Tag Archives: google.org

Here are the grantees of the Google AI Impact Challenge

As part of Google’s AI for Social Good program, we launched the Google AI Impact Challenge, based on our strong belief that emerging technologies will help us address big social, humanitarian and environmental problems. We were blown away by the number of thoughtful proposals we received: 2,602 applications from 119 countries, nearly two thirds of the world’s countries.

Forty percent of the applications came from organizations with no previous experience with artificial intelligence, which is still a developing concept in the social impact field. Our job, as we thoroughly vetted the applications, was to choose the best projects based on feasibility, potential for impact, scalability and the responsible use of AI.  

Today, at I/O, we are announcing 20 organizations that will share $25 million in grants from Google.org, credit and consulting from Google Cloud, mentoring from Google AI experts and the opportunity to join a customized accelerator program from Google Developers Launchpad. The selected projects address issues in the areas of health, economic opportunity and empowerment, environmental protection and conservation, education, misinformation and crisis and emergency response. Here’s the full list of grantees.

  • American University of Beirut (Lebanon): Applying machine learning to weather and agricultural data to improve irrigation for resource-strapped farmers in Africa and the Middle East.

  • Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Colombia): Using satellite imagery to detect illegal mines, enabling communities and the government to protect people and natural resources.

  • Crisis Text Line, Inc. (USA): Using natural language processing to optimize assignment of texters in crisis to counselors, reducing wait times and maintaining effective communication.

  • Eastern Health (Australia): Analyzing clinical records from ambulances to uncover trends and potential points of intervention to inform policy and public health responses around suicide.

  • Fondation MSF (France): Detecting patterns in antimicrobial imagery to help medical staff in low-resource areas prescribe the right antibiotics for bacterial infections.

  • Full Fact (UK): Developing trend monitoring and clustering tools to aid fact checkers’ analysis, so they can help contextualize the news and enable informed decisions.

  • Gringgo Indonesia Foundation (Indonesia): Building an image recognition tool to improve plastic recycling rates, reduce ocean plastic pollution and strengthen waste management in under-resourced communities.

  • Hand Talk (Brazil) Using AI to translate Portuguese into Brazilian Sign Language through a digital avatar, enabling digital communication for Brazilians who are deaf and and hard-of-hearing.

  • HURIDOCS (Switzerland): Using natural language processing and ML to extract and connect relevant information in case-related documents, allowing human rights lawyers to effectively research and defend their cases.

  • Makerere University (Uganda): Tracking and predicting air pollution patterns via low-cost sensors in Kampala, Uganda, improving air quality forecasting and intervention.

  • New York University (USA): Partnering with the New York City Fire Department’s analytics team to optimize response to its yearly 1.7 million emergencies, accounting for factors like weather, traffic and location.

  • Nexleaf Analytics (USA): Building data models to predict vaccine viability throughout the cold vaccine supply chain and ensure effective delivery.

  • The Pennsylvania State University (USA): Using deep learning tools to better predict locations and times at risk for landslides, creating a warning system to minimize the impact of natural disasters.  

  • Quill.org (USA): Using deep learning to provide low-income students with immediate feedback on their writing, enabling students to revise their work and quickly improve their skills.

  • Rainforest Connection(USA): Using deep learning for bioacoustic monitoring and commonplace mobile technology to track rainforest health and detect threats.

  • Skilllab BV (Netherlands): Helping refugees translate their skills to the European labor market and recommend relevant career pathways to explore.

  • TalkingPoints (USA): Using AI to enable two-way translated parent/teacher engagement and coaching when language represents a barrier to communication.

  • The Trevor Project (USA): Using natural language processing and sentiment analysis to determine a LGBTQ youth’s suicide risk level to better tailor services for individuals seeking help.

  • Wadhwani AI (India): Using image recognition to track and analyze pest control efforts, enabling timely and localized intervention to stabilize crop production and reduce pesticide usage.

  • WattTime Corporation (USA): Using image processing algorithms and satellite networks to replace on-site power plant emissions monitors with open-source monitoring platforms.

Next week, the grantees will converge in San Francisco for the kickoff of the Google AI Impact Challenge Accelerator, the six-month program run by Google Developers Launchpad. We look forward to working with these organizations, and to seeing the impact of their projects on such a wide variety of issues around the world.

Why you should thank a teacher this week, and always

Editor’s note: Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We’re honored to have the 2019 National Teacher of the Year, Rodney Robinson, as today’s guest author (and Doodler), who shares more about his journey and all the ways we’re celebrating teachers this week and beyond.

I went into teaching to honor my first teacher: my mother, Sylvia Robinson. Growing up in rural Virginia, she dreamed of becoming  an educator but was denied the chance due to poverty and segregation; instead, she ran an in-home daycare center for all the neighborhood children, where she made each of us feel like we were the most important person on earth.

My mother always said, “every child deserves the proper amount of love to get what they need to be successful in life.” My sister, who had cerebral palsy, often needed more of my mother’s love and care than me and my other siblings did. Through her parenting, I learned what it meant to create a culture of equity—where every person gets the right amount of support they need to be successful—which has proven critical in my own teaching journey. 

Today I teach social studies in a juvenile detention facility in Virginia, where I work to create a positive school culture and empower my students to become civically-minded social advocates. When I was selected as Virginia’s Teacher of the Year, and then National Teacher of the Year, I was elated—mostly for my students. Their stories don’t often fit into the typical educational story in America, but they represent the power and possibility of second chances. They deserve a great education to take advantage of that second chance, and I’m eager to advocate for what they—along with other students from underprivileged backgrounds—need to be successful. That’s also why I’m so happy that Google is showing up this Teacher Appreciation Week, including a new $5 million grant to DonorsChoose.org, to make it easier for us to build classrooms that reflect the diversity of our students.

Google Doodle for Teacher Appreciation Week

Today’s Doodle was co-designed by the 57 2019 Teachers of the Year, representing each U.S. state, extra-state territories, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

Google’s homepage today is a tribute to teachers, and I feel proud to see the contribution I made—alongside my 56 fellow State Teachers of the Year—up there for everyone to see. Since Google is a sponsor of The Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) National Teacher of the Year program, we had the opportunity to spend a few days at Google’s Bay Area headquarters where I learned a lot about technology and using storytelling, advocacy and leadership in my practice. I am glad to see companies like Google have teachers’ backs.

The Teachers of the Year gather in San Francisco

While at Google, I got to engage in meaningful discussions with my fellow 2019 Teachers of the Year about how together we can advocate for solutions to some of the biggest issues in education.

A $5 million investment to bring teachers’ ideas to life

Today Google is making one of its largest teacher-focused grants to date, through a $5 million Google.org grant that will unlock over $10 million for teachers through DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit organization that helps teachers get funding for classroom resources and projects. For every dollar you donate to a teacher’s classroom on DonorsChoose.org today, Google will put in an extra fifty cents to help teachers get funding, from 8:00 AM EST on Monday, May 6 until 3:00 AM EST on Tuesday, May 7, up to $1.5 million total.

Later this month, the remaining $3.5 million of this grant will also go toward supporting underrepresented teachers and those looking to create more inclusive classrooms. Representation means so much to my students, which is why it’s so important to have teachers  who value their cultures and look like them .

Free resources and trainings for educators, by educators

Google is also launching free online and in-person resources and trainings. In the Teacher Center, you’ll find a new section with teacher guides and lesson plans—created for teachers, by teachers—made to help create classrooms that best reflect our students. And throughout the week, you can attend free in-person trainings for educators in the new Google Learning Center in New York City, led by teachers like me(!) and 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples, as well as teacher-focused organizations like TED-Ed. I’ll also be doing an Education On Air session later this week, so you can even tune in virtually.

