Author Archives: Juan Rajlin

Supporting an inclusive recovery this Pride Month

Photo credit: Hanna Benavides

In June of 1994, I stood on a packed sidewalk in Boston, looking all around to take in everything I could at my first-ever Pride parade. As a young student from Argentina, I knew I was gay, but I hadn’t experienced an environment where I could be my authentic self. In the presence of so much joy and celebration, I experienced a new sense of freedom, and a realization that there was a community that would embrace the person I knew myself to be.

This past year, the need for belonging has become more important than ever. The pandemic has separated us from loved ones and communities, and caused significant loss for many. It is abundantly clear that we need an inclusive and equitable recovery.

That’s why, for Pride this year, we’re providing $4 million to support LGBTQ+ communities around the world, including a first-of-its-kind economic relief fund. At the same time, we’re continuing our work to make our products more inclusive and helpful.

Supporting our LGBTQ+ community in the recovery

To aid in the recovery, we’re supporting a relief fund that will help the global LGBTQ+ community. Google.org is providing $2 million to OutRight Action International’s “Covid-19 Global LGBTIQ Emergency Fund.” This will help 100 organizations across more than 60 countries over the next year and bring the fund to North America, supporting frontline LGBTQ+ workers. To start, OutRight has awarded grants to three grantees: Transgender Law Center in the U.S., Lesbian Organization against Violence and Inequality in the Philippines, and Casa das Pretas-Coisa de Mulherin Brazil. These grants will help provide resources like food, shelter and job training for those in need. To further support OutRight’s advocacy for LGBTQ+ human rights globally, we’re providing $1 million in Ad Grants. 


In addition to supporting trans organizations through OutRight’s fund, Google.org is also giving $1 million in Ad Grants to support the Transgender Law Center and the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. These grants will help them share critical community resources and continue the fight for trans rights.

Fostering belonging through our products

We continue our work to make our products more inclusive and useful. In Google Photos, we heard from the trans community that resurfacing certain memories can be painful, so we worked with our partners at GLAAD and listened to feedback, and as a result we’re launching more granular controls, which makes reminiscing more inclusive. In Google Maps and Search, you can now see if a local business has gender-neutral restrooms, adding to our existing features that show whether businesses identify as LGBTQ+ friendly and/or a transgender safe space. This information is critical to helping the community find safe and welcoming places.
A screenshot of a phone showing a Google Maps business profile that lists a gender-neutral restroom.

We’re also honoring LGBTQ+ voices, authors and creators throughout the month. On our homepage today, we’re celebrating Pride with a Google Doodle honoring Dr. Frank Kameny, a pioneer of the U.S. LGBTQ+ rights movement. On Google Arts & Culture you can learn about eight LGBTQ+ artists, view 5,000 photographs of LGBTQ+ history from Leonard Fink and revisit the first 15 years of Pride. Google TV has new Pride collections and a spotlight on the new Pride documentary, and you can even ask your smart display or Nest speaker, "Hey Google, what are you doing for Pride?" to learn more about LGBTQ+ history and leaders.  


Many Pride activities are still virtual this year, and there are many fun ways to engage with your community and celebrate Pride on our platforms. Catch several Pride livestreams, including the YouTube Originals multi-hour event in support of The Trevor Project on Friday, June 25. And in case you need some virtual confetti, when you search for topics like "pride" or "pride parade" on Google, you'll find a delightful colorful celebration. 


Thinking back on my first Pride 25 years ago, it is my hope that communities around the world will be back together, celebrating once again soon. To me, Pride has always been about belonging and celebrating the progress we’ve made as an LGBTQ+ community — from Stonewall in 1969, to marriage equality in the U.S., to the passage of many supportive policies in my home country, Argentina. There is still a lot of work to do, especially as we continue to fight for the rights of our trans community, but I remain optimistic about our community’s future given how far we’ve come. 

