EFNH members Kyle and Katie York, Jane Stapleton and Sharyn Potter or the UNH Prevention Innovations Research Center, EFNH members Melissa Albano-Davis and Cory von Wallenstein (photo by Cheryl Senter.)

EFNH members Kyle and Katie York, Jane Stapleton and Sharyn Potter or the UNH Prevention Innovations Research Center, EFNH members Melissa Albano-Davis and Cory von Wallenstein (photo by Cheryl Senter.)

uSafeNH will be launched with help from $25,000 grant

New smartphone app gives college students resources to help survivors of sexual assault

By fall of 2016, students, faculty and staff at New Hampshire colleges will have instant access on their smartphones to localized information to help survivors of sexual assault.

The University of New Hampshire’s Prevention Innovations Research Center and students in the UNH-Manchester STEM Discovery Lab have developed the uSafeNH app. The Entrepreneurs’ Fund of New Hampshire awarded a $25,000 AMP Grant to get it off the ground.

The app uses geospatial technology to provide information on local crisis centers, local hospitals, campus resources and local police. The app was developed in collaboration with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office and state police.

“We’re so happy that we’ll be able to complete the project and roll it out for free to New Hampshire colleges and universities,” said Jane Stapleton, director of the Prevention Innovations Research Center.  “It’s exactly what we need to complete it and propel it forward.”

The center plans to offer the app, free, to all New Hampshire colleges and universities this fall. Eventually, it will be offered for sale to schools in other states, with the revenue from those sales helping to sustain the effort.

“We’re very thankful for the funding and we are hopeful that this is going to have an impact for sexual assault victims and their friends and families,” Stapleton said.

Five nonprofit finalists made pitches to the EFNH membership at the AMP Grant Competition at Dyn in Manchester. To prepare, finalists were paired with EFNH mentors, who worked one-on-one with nonprofits to help craft engaging and persuasive pitches for innovative projects that delivered an “amplified” benefit for communities. Finalists took part in an afternoon “pitch camp” prior to the final event to help put the finishing touches on their pitches.

The Entrepreneurs’ Fund, an initiative of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, channels the expertise, energy and passion of the state’s leading entrepreneurs to strengthen New Hampshire communities through innovative philanthropy.

Matt Rightmire of Borealis Ventures is chair of EFNH and a pitch camp mentor.

EFNH members, he said, want to “give back to the community that helped birth their entrepreneurial ideas.” And the process helps EFNH members develop a deeper understanding of their communities and connection to the nonprofit sector and the vital role it plays in New Hampshire.

Also participating in pitch camp and the AMP Awards were Big Brothers Big Sisters of NH which is developing a recruitment campaign for mentors for New Hampshire kids in need; Granite United Way which pitched the “I Am My Own Champion” pilot program in Manchester high schools to help low-income students succeed in school; Inti Academy of Manchester which wants to create the “Innercityart” business program for Manchester youth ages six to 18; and the Rock On Foundation, which hopes to develop a renovation plan to improve functionality of community basketball courts.

The collaboration between nonprofits and entrepreneurs really only begins with pitch camp and the AMP Awards: The nonprofits and entrepreneurs continue to work together on a variety of needs and projects. In addition to the $25,000 grant, each nonprofit is also invited to ask for volunteer help from EFNH members.

Stapleton asked for iOS development help. The uSafeNH app has been completely developed for android devices, but iOS development is not yet finished. Stapleton put the call out to EFNH members – and two iOS developers stepped forward. They will be working with the STEM Discovery Lab students to complete the iOS development so the app will work on iPhones. A companion website is also in the works.

The Center, Stapleton said, will work to “put this app in hands of 170,000 New Hampshire college students, their friends and their families…and that is just the beginning.”

This year marks the 6th annual AMP awards. Cross Roads House, an emergency homeless shelter in Portsmouth, was awarded a $25,000 AMP grant on April 28, and the Montshire Museum of Science was awarded $25,000 on May 5. Since 2011, EFNH has awarded to $285,000 to nonprofits serving New Hampshire.