Making it easier for teachers to learn from one another

As teachers, we often learn from each other. That’s why all of the 2019 State Teachers of the Year have recorded words of insight and encouragement to share with our fellow educators as part of CCSSO and Google’s “Lessons from Teachers of the Year” YouTube series.

As part of our work with Google, we also received early access toTED Masterclass, a new TED-Ed professional learning program they sponsored that supports educators in sharing their ideas in the form of TED-style talks. You can now check out several of my fellow educators’ TED Talks on the newly launchedTED-Ed Educator Talks YouTube Channel. More than 5,000 educators, including Google Certified Innovative Educators, are busy developing their Talks.

I hope you’ll join us in celebrating teachers everywhere who go the extra mile to help every student succeed. You can start exploring classroom projects eligible for today’s match on DonorsChoose.org, and of course, remember to #thankateacher—because we deserve it.

How we’re supporting economic opportunity in Iowa

For some, Iowa may call to mind images of rolling corn fields, or the Field of Dreams. But those in the know will tell you that the Hawkeye state has a storied history of technological innovation. The first electronic digital computer was created in a lab at Iowa State and Lee de Forest, the “Father of Radio,” was born and raised in Council Bluffs. Perhaps most impressively,  sliced bread is an Iowan invention, with the first single loaf bread-slicing machine patented here in 1928.

In 2009, Iowa also became home to a Google Data Center, where I—along with hundreds of Iowans—work to connect billions of people around the world to Google. When someone logs onto Gmail, watches a YouTube video or searches for an answer to some burning question, they might not think of Iowa, but they should.

With such a strong track record of fostering creative answers to difficult questions, Iowa is the perfect place for Google to kick off a statewide $1 million Google.org Impact Challenge, where we’re inviting local nonprofits to share their most ambitious ideas to create economic opportunity in their community. Then, a panel of local advisors will select the top five to receive a $175,000 grant to bring their ideas to life. Our advisors, listed below, represent all corners of the state:

  • Dr. Dan Kinney, President, Iowa Western Community College
  • Georgia Van Gundy, Executive Director and Board Secretary, Iowa Business Council
  • Monica Chavez-Silva, Assistant Vice President for Community Enhancement, Grinnell College
  • Sherry Ristau, President, Quad Cities Community Foundation
  • Tej Dhawan, Chief Data Officer, Principal Financial Group

To cap off the competition, Google will invite Iowans to select one of the five projects they believe will have the greatest impact.

We kicked the Challenge off this morning in Des Moines at the first stop of a three-city Grow with Google Iowa Tour, where we’re teaming up with local libraries and partner organizations across the state to offer free trainings so that Iowans have the opportunity to learn digital skills to grow their careers or businesses. Tomorrow and the following day, we’ll visit libraries in Council Bluffs and Davenport as part of a larger commitment to support economic opportunity in America and bring in-person digital skills workshops to libraries to all 50 states.

Iowa nonprofit organizations can find more information on the Google.org Impact Challenge and submit their applications by visiting g.co/iowachallenge. The deadline for submissions is May 17th at 11:59 p.m. CT. We’re expecting to name the five winners in the fall of 2019. Considering the sliced bread precedent, the bar is being set pretty high.

With Goodwill, we’re helping more Americans learn digital skills

In October 2017, I returned to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—the first city I saw when I came to America over 25 years ago—to announce Grow with Google, a new effort to create more opportunity for everyone. At the heart of this goal was our five-year commitment to provide $1 billion in Google.org grants and 1 million Googler volunteer hours to organizations all over the world. Goodwill Industries International was one of the first groups to join us in this effort, and just over a year later, I’m proud to share that our work together has already helped a quarter of a million Americans learn new digital skills, and 27,000 Americans find a job.

This impact was made possible by the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator (GDCA), a program to equip 1.2 million Americans with the digital skills needed to succeed in today’s job market and prepare for the changing workforce. GDCA was launched with the support of a $10 million Google.org grant made to Goodwill Industries International, the largest grant we’ve ever made to a single organization.

Goodwill has a track record of helping place people in jobs that provide good wages and pathways to future careers, and the impact we’ve seen through this program is no different. One example is Simone in Astoria, New York, who was hired as a remote receptionist after taking a weeklong customer service and call-center training that taught her basic computer skills. Other job seekers have found positions in fields like IT support, aircraft manufacturing, and information and communications technology.

In the case of Chelsea, these trainings led her to a job at Google. After moving home to Nashville from Atlanta, she struggled to find housing for her family. While working at Goodwill of Middle Tennessee, she was encouraged to enroll in the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program. With nearly one year of training under her belt, she’s now working at our data center in Clarksville, TN, and has moved with her daughters into a house nearby. Chelsea is one of 66,000 people enrolled the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, and 84 percent of whom say it helped them to advance their job search or career.

Goodwill’s programs also give people the digital skills they need to launch and grow a business. Femeka in Fort Worth, Texas, started her own gift basket business, but was struggling to reach new customers. She saw a flier for the Goodwill program at a local women’s shelter and completed courses in basic computing, internet navigation, productivity tools and G Suite in just a few weeks. Femeka used these new skills she learned to create order forms for her gift baskets and build a website to attract new customers.

Goodwill’s model is effective because it’s not a cookie cutter approach to job training. There’s something for everyone to learn that can benefit their careers, whether it’s getting basics skills like word-processing or email, or more specific skills to get a better job in the same field. Local Goodwill organizations are also empowered to build programs that fit their communities best. In Wichita, Kansas, a lack of transit options led the local Goodwill to bring classes to 35 rural communities around the state in an RV!

The Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator operates at 93 Goodwill organizations across 34 states, with plans to expand to 126 in the coming months. Meanwhile, 200 Google employees have volunteered their time and expertise to conduct trainings, and seven Google.org Fellows are embedded full-time at Goodwill locations across the country.

Our strong collaboration with Goodwill has contributed to the progress we’ve made toward the goal of $1 billion and 1 million hours we set in Pittsburgh. Overall, Googlers have already served 280,000 volunteer hours and we’ve made over $300 million in grants. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together, but there’s a lot more to work to make sure everyone has access to opportunities, no matter where they live. We’ll continue to update you on the lessons we’re learning and the impact we’re seeing in the months and years to come.

Bringing digital and media literacy education to more schools in Korea

Three years ago, the Center for Digital Literacy (CDL) embarked on a pilot program to bring digital and media literacy skills to junior high school students in schools across Seoul and Gyeonggi provinces. Through the Digital & Media Literacy Campus program, kids like Yang Chaemin have learned how to better evaluate online media sources and also to experience the fun and excitement that digital technologies like AR and VR have to offer.

Jacquelline Fuller at Geumho Girls Middle School

Here, I’m with Yang Chaemin and her classmates at Geumho Girls Middle School, where they’re learning to critically interpret online resources and are able to practice using a range of digital tools.

Two years ago, with a grant from Google.org, CDL was able to expand the program. Since then, they’ve reached 10,000 children across 200 schools. CDL has also delivered training to a thousand parents, equipping them with tips to help their kids use digital media. Working with parents is important because developing awareness for opportunities that technology creates often starts at home.

Given the incredible impact CDL has had over the last two years, we recently extended our support for CDL. Through an additional grant, CDL will now bring the program to another 7,000 students and train 600 more teachers across Korea. In this phase, they’ll especially focus on bringing the program to children in rural areas, where there are often fewer opportunities to access digital education.

Over the past few years, Google.org has had an incredible opportunity to support a number of education programs in Korea. Whether it's investing in digital literacy as we’ve done through CDL, or inspiring innovative thinking among children at the Gwacheon National Science Museum, we hope these efforts will equip more Korean youth with the inspiration, skills and knowledge to reach their potential.

Yeseo Yoo at Hanbada Middle School

“It was a miracle that I could have the opportunity to learn about digital literacy at my school. Through this class, I was able to do what I thought only adults could do and only professionals could do. I've experienced augmented reality, and I've designed a virtual reality space with my friends. The most interesting thing for me was big data analysis and infographic video production. Now I dream of becoming a software developer, creating something that didn't exist today and contributing to a beautiful world."  — Yeseo Yoo, 15-year old student at Hanbada Middle School, who attended CDL's program in 2018

How I teach my friends to know what’s actually true online

Editor's note: Madelyn Knight, 18, is a senior at Southport High School in Indianapolis and is the editor-in-chief of the school news magazine, The Journal. She was recently awarded the 2019 Indiana High School Journalist of the Year by the Indiana High School Press AssociationMediaWise is part of the Google News Initiative and is a Google.orgfunded partnership between The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), theLocal Media Association(LMA) and the National Association for Media Literacy Education(NAMLE). MediaWise aims to teach one million students how to discern fact from fiction online by 2020.

The average time I spend on my phone each day is four hours and 48 minutes, according to a screen-time tracker on my smartphone. Three of these hours are devoted almost entirely to being on social media. When my friends from my high school use the same trackers, their results are similar to mine.

This means that every day, for three or more hours a day, I am exposed to an endless amount of information, and not all of it is true. Each day, I scroll through social media feeds, liking and commenting on my favorite posts. And every once in a while, I come across a post that makes me stop. Maybe it’s a claim about the world ending or a cool solar event captured by NASA. Maybe it’s about a new government policy or the latest celebrity news. But almost every time, I stop and think, “Is this real?”

In this area, I have an advantage over my peers. I am a student journalist, who has learned about media literacy and how news spreads. I’ve learned about fact-checking and bias within news sites because of being on my school’s news magazine. I know that not everything on the internet is true.

But not all of my friends are that lucky. I know that not everyone is as aware that there may be false information, and they don’t have the knowledge to combat it.

This is why we need MediaWise. Today’s teenagers and children have quite literally grown up on the internet. Yet we aren’t taught how to tell if something shared on the internet is real. It only makes sense to give teenagers a guide to notice the signs and how to conduct their own research on something they see online.

The first time I heard about MediaWise was at the High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University the summer before the beginning of my senior year. At the time, MediaWise had just begun, and they weren’t sure how or when they were going to have teens help fact-check. However, I knew I wanted to be a part of MediaWise right away. I kept up with the details and emails until finally, I joined theteen fact-checking network for the winter session in January.

As a part of the network, I’ve had the opportunity to make videos for MediaWise’s social media platforms, teaching people how to fact-check what they see online. One of my favorite tricks and tips is thereverse Google Image search, which makes finding an image on the internet super simple. I used it in my first fact-check, and I think it’s probably one of the most useful tools out there. What I noticed, however, is that a lot of my friends and peers didn’t even know it existed. Because of that fact-check, I know I am teaching people my age how to use that resource and create a simpler, more accurate online world.

Personally, I’ve definitely adjusted the way I look at the internet. When I show my friends a meme, they always joke, “Hey! Did you fact-check that?” They’ve sent me links to posts I could possibly fact-check, and that means they, too, are thinking about what they see online. It helps me realize that what I am doing is actually making a difference.

Being a teen fact-checker with MediaWise has taught me a lot about myself. But mostly, it’s taught me that I have the ability to make a difference in the world. I’m no longer complaining that people don’t know what they’re talking about online. I’m actually showing them how they can get better.

The Google News Initiative, one year in

In the first year of the Google News Initiative, our efforts have centered around a spirit of experimentation, with programs focused on three pillars: working with the news industry to evolve their business models, raising up quality journalism and driving new thinking and approaches in newsrooms. There’s still much to be done, but we remain committed to collaborating with publishers to build a stronger future for journalism.

Empowering sustainable business growth

The business of journalism is undergoing a major transformation as the focus expands from digital advertising to other ways of making money, like subscriptions. Last year, we worked with publishers to design Subscribe with Google (SwG) which makes it easy to subscribe and access news publications across surfaces and devices.

Today, nearly 50 partners from 19 countries have signed up to implement Subscribe with Google and publishers like The Washington Post, the Financial Times, Folha de S. Paulo and Nine Publishing are using the product. Beyond subscriptions we’re expanding to support publishers who monetize using contributions or membership-based models. The Guardian, a leader in the field, is our first partner to test this approach and will help to inform best practices before we fully launch later this spring.


But technology is only one part of the solution. Deeply understanding the needs of readers, building new capabilities and adopting a subscriber-first culture require new approaches and commitments from news publishers. Our new initiative called the GNI Digital Subs Lab will help 14 publishers in North and Latin America transform their approach to digital subscriptions.

Elevating quality journalism

Every day, people come to Google to access quality journalism, but not everyone on the web acts with good intent. Combating misinformation requires forging partnerships with industry organizations, investing in better product solutions, and training journalists on the latest verification tools and technology.

In the last year our News Lab has trained nearly 300,000 journalists in person and online around the world on digital tools for journalism, with a goal to reach 500,000 journalists by 2020. We’ve partnered with the International Fact Check Network and dozens of newsrooms worldwide to quell the spread of misinformation, especially during key times like elections. We’ve supported initiatives like Verificado in Mexico, Comprova in Brazil, CekFakta in Indonesia, FactCheckEU and the journalist training network in India, which included over 100 newsrooms and reached thousands of journalists ahead of key elections—there’s more to come in Australia and Argentina. We’re working with First Draft on their CrossCheck tool, which helps journalists debunk and share information across the world—they’ve already trained hundreds of journalists ahead of the EU elections.

Journalists in London_News Lab workshop.jpg

Journalists attending News Lab workshop at the Worldwide Association of Women Journalists and Writers event in London

Journalists in Bulgaria_News Lab workshop.jpg

Journalists in Bulgaria taking part in a News Lab workshop.

Our fact checking project launched in October 2016 to help people find articles that fact check claims made on the web. Earlier this month we unveiled a feature on YouTube in India that automatically surfaces third-party fact checks from eligible publishers alongside YouTube search results.

We’ll soon be launching two tools to help fact checkers work more efficiently and effectively. The Fact Check Markup tool makes it easy for reporters to put structured data markup into their fact checking content using the open standard ClaimReview, and the Fact Check Explorer helps journalists find fact checking articles for various topics through a simple search function. We’re also opening up APIs for these tools to help developers build their own applications to assist fact checkers across the world.

Beyond our products, we’re working to tackle the intentional spread of misinformation across Search, News, YouTube and our advertising systems. In the coming weeks we’ll launch a “How News Works” site, communicating the values that shape our approach.

And to teach the next generation the difference between fact and fiction online we launched a $10 million global media literacy campaign with Google.org last year. In the U.S., MediaWise—led by the Poynter Institute—has trained 6,000 teens, launched a Teen Fact Check Network and partnered with YouTube creators like John Green and Destin Sandlin on digital literacy programming.

In Europe we’re supporting Media Veritas to promote media literacy among the most vulnerable communities in Portugal, Student View in the UK to expand its school newsroom program and, in Finland, the Mannerheim Child Welfare Association to run 150 local events focused on digital well being.

New technology for news organizations

To help news organizations around the world experiment with new formats, we’ve given more than $5 million in audio innovation grants and launched a $25 million program with YouTube that funded 87 publishers to develop sustainable video operations.

TheGNI Cloud program, aimed at small and midsize news organizations, has provided over 6,000 free GSuite licenses and around $1 million in Google Cloud Credits to almost 100 publishers worldwide. Today we’re expanding the program to train 14 news organizations—including Clarín in Argentina and Nikkei in Japan—in machine learning to develop use cases around personalization and content tagging that may ultimately become real products.

Newspack is a partnership with Automattic and Wordpress.com to build a fast, secure, low-cost publishing system tailor-made to the needs of small and medium-sized newsrooms. Next week  the publications selected for phase one of the program will be unveiled.

This is just a snapshot of our efforts to build a healthy future for journalism—a vision that would not be possible without the collaboration and partnership of publishers from across the world.

Helping Latino students learn to code

Growing up in Costa Rica, I was always passionate about creating things and solving puzzles. That’s what drove me to computer science. I saw it as an opportunity to explore my interests and open doors to new possibilities. It's that love and passion that eventually helped me get to Google, and to the United States, where I now live.

Computer science requires students to learn how to think in a totally new way. Getting into that mindset can be really hard for anyone, but it can be even tougher if you’re learning key phrases, concepts, and acronyms in an environment that feels different from your everyday life.

That’s why I’m proud to share that Google.org is making a $5 million grant to UnidosUS, the YWCA and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. The grant will bring computer science (CS) education to over one million Latino students and their families by 2022 with computer science curricula, including CS First, Google’s coding curriculum for elementary and middle school students. Additionally, it will support students' experience with how they learn about computer science, helping them explore CS and offering culturally relevant resources to engage parents.

This $5 million grant is part of a new $25 million Google.org commitment in 2019 to increase Black and Latino students’ access to computer science (CS) and AI education across the US. This initiative will help these students develop the technical skills and confidence they need for the future, and help prepare them to succeed in the careers they pursue.

Even as a fluent English speaker, I can’t count the number of times people misunderstand me because I pronounce things differently, or the times it takes me a little longer to understand because my day-to-day work language is not my primary language. This language barrier is not the only barrier—students from underrepresented communities, especially those who are Black and Latino, often don’t feel represented or connected to their first introduction to the field.

While Black and Latino students have equal interest in CS education, they often face social barriers to learning CS, such as a lack of role models, and a lack of learning materials that reflect their lived experiences, like those that are in a language they understand. On top of these social barriers, these students often face structural barriers, such as not having equal access to learn CS in or outside of the classroom. 

Along with the grant, CS First is launching its first set of lessons in Spanish. In the first activity, "Animar un nombre," students choose the name of something or someone they care about and bring the letters to life using code. The second activity, "Un descubrimiento inusual,” encourages students to code a story about when two characters discover a surprising object.

Today’s announcement is an exciting part of Google.org’s work to support students who have historically been underrepresented in computer science. These grants to partner organizations will help Black and Latino students access materials and engage with role models who feel connected to their culture. We will also help create more opportunities for students to access the courses they need to continue their studies.

To me, the new Spanish coding lessons are more than just a fun way to learn coding. They are opportunities for entire communities of students to see themselves reflected in computer science education materials, perhaps for the first time. It’s our hope that students like the ones I met will use CS to create more inventions and opportunities for us all.

Helping Indonesia prepare for disasters

In September last year, a large earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Within hours, a tsunami hit Palu, the provincial capital. Over two thousand lives were lost, making it the deadliest earthquake in 2018. Google.org and Googlers around the world responded by donating $1 million to support relief efforts led by Save the Children and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. We also rolled out our crisis response alerts and tools to provide emergency info those impacted.

This earthquake was only one of more than 2,000 disasters to strike Indonesia last year. Altogether, the government has estimated that these disasters affected some three million people, causing billions of dollars in damages and a tragic loss of life. Unfortunately, 2018 was not an anomaly and we know that Indonesia will continue to be challenged by natural disasters. At Google.org, we look to help nonprofits on the frontlines of global crisis through funding and volunteers. But we also believe in supporting solutions that could help mitigate the impact of future crises.

