Author Archives: Adrian Schurr

Three years in: Our $1 billion Bay Area housing effort

The Bay Area is our home, and we’re helping our hometown communities solve challenging problems. In 2019, we committed $1 billion to help increase the Bay Area’s housing supply and support organizations on the front lines of homelessness. Over the last three years, we’ve been making investments and allocating land to help developers create new affordable housing units in all corners of the region.

A map illustration of the Bay Area with 23 red markers that indicate the location of affordable housing projects that Google has committed money to from our $250 million investment affordable housing fund.

A map of our current commitments from our $250 million affordable housing investment fund.

Investing $1 billion across the Bay Area

So far, we’ve allocated a total of $128 million of our $250 million investment fund to 18 organizations, which has supported the development of 23 affordable housing projects across the Bay Area.

A rendering of a multi-story residential complex painted light brown and yellow.

A rendering of Meridian, a 90-unit affordable housing development, in Sunnyvale, California. Image credit: Steinberg Hart.

As part of our commitment to give $750 million worth of our land to housing development, we’ve worked closely with elected officials and residents to propose plans where residential units, offices, retail spaces and open space will coexist on our land. The San José City Council unanimously approved our Downtown West project in May 2021, which calls for 4,000 housing units. In addition, we’ve submitted plans for mixed-use developments in Mountain View and are working with city staff to have Middlefield Park voted on by Mountain View City Council by the end of 2022, followed by North Bayshore in 2023. Together, these plans consider a total of 8,900 housing units, which would be developed by a partner.

While we’ve made progress across the Bay Area through funding and land allocation, we know that's only part of the solution. Fighting the housing crisis requires innovation and collaboration across the community. So today, we’re also sharing how we’re using philanthropy to test new methods of intervention with trusted nonprofit leaders.

Using philanthropy to test innovative solutions

Over the next three years, we’re giving more than $10 million of our 2019 $50 million grant commitment and providing pro bono support to select Bay Area nonprofits. These organizations are starting programs to test the impact of cash transfers on housing stability for community members experiencing homelessness. With cash transfers, money is directly provided to people to spend on things like rent, medical expenses, food, or other day-to-day expenses. Our funding will go toward direct cash support, infrastructure for the nonprofits and randomized impact evaluation. This way, critical research can be used to have a systemic effect to assist in providing stable housing. has been a longtime supporter of cash transfers, having distributed over $31 million globally, and providing over 235,000 households with cash support to improve their financial resilience and weather economic uncertainty. Research has shown that giving recipients the ability to decide how they spend their money leads to increases in economic and psychological well-being, physical health and household purchasing power. A randomized evaluation in Canada found a one-time cash transfer to individuals experiencing homelessness leads to quicker housing stability and spending fewer days unsheltered.

There is little to no research, however, of the effect of cash transfers on a demographic like Bay Area homeless communities. To better understand the impact, is supporting the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in partnering with several leading homeless service providers in the Bay Area. Through the Bay Area Evaluation (BAE) Incubator, providers are building their capacity to design and implement randomized evaluations of cash transfer programs.

In addition to J-PAL North America’s effort, is supporting some emerging cash transfer pilots:

  • Bay Area Community Services (BACS), alongside UCSF, is running a longitudinal study aimed at determining the effect of cash assistance for 100 Oakland households on housing stability and homelessness prevention while also measuring potential reduction of racial disparities in those who become homeless.
  • Chapin Hall, in partnership with Point Source Youth and Larkin Street Youth Services, will be launching community engagement work to prepare for a Bay Area expansion of a national effort. Their program tests the effectiveness of direct cash transfers and support programs on housing stability and well-being for young adults facing housing insecurity.
  • Miracle Messages, in partnership with the University of Southern California, will conduct a randomized controlled trial for people experiencing homelessness. The trial adds cash assistance to social support programming to measure multiple outcomes including housing stability, food security and mental health.

As we provide funding, we’re evaluating impact to determine the most effective cash transfer delivery models and programs for reducing homelessness. It’s our hope these grants will not only help individuals and families experiencing housing insecurity, but also expand the evidence base around the effectiveness of cash transfer programs, particularly in high-income communities like the Bay Area.

With this $10 million in grant funding, we’ve granted a total of $18 million of our 2019 commitment to Bay Area nonprofits providing services like food distribution, job training and case management. Through these grants, these organizations will help provide services to more than 90,000 people and house 10,000 individuals over the span of four years. It’s a testament to the impact philanthropy can have on the housing crisis.

Looking ahead

We can’t celebrate the last three years of work without recognizing the work that lies ahead. There is still a severe housing shortage of more than 400,000 in the Bay Area, and we’ll continue to work with housing experts, developers, nonprofit leaders and elected officials to find opportunities to build units and provide services to people as quickly as possible.

