|Office Supplies & Software||1,078.86|
|Taxes & Licenses||29.00|
|Total Expenses||$ 15,786.41|
|Net Operating Income||$ –1,796.41|
|Cash on Hand End of 2022||$ 28,630.03|
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
In 2020, the Chi Hack Night board set out to create and measure Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for our organization. After establishing our OKRs, we assigned each of them to the relevant committee and tracked and measured the progress at our regular board meetings. In July 2022, a group of Board Members met and set our OKRs for 2022. As we set these new OKRs in the middle of the year, we will not fully measure them until Summer 2023.
From our 2021 OKRs, we tried to organize our OKRs around core functions of what it takes to keep Chi Hack Night running. We settled on 4 Objectives:
- Run the Event
- Sustain the Event
- Promote the Event
- Ensure attendees get value from the Event
While we are not on track to hit all of our OKRs, we feel proud of the work we have accomplished over this past year. As always, we will continue to grow and improve as a board with each year.
Below are each of our OKRs and how we are tracking towards hitting them.
Whether we will achieve this by Summer 2023
ON TRACK we will likely achieve this key result
IN PROGRESS we can still achieve this key result, but it will take some extra effort
NOT ON TRACK we will likely not achieve this key result
Objective 1 - Run the event
Produce a live, weekly civic engagement event that meaningfully includes diverse speakers and attendees
ON TRACK Key Result 1.1: Run Chi Hack Night every week, excluding planned holiday weeks
ON TRACK Key Result 1.2: Ensure each presenter represents at least one of Chi Hack Night’s values
ON TRACK Key Result 1.3: Measure and track the diversity of the Chi Hack Night membership, presenters and co-hosts
ON TRACK Key Result 1.4: Ensure that at least 30% of presenters are persons of color and at least 50% of presenters fill out the demographic survey
ON TRACK Key Result 1.5: Ensure that at least 50% of co-hosts are from underrepresented groups in tech
NOT ON TRACK Key Result 1.6: Measure the satisfaction of participants that attend our hybrid and online events to make them more inclusive and engaging
Objective 2 - Sustain the event
Build & maintain a sustainable infrastructure for weekly operations engaging volunteers and expanding our organization’s capacity
ON TRACK Key Result 2.1: Each quarter, each volunteer role has been performed by at least two different people
NOT ON TRACK Key Result 2.2: Recruit and onboard one new non-board co-host, greeter, “Welcome to CHN” host for operational functions at Chi Hack Night per quarter
ON TRACK Key Result 2.3: Create a clear Membership application and renewal process that accounts for our remote environment
Objective 3 - Promote the event
Promote and share Chi Hack Night presentations, events, and projects to a wider audience
IN PROGRESS Key Result 3.1: Create metrics for how successfully we are promoting the event
IN PROGRESS Key Result 3.2: Draft a strategy for growing the attendance of our events
Objective 4 - Ensure attendees get value from the event
Offer valuable opportunities for attendees to learn about and get involved in our civic tech community
IN PROGRESS Key Result 4.1: Host “Welcome to Chi Hack Night” session each week to engage new attendees and help make it routine so more people can run it
ON TRACK Key Result 4.2: Each quarter, ensure a learning breakout group is hosted on digital skills (development, implementation, data, cryptography), civic literacy (how government works and how to participate), or media literacy (data journalism, visualization)
IN PROGRESS Key Result 4.3: Twice a year, facilitate a community feedback session with members of our community and share the results back in a blog post
Thus concludes our 2022 recap. Thanks for reading it. Here’s to a great 2023 for Chicago’s civic tech community! See you Tuesday!
About the author
Derek Eder, Sean Watland and Michael Chladek