Google’s First Global Impact Awards Gives $23M to “World-Changing” Non-Profits


Google is wielding its worldwide clout with a new platform that subtly promotes its foundation and corporate citizenship work by shining the spotlight on worthy non-profits.

The brand’s first Global Impact Awards were announced today, recognizing seven startups that are applying innovation and technology to the world’s most daunting human challenges.

Google is putting its money where its brand promise lies — “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” along with its unofficial slogan, “Don’t be evil.”

“From real-time sensors that monitor clean water to DNA barcoding that stops wildlife trafficking, our first round of awards provides $23 million to seven organizations changing the world,” stated Jacquelline Fuller, director of giving at Google, in a blog post.

The seven nonprofits winning the first Google Global Impact Awards:[more]

Charity: Water is receiving $5 million for water-monitoring technology at 4,000 wells across Africa to ensure better maintenance of and access to clean water for more than 1 million people. “Although our staff and local partners visit our programs frequently, it’s simply not possible to visit every project often enough to ensure that water is flowing all the time. Thanks to this Global Impact Award from Google, we’ll be able to go from hoping that projects function over time, to knowing that they are,” the non-profit stated in a blog post.

World Wildlife Fund receives $5 million to adapt sensors and animal tagging technology to detect and deter poaching in a grant that will help halt the illegal trade in tigers, elephants and lions. The wildlife crime trade, estimated by WWF to be worth $7-10 billion annually, devastates endangered species, damages ecosystems, and threatens local livelihoods and regional security. has been granted $5 million to create 500 new Advanced Placement science and math classes with the College Board for underrepresented students, targeting U.S. girls and disadvantaged students who are less likely to study those courses in college or pursue related careers, in part because they’re not exposed to advanced classes in high school.

The Smithsonian-led Barcode of Life consortium gets $3 million for DNA barcoding to protect endangered species, of which more than 2,000 are protected from illegal trade by UN regulations. Intercepting wildlife transferred across borders is critical to slowing illegal trade and DNA barcoding provides a public library of DNA barcode tests for enforcement officials to use as a front-line tool.

GiveDirectly: Mobile technology to put money directly into the hands of the poor and support direct cash transfers as a proven approach to lifting people out of poverty. Its $2.4 million Award will be used to scale its model of direct cash transfers. The organization blogged, “Over 90% of the award ($2.21M) is earmarked for direct cash transfers to the poor. Delivering these funds will enable thousands of families to pursue their own goals with no strings attached. Second, the remainder of the award ($190K) will underwrite the fixed costs of setting up operations in a second country. This represents another step towards our goal of providing a global alternative to orthodox philanthropy.”

Equal Opportunity Schools: Data to identify high-performing yet underrepresented students as more than 600,000 low-income students in the U.S. miss out on advanced classes that provide college training. Using data analytics, Equal Opportunity Schools will use its $1.8 million Award to identify 6,000 high-performing yet underrepresented students and move them into advanced classes.

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media: The non-profit, started by the Academy Award-winning actress in 2004, aims to analyze and promote gender equality in media. Its $1.2 million award will support the development of automated technology targeting analysis of female portrayals in children’s media.

“Google also reports that, as a company, it has given more than $100M in grants, $1B in technology and 50k hours of volunteer time from its employees,” notes TechCrunch. “If only every company gave back like this, it would be a better planet. This isn’t a time to be a cynic, this is real and true.” Hear, hear.