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What’s not to like about Google?

You know there are always going to be people out there who will despise anything and everything that Google does and stands for. Of course we all know that they secretly use Google and if they were approached to work for Google, they would pause for about a split second before they accepted. 

Further enhancing it’s reputation as a company concerned with more than just search, Google recently announced that they were going to to use their incredible power as it relates to information and technology to help people better their lives. Google is rolling out five core initiatives that will be the focus of its philanthropic efforts over the next five to ten years. Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, will collaborate with experienced partners working in each of these fields, investing its resources and tapping the strengths of Google’s employees and global operations to advance its core initiatives.  

Today’s announcement includes more than $25 million in new grants and investments to initial partners. The resources come from a commitment by Google’s founders to devote approximately 1 percent of the company’s equity plus 1 percent of annual profits to philanthropy, as well as employee time.   Below is a listing of how the money is going to be disbursed:

$5 million to InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters) to improve early detection, preparedness, and response capabilities for global health threats and humanitarian crises. InSTEDD will work with the community of relief and response organizations, governments, academia and top scientists around the world to address gaps in information flow with software and other technology-based tools and services.

$2.5 million to the Global Health and Security Initiative (GHSI), established by the Nuclear Threat Initiative to prevent, detect, and respond to biological threats.

More than $600,000 to Clark University, with equal funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, for Clark Labs to develop a system to improve monitoring, analysis and prediction of the impacts of climate variability and change on ecosystems, food and health in Africa and the Amazon.

$2 million to Pratham, a non-governmental organization in India, to create an independent institute that will conduct the Nationwide Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) as well as large scale assessments in the education sector.

$765,000 to the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies, a Bangalore-based analysis group, to create a Budget Information Service for local governments to facilitate better district- and municipal-level level planning in India

$660,000 to the Center for Policy Research, an action oriented think tank based in India, to increase the debate and discourse on issues of urban local governance and urban service delivery.

$4.7 million grant to TechnoServe to provide general support to expand Technoserve’s efforts to support enterprises, spur job creation, and strengthen poverty alleviation programs globally, and to develop and implement a business plan competition to support entrepreneurs in Ghana and Tanzania

$10 million to eSolar, a Pasadena, CA-based company specializing in solar thermal power which replaces the fuel in a traditional power plant with heat produced from solar energy

RechargeIT is a Google.org initiative that aims to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology. Google.org launched a $10 million request for investment proposals this Fall, and will invest amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2 million in selected for-profit companies whose innovative approach, team and technologies will enable widespread commercialization of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, electric vehicles and/or vehicle-to-grid solutions.

Granted that $25 million is not a lot of money initially when looking at what Google makes every day, but is certainly a step in the right direction and sets an examples for other like minded tech companies to either fall in step or raise the bar in regards to philanthropic endeavors.

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The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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