Google reveals Global Impact Awards, gives US$23m to non-profit innovators

5 Dec 2012

Image via Charity:Water,

Google has launched a new programme called the Global Impact Awards to give financial support to non-profit organisations that are applying technology to come up with new innovations to tackle global challenges, ranging from accessing clean water to protecting endangered wildlife.

In a Google blog post, Jacquelline Fuller, who holds the post of director of giving at Google, announced that in its first round of awards, Google has given US$23m to seven organisations.

Bebo founder Michael Birch’s non-profit Charity:Water, which uses real-time technology to monitor water and bring safe drinking water to people in developing countries, has been awarded US$5m from Google.

The charity will use this funding to install remote sensors at 4,000 water points across Africa by 2015. Charity:Water will also monitor and record water flow rates to ensure that more than 1m people will have access to clean water.

Another award recipient, the Smithsonian Institution’s Consortium for the Barcode of Life group, which aims to protect endangered wildlife, will use its US$3m award to work with researchers in six developing countries to devise ‘implement barcoding’, a library of DNA barcode tests that enforcement officials will be able to use.

STEM subjects will use its US$5m Global Impact Award to work with public schools across the US to provide them with start-up materials to create around 500 new advancement placement courses in science and maths.

Also in the US, Equal Opportunity Schools is being awarded US$1.8m to use its data analytics tools to identify 6,000 high-performing yet under-represented students at high schools and move them into advanced classes.

A US$1.2m award is being given to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to develop software to analyse how females are portrayed in children’s media.

GiveDirectly has been awarded US$2.4m to scale up its mobile technology model of direct cash transfer to Kenyan families that are living in extreme poverty. The charity also hopes to expand its operations to a second country.

Finally, Google is giving US$5m to the World Wildlife Fund so it can pioneer specialised sensors and wildlife tagging technology to help it better detect poaching in sites in Asia and Africa.

Google’s Fuller also posted about how the internet giant has supported organisations with more than US$100m in grants, US$1bn in technology and 50,000 hours of ‘Googler’ volunteering.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic