DC Climathon at GW

This year’s Climathon Challenge is seeking innovative business, tech, and social enterprise solutions to address the urban heat island effect.

Watch this video to learn more about Climathon.

Typically the hackathon takes place over 24 hours. This year however, with modifications to go virtual, the event will launch on November 9th and the hackathon will take place on November 13th and 14th. Teams will work with the event hosts to refine their ideas then pitch to a panel of judges. Winners are eligible to receive up to $10,000 in implementation funds, made possible in part by our sponsor Wells Fargo, and winning teams with a GW student are eligible to move forward to the George Washington University’s New Venture Competition, which offers more than $200,000 in prizes. Partners provide additional opportunities for Climathon teams to incubate and implement their ideas.

Date: DC Climathon 2020 will launch on November 9th and the hack will take place on November 13th and 14th.

Location: Online via Zoom

Register to Attend


How do we unleash innovation to address climate change in our cities?

By 2100, the average U.S. temperature is projected to increase between 3°–12°F. Local institutions face intense changes that impact the spread of disease, fresh water supply, ability to grow crops, species extinction, and damage to infrastructure. Communities need to mitigate the warming and prepare for the pending changes. Engaging young innovators to develop creative local and regional solutions is the key to making progress on climate change and sustainable development.



Climathon is a 24 hour hackathon held simultaneously in cities around the world, where innovators and entrepreneurs develop solutions to climate change challenges. The George Washington University (GW) Office of Sustainability has formed a partnership with key stakeholders across the public and private sectors to create DC Climathon, a timely initiative that cultivates top talent to develop the innovation pipeline for these issues. Partners include the European Institute for Innovation and Technology’s Climate-KIC, GW’s School of Business Institute for Corporate Responsibility, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Honey Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service. DC Climathon augments traditional educational offerings to develop leaders and create positive change within the local community, start-ups, and the public and private sectors. We are looking to scale our impact, and we invite cities and universities to join us in hacking climate change.

A story of Climathon success

reFort, a 2016 Climathon runner-up, is a Deaf-led startup concept who has gained initial funding from CSD Social Venture Fund. reFort is committed to addressing the issue of waste when people move out of or into residences, and has a particular focus on colleges and universities in the Washington, D.C. area. reFort founders Myles Goldberg, Ethan Kramer, and Sean Maiwald are out to prove that “going green” can both benefit the environment and people, and make good business sense.




Dan Guilbeault

Dan Guilbeault

DC Department of Energy and Environment
DC Climathon 2018 Judge

“It was helpful for us as District Government employees to intentionally think about food waste from the community perspective. The whole process--gathering data and case studies in preparation for the climathon, talking to community partners working in this space during the event, and following up with groups to problem solve—gave us perspective that will help inform our work for years to come.”