Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley Code to Give Hackathon Provides Montreal Nonprofits DESTA, Fillactive and La Tablée des Chefs with Technology Solutions to Drive their Essential Community Work

Sep 22, 2021

Teams of students and recent graduates entered a week-long battle of wits to create platforms and apps that connect and empower budding black business owners, young women striving to stay active, and teenagers adopting healthy eating habits

Montreal - 

After a challenging week of ideation, prototyping and programming, 18 teams of students and recent graduates from various Canadian universities completed the first Morgan Stanley Montreal Code to Give Hackathon. The competition provides local nonprofits with the technical solutions they need to pursue their mission and services. Winning solutions included networking solutions and apps with gamification elements to increase engagement and reach more people.

This year’s event benefits three Montreal charities focusing on providing local youth with the education and skills to help them thrive in the future, including DESTA, which helps Black youth reach their educational and entrepreneurial goals, Fillactive, an initiative that empowers teenage girls to stay physically active throughout their lives, and La Tablée des Chefs, an organization that feeds people in need and develops culinary education for youth.

Mentored by experienced Morgan Stanley technologists, the hackathon teams collaborated on an assigned technical challenge for a week, from ideation to coding, culminating in a final pitch to a panel of judges from Morgan Stanley and its nonprofit partners. Winning participants received cash prizes and will be invited to interview for internship opportunities at the firm. Morgan Stanley technologists are volunteering to develop the winning prototypes and deliver fully functional solutions to the nonprofit partners.

The 2021 Montreal Code to Give hackathon winners, hailing from Polytechnique Montreal, Universities of Alberta, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto as well as McGill University, are:

  • DESTA | DESTANATION Connect: Designed to promote B2B and B2C services fostering Black-owned businesses, the web-based solution uses badges and referral incentives to encourage interaction. The winning team includes: Ahmad El-Rahim, Moussa Fofana, Catherine Landry and Aleksandra Maric
  • Fillactive | Fillactive Community App: The app uses incentives and gamification to promote exercise for self worth and build a community among students, teachers and Fillactive. The winning team includes: Evan Freyah, Robert Joseph George, Tanyaradzwa Gozhora, Pranav Kural, Carina Tam, Tyler Watson and Jiaqi Zhao
  • La Tablée des Chefs | Road to Chef: The mobile app connects high school students and allows them to challenge each other with recipe proposals, keeping food sustainability top of mind. The winning team includes: Anas Barbouch, Karl-Emmanuel Bastarache, Carl Hewett, Étienne Lazure, William Martineau, Anh-Tuan Pham and Andy Tran

“Being of service to our community partners like DESTA, Fillactive, and La Tablée des Chefs, is at the heart of who we are and what we do at Morgan Stanley. Code to Give allows us to engage a broader community of technologists and innovators to help nonprofits address their most pressing technical needs,” said Alan Vesprini, Head of Morgan Stanley’s Technology Center in Montreal. “We are one of the city’s largest technology employers, so it’s crucial that we give back to the community our employees live and work in.”

“Participating in Morgan Stanley’s Code to Give hackathon has been a truly transformative experience,” commented Jean-François Archambault, Founder and General manager of La Tablée des Chefs. “Thanks to the innovative solutions designed by Canada’s brightest students and the fantastic mentorship by Morgan Stanley’s world-class technologists, we are coming out from this event with innovative tools and resources. It will help us reach more young people and teach them about healthy eating habits and sustainable food consumption.”

The Code to Give hackathon and the subsequent development of mature technology solutions for the participating organizations are part of the Morgan Stanley’s Global Technology Change Makers program, a global initiative that supports nonprofit and charity partners on their digital transformation journey, leveraging the power of technology to help more people and have a greater impact on their community.

Since its inception in 2018, the Technology Change Makers program has delivered technology pro bono services to 30 nonprofits in diverse mission areas, including children’s health, hunger and homelessness, and environmental impact. The program is active across Morgan Stanley Technology sites globally.

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

About the Morgan Stanley Montreal Technology Centre

The Morgan Stanley Technology Centre in Montreal was established in 2008 and has since grown to become one of the Firm’s largest technology hubs with more than 2,300 technologists. With its world class diverse workforce, the Technology Center plays a key role in supporting the Firm’s leading technology platforms, including low latency electronic trading, cloud engineering, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, as well as digital technologies. Morgan Stanley in Montreal has also been recognized as an employer of choice and a strong participant in the local community.

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