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Oct. 13, 2016 12:58 pm

12 social innovators to catch at the Philly Geek Awards this weekend

See who's up against who in this nerdy, socially conscious showdown.

A Workshop School student watches a tub of ice cream rocket through the atmosphere. Yes, this is relevant.

(Screenshot via YouTube)

Geeks is innovators, too.

We’re coproducing the sixth annual Philly Geek Awards this Sunday, Oct. 16, and are super pumped to bring together the best of the city’s nerdery. That includes a handful of people, projects and organizations using innovative thinking to solve social problems. Here are 12 of them.

See the nominees for all 14 categories here.

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1. Broad Street Ministry 

Category: Impact Org of the Year

We’ve been eagerly awaiting the birth of BSM-FedNuts restaurant collab Rooster Soup Co. for over two years, but it looks like it’s finally gearing up. Besides that awesome partnership, though, BSM does a ton for Philadelphians experiencing homelessness — such as offering mail service to 3,000 people.

2. Community Futures Lab 

Category: Impact Org of the Year

Rasheedah Phillips is connecting her love for Afrofuturism — watch her explain here — with her love for making Philadelphia more equitable with the recently launched Community Futures Lab. The project will document the memories and hopes of Sharswood residents.

3. Coded by Kids 

Category: Impact Org of the Year

The nonprofit that brings coding instruction to underserved youth just turned 3, and it celebrated by launching a hefty crowdfunding campaign. The goal? Serving 300 kids per week, up from 100 currently served. That’s a lot of brackets.

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4. Simran Sidhu

Category: Mission Leader of the Year

She led YouthBuild Philly for 21 years and is starting up a new project focused on youth advocacy. The initiative is still unnamed, and Sidhu’s not sure exactly what form it will take, but it will likely involve funding, programming or both. We’re excited to see what happens next.

5. Chris Lehmann

Category: Mission Leader of the Year

Dude makes learning look cool. Lehmann is the founding principal of Science Leadership Academy, one of the city’s best-performing high schools. A similarly STEM-focused, project-based SLA middle school opened this year.

6. Omar Woodard 

Category: Mission Leader of the Year

Of course, right? Woodard has had an awesome year, from taking over GreenLight Fund Philadelphia to being named one of this year’s “Best Philadelphians” to being a leading voice in the fight against inequity. He’s one to watch.

7.  RUN215

Category: Movement of the Year

With a tagline of “Advancing the positive culture of running in Philadelphia,” the (literal) movement that organizes group runs and running events is making our city healthier and happier.

8. Open Streets PHL

Category: Movement of the Year

After a year of planning, Philadelphia finally hosted its inaugural open streets event last month, called Philly Free Streets, inviting urban enthusiasts to enjoy several blocks of car-free streets.

9. #1000BlackGirlBooks

Category: Movement of the Year

Essex County, New Jersey’s Marley Dias has been profiled by everyone from NPR to The Guardian to Elle (where she’s now running her own online magazine) for her campaign to collect 1,000 books about black girls for school libraries, a goal she has far exceeded. Oh, and she’s 11.

10. West Philadelphia AFEL 

Category: Partnership of the Year

The Drexel-led Action for Early Learning Initiative unites local agencies and community groups to tackle early learning issues and strengthen child care centers in ZIP code 19104.

11. Philly Vets Home

Category: Partnership of the Year

The city’s homelessness problem may never be solved, but this coalition of local gov and nonprofit partners is doing its part to heavily reduce it: Last year, it “effectively ended” veteran homelessness.

12. Ice Cream in Space

Category: Partnership of the Year

All you need to know:

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