Google Gives Back – To The Tune Of $40 Million

December 16, 2011       Mark Hrywna      

The charitable arm of online search engine behemoth Google gave away $40 million to almost 50 causes focused on technology, education and human trafficking.

Among the largest grants announced this week — $1.5 million — went to Code for America. Funding will allow the San Francisco, Calif.-based organization to do more with its fellowship and ”pilot two new programs designed to help government work better with the people and the power of the web.”

Code for America was among 14 organizations awarded funding under the banner of empowerment through technology. Digital technology is one of the most powerful drivers of prosperity when you have access to it. In low- and middle-income countries, a 10-percent increase in Internet penetration leads to a 1.4-percent increase in economic output, according to Google.

Sixteen organizations received grants focusing on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. New York City-based Robin Hood received $1 million that will be aimed at closing the achievement gap in math at schools in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods and fund equipment for school science labs. It also will provide funding for a long-term poverty study, which will enable Robin Hood to better understand the needs and effectiveness of poverty-fighting measures.

In the area of girls’ education, seven organizations were awarded grants, with a goal of educating more than 10,000 girls in the developing world. The African Leadership Academy, for instance, received $1 million, which it will use to “combat Africa’s under-supply of female leaders in science and technology and serve to accelerate a new generation of innovation in Africa.”

Nine organizations focused on slavery and human tracking were awarded grants, including Not For Sale, based in Half Moon Bay, Calif. The $250,000 grant To Not For Sale will go directly to benefit its work in Romania, providing aftercare to survivors and empowering them through employment. The nonprofit owns a small agricultural enterprise and runs a skilled job-training program for survivors of modern slavery at a its project in Timisoara, Romania.

In all, Google said it provided more than $115 million this year in funding to various nonprofits and academic institutions around the world.