Google Announces Winners of Its Bay Area Impact Challenge

Four nonprofit groups in San Francisco have each won $500,000, plus support assistance from Google, as part of the company's Bay Area Impact Challenge.

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Spurred on by a competition organized by Google, San Francisco Bay Area residents chose the winners of four $500,000 grants that Google will now distribute to four local community nonprofit groups so they can fulfill imaginative projects.

Six other finalist groups each won $250,000 grants for their projects, while another 15 nonprofits previously received $100,000 each, according to a June 4 post by Jacquelline Fuller, the director of, on the Google Official Blog.

"Ten days ago, voting opened for Google's first Bay Area Impact Challenge, and now the tally is in," wrote Fuller. Residents were asked to cast online ballots to choose the winners of the competition. Some 191,504 votes were collected from May 22 through June 2, she wrote.

The winners of the $500,000 grants are Hack the Hood, which will address digital equity by training low-income youth to build Websites for local small businesses while gaining employment skills; the Center for Employment Opportunities, which will develop a tech platform to prepare formerly incarcerated people for employment in a digital world; The Health Trust, which will create new distribution channels for people to get affordable produce, expanding options for street vendors, corner stores and farmers' markets for underserved areas; and Bring Me A Book, which will work to give children access to digital books in multiple languages, while creating a supportive online community for parents and caregivers, according to Fuller.

In addition to the cash grants, each of the 25 winning Google Impact Challenge nonprofits will receive one year of accelerator support at Google's first-ever impact lab, which is a co-working space launched in partnership with Impact Hub SF, wrote Fuller. Impact Hub SF is a shared workspace for entrepreneurs committed to positive social and environmental change.

"Nonprofits will have access to networking events, meeting space, and development workshops in the Impact Hub SF, as well as membership to all U.S. Hub locations," she wrote. "We also plan to host community events for the Bay Area nonprofit community throughout the year—so check out our Website or follow us on Google+ to stay in the loop."

Google launched its Google Impact Challenge program in March 2014 to seek worthwhile community projects in the Bay Area that could be helped by grants from the company, according to an earlier eWEEK report.

Ideas for almost 1,000 of proposed projects came in for the Bay Area Impact Challenge, including for projects such as providing training and job opportunities for people with disabilities, matching surplus medical supplies with community clinics, and bringing mobile showers and toilets to the homeless.