Learn more about our housing commitment at

Source: The Keyword

Vote for a Impact Challenge Bay Area winner

As someone who was born and raised in the Bay Area, I know nonprofits are the true backbone of our community. They help us tackle our most pressing challenges and are the lifelines for community in our moment of need. Growing up, I spent time volunteering at Martin De Porres House of Hospitality and St. Vincent De Paul Soup Kitchen where I witnessed the impact a meal can have for those whose dignity is constantly questioned. These experiences inspired and motivated me to find a career path that would allow me to help empower organizations to change my community’s circumstances.

At, we believe that community organizations most closely connected to those in need can offer solutions to rebuild a better, more equitable Bay Area — especially as we continue to deal with the pandemic’s impact. For over 20 years, Google has called the Bay Area home and has granted over $420 million to local nonprofits; I’m proud that we’re consistently one of the largest donors in the region and that we’re building on our impact today.’s Impact Challenge Bay Area includes $10 million in grants to 35 nonprofits, and, today, we’re sharing the top ten finalists that are eligible for the Public Choice award. These organizations are committed to efforts centered on housing and homelessness, improving access to education, offering resources for families in need, rethinking criminal justice, and so much more.

Top ten finalists: Brilliant Corners, creating a flexible housing subsidy pool to house 1,000+ of SF’s unhoused residents; Young Women’s Freedom Center, ending incarceration for young women in Santa Clara County; Code Nation, providing coding education and career prep for low-income high school students; College Track, creating a STEM education and career success program for first-generation students from low-income families; Compass Family Services, providing roving, on-demand mental health services for homeless families; UpTogether, helping build the financial and social capital of 500+ Bay Area residents; Homebase, streamlining systems of care and regional partnerships for data-driven impact; One Degree, building the first common application for public benefits and services; Somos Mayfair, developing a community-driven model to re-define land use and development in San Jose; The Kelsey, advancing disability-forward housing solutions that increase inclusion and opportunity in the Bay Area.

Throughout the last year and a half, we’ve seen many of our grantees step up in our communities and transform their operations to continue delivering vital services — from helping people access life-saving resources during the pandemic to rebuilding cities more equitably. Community-based organizations are critical safety nets.

Today, we’re entering the final phase of our Impact Challenge Bay Area. From November 1-14, the public can vote for the organization they believe should win the $1 million People’s Choice award. Once voting concludes, we'll announce the People’s Choice winner and the other four winners, which our panel of judges made up of local community leaders will select. The top ten finalists have each received $500,000, and five of these organizations have the opportunity to win an additional $500,000. Twenty-five other nonprofits each received $100,000 for their submission and work focused on rebuilding the Bay Area.

Now, it’s your turn to look into these organizations and vote for the one that you think most deserves the People’s Choice award.

Zendaya and help a community school bloom

In 2015, Roses in Concrete Community School opened in East Oakland, California. With a name inspired by a book of poetry written by Tupac Shakur, the school aims to create a model for urban education that prioritizes the needs of youth and families in the community it serves. It’s founder, Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade, believes education is the way to help young people understand that they can transform not only their community, but the world. By creating the conditions for our youngest change-makers to flourish, this education model can be a pathway to building healthy and sustainable communities across the U.S.

In the school’s first year, provided $750,000 to help launch its unique vision. And last Friday at Google’s San Francisco community space, teachers, students, artists, education advocates, Googlers and Oakland-native actress Zendaya celebrated the announcement of our additional $650,000 grant to help the school build a first-of-its-kind computer science (CS) curriculum, which will serve as a model for other schools across the U.S. The curriculum will be culturally and community relevant, building on Duncan-Andrade’s philosophy that education shouldn’t push students out of communities, but should instead help students transform them.

Research shows that Black and Latino students are interested in learning CS, but are underrepresented in the field due to limited access to learning opportunities, coupled with the lack of relatable role models. Through this new program, Roses in Concrete helps students see the connection between CS and their communities, and hopes to equip them with the skills they need to solve real problems, starting in their own neighborhood.

The purpose of education is not to escape poverty, but to end it. Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade
Founder of Roses in Concrete Community School

During the evening’s events, Roses students shared dance, art, and poetry performances for the crowd, which included Zendaya, an avid supporter of the school. Growing up in Oakland as the daughter of two teachers, she has fond memories of spending time in the same classrooms that now make up the Roses in Concrete campus, and credits pretending to grade papers as some of her earliest acting experience. During a student-led interview, Zendaya shared her appreciation for organizations like this progressive community school that are thoughtfully closing equity divides in her hometown. She encouraged the students to “Always lead with your heart and chase the happiness that fuels you,” and reminded them that technology is one possible medium for them to express themselves and make a positive difference.

As a lab school, Roses in Concrete will share this new curriculum with national school leaders, policy makers and researchers. And alongside Roses, we can identify more ways to provide meaningful CS experiences to students of color, and by doing so, provide pathways for them to grow, thrive, and create change—in their own communities, and around the world.

Source: Education