More than 300 Volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Portland Maine are scheduled into four 3-hour calendar shifts each day to staff the front desk, clean rooms, and provide families with support to help make their lives easier while their children are being treated in nearby hospitals.

Homebase Origins and Reuse

Prior to 2008, volunteer scheduling at RMH was done manually on a desk calendar.  In 2008, four computer science students at Bowdoin College worked with the House Manager to create new software to change this. They developed software called Homebase, which provides online scheduling of volunteers into calendar shifts. By streamlining this tedious administrative task, Homebase allows volunteers to spend more time supporting families.

This software was later customized by other software development classes.

  • Two student teams enhanced Homebase in 2011 and 2013 for the Portland RMH.
  • Another student team customized Homebase in 2015 for the RMH in Providence, RI.
  • Homebase was customized again in 2015 for the RMH in Bangor, ME.
  • Homebase was customized again in 2019 for the RMH in Boston, MA.

This iterative process reflects a basic goal of NPFI: to engage student teams to customize existing open source software for a new client with similar software needs.

The Development Triad

  • The Original Client: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine required on-line volunteer scheduling support to replace its manual paper-based system.
  • The Student Teams: Four computer science students at Bowdoin College developed the original Homebase application with an instructor during the spring 2008 semester.  Other Bowdoin student teams refined and extended Homebase in 2011 and 2013.  A Whitman College student team customized Homebase for RMH in Providence, RI in 2015.
  • The Software Professional: iBec Creative provides web hosting and technical support for Homebase in Maine, and Coursevector LLC provides hosting and technical support for Homebase in Boston and Providence.

Instructor/Developer Links: