Author Archives: Rebecca Prozan

Reuniting the historic Stonewall Inn

Photo of Stonewall Inn facade taken by CyArk during a documentation project in March, 2017. Learn more about the Stonewall Inn with CyArk on Google Arts & Culture

The Stonewall Inn is known around the world as the site of the Stonewall Riots, which ignited the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement in 1969 in New York City. But at the time of the rebellion, the Stonewall Inn actually consisted of what is now two locations: 53 Christopher Street, the current location of the Stonewall Inn bar, and 51 Christopher Street next door. Over the years, as rents rose, the two sites were separated, and there was little evidence left that 51 Christopher Street played such a vital role in the heritage of the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

On Friday, this all changed. LGBTQ+ activists, with Google’s support, joined local elected officials to break ground on the new Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center, reuniting the two sites.

Four people hold shovels in front of a Pride flag and Google and YouTube logos.

Ann Marie Gothard, Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator Chuck Schumer and Google and Alphabet SVP and CFO Ruth Porat at Friday's groundbreaking.

Scheduled to officially open in the summer of 2024, the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center’s mission is to preserve, advance and celebrate the legacy of the Stonewall Rebellion. In 2016, then-President Barack Obama designated the 0.19-acre area, formerly known as Christopher Park, and the surrounding Christopher Street as the Stonewall National Monument, making it the first U.S. national monument dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community and their fight for equal rights.

Through a grant of $1 million from to help acquire the lease, Google is helping make this dream a reality. Visitors to the center will discover an immersive experience that takes them on a tour of LGBTQ+ history and culture. The center will host in-person and virtual tours, lectures, exhibitions and visual arts. It will also be the home base for the National Park Service Rangers who maintain the Stonewall National Monument.

Interior photograph of Stonewall Inn bar without people inside. A wooden bar and stools are visible and alcohol is lined up behind the bar, along with T-shirts for sale.

Photo of Stonewall Inn interior taken by CyArk during a documentation project in March, 2017. Learn more about the Stonewall Inn with CyArk on Google Arts & Culture.

Google has been deeply invested with preserving and sharing the history of the Stonewall Riots for many years. In 2019, on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, we provided support for Stonewall Forever, an interactive “living monument” sharing 50 years of LGBTQ+ history. With a $1.5 million grant from and volunteers from Google’s Creative Lab, the LGBT Community Center of New York City (The Center) launched the living monument which connects diverse voices from the Stonewall era to the stories of millions of LGBTQ+ people today. The living monument contains countless colorful pieces that people can click on to view digitized historical artifacts, oral histories and interviews from today. In the years since, participation in Stonewall Forever has grown as thousands of people have added their history by uploading photos, messages and stories.

Illustration of the New York City skyline with a rainbow of small squares bursting out of an area of the city where the Stonewall Inn sits

Launched in 2019 by the LGBT Community Center of New York City, Stonewall Forever is an interactive living monument sharing 50 years of LGBTQ+ history.

Supporting the LGBTQ+ community has been a longstanding commitment from Google. By supporting the reunification of the Stonewall Inn and the development of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center, we’re proud to do our part to preserve and commemorate the achievements of the past and to take big steps toward a brighter, more equitable future.

A year of work on the Bay Area’s housing and homeless crises

Today, we’re marking the one-year anniversary of our Bay Area housing commitment. Since last year, we’ve met with hundreds of advocates, developers and community leaders to understand how to quickly create affordable housing and support solutions to homelessness. In the Bay area, there’s a severe housing shortage of nearly 500,000 affordable units and the  homelessness crisis affects around 35,000 people. So we focused our efforts on two areas: grants to assist people experiencing homelessness and investments to produce more affordable housing. 

With last year’s commitments and the announcements below, we’ve allocated a total of $115 million from our $250 million investment fund, which we expect will help create around 24,000 new affordable housing units—both conventional and modular—by 2029. In addition, has granted $7.75 million to nonprofits on the front lines of homelessness.’s $50 million pledge’s grants to Bay Area nonprofits are projected to support more than 33,000 people with services like food distribution, job training, case management, and house 9,000 of those individuals over the span of four years. has supported solutions to homelessnessfor years and learned that the “Housing First” approach is the best way to help the homeless community. They will continue to support this approach with their new grants. 

Our $250 million investment fund

This past year we provided early and reliable capital to affordable housing projects, like The Kelsey Ayer Station, from our $250 million investment fund. Based in San José, The Kelsey Ayer Station will offer 115 homes for people with a range of incomes and 25 percent of the community is specifically reserved for people with disabilities. 

A rendering of The Kelsey Ayer Station in San José, California

A rendering of The Kelsey Ayer Station in San José, California. Image credit: The Kelsey.

We also committed $50 million to Housing Trust Silicon Valley’s TECH Fund to help build more affordable units quickly. So far, Housing Trust has invested these funds in six projects throughout the Bay Area with more to come. We’re encouraged that some housing developments that we invested in are already expected to break ground in 2021. 

As we focus on helping the Bay Area build more homes, we’re making two more commitments from our $250 million investment fund. 

Reinvesting in Housing Trust 

We’ve committed another $50 million to Housing Trust to establish the Launch Initiative. Funded 90 percent by Google, the initiative will give us—along with Housing Trust—opportunities to invest in a broader range of affordable housing projects. We’ve already seen progress with investments in two developments that are expected to create 150 homes: Alum Rock by Charities Housing in San Jose and Newark Timber by Eden Housing in Alameda County. In total, we’re estimating that this initiative will create 4,000 affordable units.

Supporting modular technology 

Modular housing is another opportunity to greatly increase the Bay Area’s housing supply. It’s faster and less expensive than conventional construction, two characteristics that are often unheard of in California’s housing industry. So, we’re looking into modular housing options for our investments. 

Workers are manufacturing a modular home.

Inside Factory_OS’ facility where workers are manufacturing a modular home. Image credit: Nancy Holliday.

As one example, we’ve been working with modular housing companies like Factory_OS. With our support, Factory_OS expects to double its production capacity by building a second factory, with a goal of creating tens of thousands affordable housing units over the next decade, including around 700 multi-family modular homes in Oakland and San Francisco by early 2021. 

Looking ahead

Over the last year, we’ve made progress proposing plans where residential units, offices, retail, and parks will coexist on our land. We’re working closely with elected officials and residents on proposals in Mountain View and have submitted our San José Downtown West mixed-use plan

We’ll continue working with our communities, local leaders, and elected officials like Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA 18th District) on solutions for the Bay Area. As she’s said, “We need an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to the homelessness and housing crises, particularly as COVID-19 continues to create long-term economic uncertainty and expose the dramatic inequities in our society. I look forward to continuing to work with Google to invest in our local communities and build a better future for our region.”

Header image credit: Affirmed Housing