App Pits Online Mommy Groups Against Each Other for $5K Prize

By Katie Honan on August 1, 2013 8:55am 

 The contest to find the most active parenting group in the city runs through Labor Day.
The contest to find the most active parenting group in the city runs through Labor Day.
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Mommy Nearest

NEW YORK CITY — Mom's the word in this battle for the boroughs.

An app that crowdsources the best places around the city for parents is awarding a prize to the online family group that is most active on the app, pitting parents from around the five boroughs against each other for a chance at $5,000.

Mommy Nearest, which launched this spring, is a free app that helps connect parents with the best things to do and see in New York City — all crowdsourced by other parents.

Parents can win points by reviewing, adding and rating places. Individuals can win rewards like iPads and gift certificates. 

But the company’s CEO, Josh Millstein, thought he'd add a different element this summer with a contest geared toward the active parenting sites across the city. Individual parents can team up with others nearby to try and win money for their neighborhoods by frequently using the app.

The money, he said, is meant to go toward something in the community that benefits families.

“We envisioned it as, if there's a project or something the group had always wanted to do — refurbish [a] playground or throw a holiday party — or if the group wanted it to go to a local space that's a true benefit for the community," he said.

"We left it open ended but we trust that the group itself will come to an agreement and understanding.”

Stephanie Barnhart, 32, lives in Astoria but has family in Jackson Heights and is active on the online group Jackson Heights Families, which runs as a Yahoo! group.

“The parents are so involved,” she said of the group. “I always know what’s going on in the community.”

She joined Mommy Nearest as a tester after the company reached out to her on Twitter.

She’s often out around the city with her year-old son, Maximo, and uses it to find things to do and places to go.

Barnhart registered the Jackson Heights group as JH Moms last week and has been encouraging others to join to compete for the coffers.

The group leaderboard shows which parent groups are currently tops in the city in the contest. Bay Ridge Mamas and Daddies is holding strong in first place, and Forest Hills Parents is in third.

The parents group from Jackson Heights is in fourth.

The dominance of groups from Queens isn’t a surprise for Millstein, who said that some of the stronger parent groups he’s seen on the app have been from the borough.

Barnhart continues to encourage other moms and dads to sign up, so the grand prize stays at home.

"I'd love to see a Queens neighborhood win, and I'd love to show that Queens moms are really involved and awesome,” she said.

The Mommy Nearest Summer Challenge runs through Labor Day. 

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