Google Launches Effort to Help Nonprofits in Bay Area

Google asked Bay Area residents to vote to help the company choose the best nonprofit community projects in the area. Grants of up to $500,000 are up for grabs.

Google nonprofit community projects

Google is seeking online votes from San Francisco Bay Area residents to help select the four best projects by community nonprofit groups that will receive grant awards of $500,000 each. Six more local nonprofit groups will also be selected to each receive $250,000 grants under the program.

The awards are part of the Google Impact Challenge program, which was launched in March 2014 to seek worthwhile community projects in the Bay Area that could be helped by grants from Google.

"Local nonprofit heroes are making a difference in our community, and we want to do more to support them," wrote Jacquelline Fuller, director of, in a May 22 post on the Google Official Blog. "As part of that mission, we recently launched a Bay Area Impact Challenge with a question: Working together, what can we do to make the Bay Area an even better place to live?"

The range of proposed projects totaled almost 1,000 ideas, wrote Fuller, including ideas 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.

Five local community advisors—Aida Alvarez, the chairwoman of the Latino Community Foundation and the former administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration; Norman Mineta, a former mayor of San Jose and a former U.S. Secretary of Transportation; Teresa Deloach Reed, the fire chief of Oakland, Calif.; Rev. Cecil Williams, the founder and minister of liberation at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church; and Barry Zito, a Major League Baseball player and philanthropist—joined Google's Fuller to narrow the initial pool of entries down to the top 10 finalists, according to the post. "Each project was selected for its community impact, ingenuity, scalability and feasibility," according to the post.

Bay Area residents can now cast their votes for the projects they'd like to see funded by Google. Each participant is being asked to select their four choices from the top 10 finalists. Fifteen other projects from other nonprofit groups finished outside the top 10 but have received grants of $100,000 each in support of their work as part of the program.

Votes will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. PST on June 2.

The 10 Bay Area nonprofit group finalists are the Community Music Center, which spreads the joy of music to older adults; SubArt, which inspires subway riders with immersive public art; BUILD, which empowers high school kids through entrepreneurship; Bring Me a Book, which supports early childhood literacy through books and online community; and The Health Trust, which works to increase fresh food access for low-income families.

Also included in the finalists are Hack the Hood, which helps to jump-start tech careers for low-income youths; the Mission Asset Fund, which expands credit opportunities for hardworking families; Pogo Park, which revitalizes forgotten neighborhoods through play; Beyond 12, which coaches students to thrive in college and beyond; and the Center for Employment Opportunities, which provides jobs and support for formerly incarcerated people.

"The Impact Challenge invited nonprofits to share their bright ideas for a better Bay Area," the competition's Website states. "An impressive roster from fields like education, housing, youth engagement and more came to participate."