On December 4, Google launched the Global Impact Awards to support organizations that use technology to address some of the world’s greatest challenges. The first round of awards provided US $23 million to seven organizations across the world that possess an entrepreneurial resolve for addressing pressing social issues in innovative ways.
Recipients of Google’s Global Impact Awards were:
With its US $5 million from Google, charity: water plans to install real-time water monitoring devices in 4,000 points across Africa by 2015. The project builds off existing infrastructure put in place by NGOs and other organizations, ensuring accurate data collection on water pressure and output in order to appropriately and efficiently instruct the necessary maintenance work.
Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL)
CBOL was awarded US $3 million by the Global Impact Awards in order to develop a system of DNA barcoding that can be used by law enforcement officials to track and protect endangered species. Despite many of them being protected under UN sanctions from being traded internationally, the illegal trafficking of these animals remains a huge threat to their existence, mainly due to the difficulty and high cost of detecting such activity. The barcoding project of CBOL presents a low cost and efficient tool for protecting these endangered animals from the threat of international trade.
With its US $5 million grant from the Global Impact Awards, DonorsChoose.org plans to give public schools across the United States the tools and materials for implementing 500 new advanced placement (AP) courses in math and science. The project is designed to improve the diversity of these high school courses to promote the participation of women and minority students in math and science.
Equal Opportunity Schools
Similar to the AP initiative of DonorsChoose.org, Equal Opportunity Schools plans to use its US $1.8 million Impact Award to provide access to advanced high school classes to 6,000 high-performing but under-represented students. The students, chosen from 60 high schools across the US, will be placed in classroom environments that will challenge them and give them the tools and learning to improve their chances of succeeding in college.
Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is developing software to analyze gender portrayals on screen in order to promote and accelerate the positive representation of women in children’s media. Using its US $1.2 million from Global Impact Awards, the Geena Davis Institute hopes to shed light on the trend of women being portrayed in children’s media with tiny wastes or sexually-suggestive clothing, and to inform further research and education on the effects that such representations have on social and cultural development.
Give Directly currently works in Kenya helping pull families out of poverty by facilitating electronic cash transfers via mobile device. Despite the ongoing debate on the efficacy of direct cash transfers in alleviating poverty, Give Directly bases its work on research documenting everything from increased business profits, to jumps in investment and savings rates, to improved school enrollment as a result of cash injections. Using its US $2.4 million from Global Impact Awards, they hope expedite this process by scaling their operations and expanding to a second country.
World Wildlife Fund
With the US $5 million Impact Award, World Wildlife Fund plans to implement specialized sensors, tagging technology, and analytical software in order to curb poaching in Asia and Africa. Using this technology, World Wildlife Fund will work with local and global partners to address four specific Asian and African landscapes and fight the criminal poaching activity that is damaging ecosystems and placing greater pressure on already endangered species around the world.
The Global Impact Awards is just one of many such initiatives undertaken by Google. In the past year alone, between the Global Impact Awards, Disaster Relief, Academic Support, and Community affairs, Google has provided individuals and organizations with over $100 million in grant funding. In addition, Google’s services have supported organizations with over $1 billion in technology and 50,000 hours of volunteer work.
Find out more about the Global Impact Awards and other Google Initiative here.