This is why we’re now helping Save the Children’s Indonesian partner, Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik, with a $1 million grant. Through this grant, they’ll implement a national awareness campaign using online and offline platforms to ensure that schools are safe and children are better prepared for emergencies. It’s anticipated they’ll reach over half a million people, a majority of whom are women and children, some of the most vulnerable people in a time of crisis. Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik will also engage in capacity building with local government bodies in order to improve coordination, planning and response for the Provincial and District level.

Google.org and Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik

Announcing a Google.org grant to Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik in Jakarta. From left to right: Randy Jusuf (Google Indonesia), Rudiantara (Minister of Communication and Informatics of Indonesia); Jacquelline Fuller (Google.org), Selina Sumbung (Chairperson, Save the Children-Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik), and Bambang Surya Putra (Directorate of Disaster Preparedness, National Disaster Management Agency) 

While disasters like the Sulawesi earthquake are unavoidable, I’m encouraged by the potential of what we can do together to ensure we’re as prepared as we can be. We hope that the learnings from this project will provide a strong framework to scale this work and contribute to long term sustainable disaster preparedness and awareness. 

You can pick the winner of the Google.org Impact Challenge Illinois

Last month, eight high school students in Columbia, South Carolina started apprenticeships at local businesses through a program to support homegrown talent in the area. In Cleveland, 25 high schoolers are hard at work on their internships at a local manufacturer, on a track to have a permanent job by the spring. And in Pittsburgh, hundreds of women participated in pay-what-you-can workshops, ranging from DIY synthesizer making to custom vinyl cutting.

Since our start last year, the Google.org Impact Challenge has awarded $1 million to 16 nonprofits in four cities: Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City, Columbia, S.C., and Cleveland, all cities we visit on our Grow with Google tour across the U.S. Selected by a panel of local advisors, each organization came up with a new way to create economic opportunities for the communities they serve. At Google, when we see something that’s working, we find a way to make it even better.

For our next Google.org Impact Challenge in the U.S., we decided to cast a wider net and support organizations whose reach will extend beyond one metropolitan area. To support Grow with Google’s initiative to create economic opportunities for all Americans, we launched a new statewide Impact Challenge, giving Google.org the ability to support an even more diverse group of organizations. Last September, we convened our first statewide Impact Challenge in Illinois, and 167 nonprofits from all corners of the Prairie State applied with their boldest ideas to make positive change.

Today, we are pleased to announce the winners, each of whom will receive $75,000 in grant funding and Google training to make their ideas a reality. One of these winners will receive an extra $250,000, and it’s up to you to pick who wins. You can select your favorite on our site today; voting ends on February 14.

Grow With Google Illinois
  • After School Matters:Supporting a program to guide disconnected Chicago youth onto individualized college and career pathways.

  • Cara Chicago:Helping people affected by poverty and the challenges that come with it get quality jobs.

  • Future Founders Foundation: Empowering young adults to start their own businesses through a free accelerator.

  • Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois:Increasing on-site accessibility to STEM education for girls in over 40 rural Illinois counties.

  • Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs: Creating community-owned grocery stores in small towns to increase access to fresh produce and meats from local farmers.

  • Manufacturing Renaissance: Offering paid work experiences, training for industry credentials, career and college coaching to underserved youth for careers in manufacturing.

  • North Lawndale Employment Network: Providing transitional jobs for men and women returning from incarceration.

  • Mattoon in Motion:Supporting a sustainable, collaborative space for entrepreneurs to receive training, mentoring, and coaching.

  • True Star Foundation Inc.: Helping small businesses and nonprofits create social media content, blog posts, videos, and more through a youth-led digital marketing agency.

  • YWCA of McLean County:Building employment skills for formerly incarcerated women.

Thanks to our panel of local advisors for selecting such a great group of finalists. Now it’s time for you to weigh in. Vote through our website to select which of the 10 winners will receive the People’s Choice Award and and additional $250,000. Public voting will end in one week, on February 14, and the winner will be announced on February 15.