Reno kicks off 2017 Space Apps effort with fundraiser

Supporters can donate through Nevada’s Big Give on Mar. 23

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RENO, Nev. (Mar. 23, 2017) – Space Apps Reno is now one of the important Nevada causes people can support when they donate money through Nevada’s Big Give, an annual charitable giving event taking place Thursday, March 23.

Through Space Apps Reno, local space enthusiasts with a wide variety of technical and business skills sets have been participating in NASA’s annual International Space Apps Challenge since 2013.  Project teams and volunteer staff work through the marathon 48-hour hackathon, sustained by donations of facilities, supplies and food.

“These generous in-kind donations made Space Apps Reno possible, but more formal fundraising is necessary as we continue to expand and tackle bigger challenges,” said Joe Chavez, president of STEAM Initiative, a Reno-based non-profit that runs the Space Apps Reno program.  “With activities like Nevada’s Big Give, NevadaGIVES is a great resource for Reno Space Apps and other worthy charitable causes in Nevada.”

People interested in supporting Space Apps Reno can make a tax-deductible donation through Nevada’s Big Give at  While the Nevada’s Big Give fundraising campaign is targeting March 23, donations can be made on any date.

Why choose Space Apps Reno?  According to the World Economic Forum, technology fields—such as engineering, computer science and mathematics—are the runaway leaders on the list of job families on the rise.

“The importance of technology-related entrepreneurship and job skills cannot be understated as we move into the Technology Renaissance,” says Chavez.  “Space Apps Reno and STEAM Initiative are working to ensure that the local economy and its residents become competitive players in the rapidly changing global economy.”

2017 Space Apps looms

Set for April 29-30, NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge is in its sixth year and has grown into the world’s largest hackathon.  At last year’s event, some 15,000 people gathered in 161 cities across 61 countries and developed more than 1,600 projects.  Some Space Apps projects turn into commercial products that launch new companies—one of the ultimate goals of the Space Apps Challenge.

NASA has chosen “Earth” for the theme of this year’s hackathon, and will be announcing specific challenges shortly.  Earth is a complex and dynamic system that still holds many mysteries, despite centuries of exploration and study.

NASA helps to shed some light on these mysteries by keeping Earth’s oceans, terrains, life and other components under constant scrutiny.  High-quality data collected from NASA’s unique vantage points will be available to Space Apps participants, whose projects will in turn help NASA discover more about Earth.

“Space Apps is not just about coders developing apps,” said Chavez.  “Teams are potential start-ups that can benefit from a wide variety of business skills, talents and ideas.  Anyone who is enthusiastic about the Space Apps mission can contribute.”

Individuals interested in participating in 2017 Space Apps Reno should register at NASA’s and contact Space Apps Reno at  Reno Collective, a key sponsor of Space Apps Reno, is hosting this year’s event in its offices at 100 N. Arlington St. in downtown Reno.

About NevadaGIVES

Nevada’s Big Give is an annual charity fundraising event of NevadaGIVES, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.  Launched in 2003 as an initiative of the Business Community Investment Council and Nevada Community Foundation, NevadaGIVES’ mission is to raise awareness of and increase charitable giving in Nevada.  For more information about Nevada’s Big Give or other NevadaGIVES activities and resources, see

About STEAM Initiative and Space Apps Reno

Space Apps Reno is a program of STEAM Initiative, a Reno-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to creating learning activities in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.  These activities foster creative and analytical skills that are key components of the entrepreneurial mindset and critical to innovation in a global economy.  STEAM focuses on projected-oriented and goal-oriented learning, which the Space Apps Challenge hackathon exemplifies.  For more information, see

About International Space Apps Challenge

The annual International Space Apps Challenge hackathon was launched in 2012 as part of NASA’s innovation incubator program, and provides a forum for a two-way technology transfer.  NASA technology and data can be commercialized or otherwise applied on Earth, while real-world problems NASA still faces are crowdsourced to Space Apps participants.  For more information, see