Spotlight on Erie Hack Partners: Samuel Chang of Toledo

August 5, 2021
“The most innovative ideas often come out of challenging or new circumstances!”


Erie Hack is back! Erie Hack is an innovation competition that focuses on finding technology solutions to Lake Erie’s most pressing problems. It was first launched in 2017 with a second iteration in 2019. 2021 will bring about our third Erie Hack, and as a preview to this year’s challenge, we wanted to feature a few key people, including our partners in Detroit, Toledo, and Buffalo. Look out for more information!


Cleveland Water Alliance is proud to introduce the 2021 Toledo Erie Hack partner Midstory and Samuel Chang. Midstory is a nonprofit thinkhub centered in Toledo, OH, which aims to progress the narrative of the Midwest through incubating diverse and interdisciplinary thinkers through multimedia storytelling and solutions-oriented research ( Chang is one of four co-founders of Midstory who grew up in the Toledo region and recognize the importance of Lake Erie’s welfare on the community, making them an excellent partner for Erie Hack.

Chang and the Midstory team were exposed to Erie Hack in 2019. Members of their team had been researching and advocating for new innovative relationship between agriculture and water in a plan called the Toledo Water Project, which began after Toledo’s harmful algal bloom crisis in 2014. Now, as a partner, Midstory is excited to connect and converse with others in all disciplines who are passionate about the importance of water, not only as natural resource but also its societal, cultural, and political implications.

The relationship between Toledo and Erie Hack continues to be mutually beneficial. Toledo contributes a unique and important perspective as a community, which sits between the lake and the Maumee River and has directly experienced the harsh consequences of ecological imbalances in Lake Erie. In return, Erie Hack affirms Toledo’s role in the forefront of solving the challenges Lake Erie faces today. The Toledo region benefits as a whole due to the event’s encouragement of creative problem solving surrounding environmental challenges. This problem solving attracts further investment and attention to the area, which ultimately helps Midstory in their broad mission of progressing the Midwest narrative. Both Midstory and CWA look forward to the continued participation of the Toledo community in attempting to creatively solve the problem facing our freshwater through Erie Hack 2021.

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