Apoyando una recuperación inclusiva este mes del Orgullo

Photo credit: Hanna Benavides

En junio de 1994, presencié desde una calle de Boston mi primera Marcha del Orgullo. Como el joven estudiante proveniente de Argentina que era entonces, miré a mi alrededor y traté de asimilar todo lo que pude. Yo ya sabía que era gay, pero nunca había tenido, hasta ese momento, la oportunidad de estar en un entorno donde pudiese ser yo mismo. Sin embargo, al ver tanta alegría y tanto espíritu celebratorio, sentí una sensación de libertad nueva, y me di cuenta, por fin, de que existía una comunidad donde podría ser bien recibido.

En este último año, la necesidad de pertenecer se ha vuelto más importante que nunca. La pandemia nos ha separado de nuestros seres queridos y de nuestras comunidades, y muchos hemos sufrido pérdidas importantes. Es evidente que necesitamos que la recuperación sea inclusiva y equitativa.

Por eso, ante una nueva Marcha del Orgullo, vamos a aportar US$4 millones para apoyar a las comunidades LGBTQ+ del mundo, incluyendo el primer fondo de ayuda económica de este tipo. Todo esto mientras seguimos trabajando para que nuestros productos sean cada vez más inclusivos y más útiles.

Apoyando a nuestra comunidad LGBTQ+ en la recuperación

Para ayudar en la recuperación, estamos aportando a un fondo de ayuda que asistirá a la comunidad global LGBTQ+, y vamos a proveer US$2 millones al "Fondo de Emergencia Global LGBTIQ de Covid-19" de OutRight Action International. Esto ayudará a 100 organizaciones en más de 60 países durante el próximo año, además de traer fondos a los Estados Unidos para apoyar a los trabajadores esenciales de la comunidad LGBTQ+. En un comienzo, OutRight ya ha identificado a tres beneficiarios iniciales, a los que ha asignado fondos: Transgender Law Center, en los EE.UU.; Lesbian Organization against Violence and Inequality, en las Filipinas, y Casa das Pretas-Coisa de Mulher, en Brasil. Estos fondos aportarán recursos como alimentos, albergue y capacitación laboral a quienes los necesiten. Además, aportaremos US$1 millón en Ad Grants con el fin de apoyar aún más el trabajo que hace OutRight en relación con los derechos humanos LGBTQ+ a nivel global.


Además de apoyar a las organizaciones trans a través del fondo de OutRight, también estamos donando US$1 millón en Ad Grants para apoyar al Transgender Law Center y al Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. Estos fondos les ayudarán a compartir recursos comunitarios críticos y a continuar la lucha por los derechos de las personas trans.

Fomentando la pertenencia a través de nuestros productos

Tal como anunciamos en Google I/O el mes pasado, seguimos esforzándonos por hacer que nuestros productos sean cada vez más inclusivos y ayuden cada vez a más personas. Con respecto a Google Fotos, por ejemplo, la comunidad trans nos dijo que volver a ver ciertos recuerdos podía resultar doloroso, de modo que trabajamos con nuestros socios en GLAAD y creamos controles más detallados y granulares, para ayudar a que el acto de recordar sea también más inclusivo. En Google Mapas y en Búsqueda, por su parte, hemos agregado funciones que permiten ver si una tienda cercana tiene baños públicos neutrales en cuanto a género. Esto se suma a las funciones pre existentes, que muestran si las tiendas se identifican como "LGBTQ+-friendly" y/o como un espacio seguro para personas transgénero. Esta información es crucial para ayudar a que la comunidad encuentre lugares seguros y acogedores.

Captura de pantalla de un celular que muestra un perfil de tienda en Google Mapas que menciona un baño neutral en cuanto a género.

Durante este mes, también estamos homenajeando a las voces y a las creaciones de la comunidad LGBTQ+. En la página de inicio de Google de hoy, por ejemplo, celebramos el Orgullo con un Doodle en honor al Dr. Frank Kameny, pionero del movimiento de derechos LGBTQ+ en los EE.UU. En Google Arts & Culture, puedes aprender sobre ocho artistas LGBTQ+, ver 5,000 fotografías de la historia LGBTQ + de Leonard Fink y volver a visitar los primeros 15 años del Orgullo. Google TV, por su parte, destaca el nuevo documental del Orgullo e incluso puedes preguntarle a tu televisor Smart o a tu parlante Nest: "Hey Google, ¿qué hay de nuevo en Orgullo?" para saber más sobre la historia y los líderes de la comunidad LGBTQ+.

Muchas actividades del Orgullo también son virtuales este año y hay muchas formas divertidas de participar con la comunidad y de celebrar en nuestras plataformas. Se pueden ver, por ejemplo, varias transmisiones en vivo del Orgullo, incluyendo un evento de varias horas en YouTube Originals el viernes 25 de junio en apoyo a The Trevor Project. En caso de que necesites papel picado virtual, cuando busques palabras como "orgullo" o "marcha del orgullo" en Google, encontrarás una celebración a todo color.

A 25 años de mi primer Marcha del Orgullo, mi deseo es que las comunidades del mundo puedan volver a reunirse y que pronto podamos celebrar juntos. Para mí, la Marcha del Orgullo siempre ha tenido que ver con pertenecer y es una gran ocasión para celebrar el progreso que hemos logrado como comunidad LGBTQ+: desde Stonewall en 1969, al matrimonio igualitario en los EE.UU., a la sanción de muchas políticas favorables en Argentina, mi país de origen.

Supporting small businesses around the world

Small businesses are the backbone of the global economy and at the core of many of Google’s tools, services and products. So when the pandemic hit last year, we announced a $200 million investment fund as part of our $800+ million commitment to support small businesses in the face of COVID-19.

We set out to partner with organizations who share our desire to empower small businesses in underserved communities, which are often overlooked by traditional lenders.  

In the U.S. we are partnering with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). To date, OFN has helped us provide over $90 million in low-interest loans from the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Google.org grants to over thirty Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) across the country. CDFIs in turn finance hundreds of small businesses, like Gem City Market, a new grocery cooperative that secured funding from Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP) to help them provide affordable, quality kitchen staples to the Dayton, Ohio, community. 

A group of people holding a sign advertising Gem City Market in Ohio

Today, we are announcing our international partners who will help fulfill our $75 million commitment to small businesses outside of the U.S. We've partnered with two innovative government-sponsored investment initiatives, with the belief that public-private partnerships can provide creative solutions to meet the needs of small businesses in this critical time:

  • In Europe, we are proud to be partnering with the European Investment Fund (EIF), an EU body supporting Europe’s small and medium-size businesses. We will be the first company investing in two EIF funds: $15 million in loan capital that will support more than 1000 European small businesses and $10 million in EIF’s Life Sciences Fund, a venture capital fund that will help support approximately 200 life sciences companies, many of which are helping with the COVID-19 crisis. This Life Sciences Fund is also supported by the European Commission’s European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

  • In Latin America, with the help of a long-term partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank through its innovation lab, we are allocating $8 million to increase the capital available in the region for small businesses. Two out of three workers in Latin America are employed by a small business, which makes their success one of the most essential elements for economic recovery in the region.

In addition, we’re working with non-government partners who have a long track record of providing resources to businesses that are generally overlooked by traditional lenders:

  • In Africa, the Middle East and Indonesia, we’ve established a $26 million loan initiative with Kiva, an organization which crowdfunds loans to unlock capital for the underserved around the world. Kiva’s global reach, local relationships and mission-driven approach make them an ideal partner to scale across several regions. Over the coming months, Google and Kiva will work together to create financial solutions that will support thousands of small businesses spanning 10 countries. Google.org is also providing a separate $1 million grant to help Kiva build capacity for their local partnerships and research the impact of this program.

  • In India, we will invest $15 million to support small and micro enterprises across the country and are in discussions with local partners. And in Israel, we will provide $1 million to the Ogen-Israel Social Loan Fund, which is designed to provide accessible, low-interest loans to micro and small businesses as well as non-profit organizations.

From our inception, Google has had a special relationship with small businesses around the world – helping them scale, innovate and reach new customers.  With today’s announcement, we’re proud to help them meet a new challenge — accessing capital needed to recover and build resiliency for the future.