Our £800 million commitment to create more opportunity for everyone

Sundar Pichai, our CEO, recently announced a number of ways that Google is working to create more opportunity for everyone, including a 5-year goal to award £800 million in grants and to contribute 1 million employee volunteer hours.

A little girl standing up and speaking in front of a classroom.

This commitment builds on our work that we’ve been doing since 2005 to extend the reach of nonprofit innovators by connecting them with funding, tools and volunteers from Google. These innovators are the believers-turned-doers that have made a huge impact on their communities and have a vision for creating change at scale. For example, when Google.org first funded Khan Academy, it was a single person with a big idea: provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. With the help of our seed funding and ongoing support, Khan Academy now has over 59 million registered users, including 2 million registered teachers.

We’re now doubling down on this approach, directing £800 million in grants and contributing 1 million volunteer hours to nonprofits that use technology and innovation to tackle complex global challenges. Our efforts are focused in three areas where we believe we can make an impact: education, economic opportunity and inclusion.

A primary school boy and girl working together on a computer.

Closing the world’s education gap

What children learn today shapes the world that we live in tomorrow, but students in disadvantaged communities continue to lag behind their peers with access to better resources. This is particularly true for students in developing countries — at the current rate, it would take 100 years for students in these regions to catch up. To help bridge this gap, we’re supporting nonprofits that are building platforms to scale digital learning resources to everyone, everywhere.

Our initial £40 million commitment, announced earlier this year, is already showing progress. Our grantees are launching new learning platforms, building apps for self-directed learning, and creating new online lesson plans for teachers. With a grant from Google.org, Pratham Books has accelerated the development of StoryWeaver, an open-source platform that connects readers, authors, illustrators and translators to create free books for children around the world. With our support, the platform has expanded to offer books in over 100 languages and to celebrate International Literacy Day, Google launched an internal campaign to rally Google volunteers to translate 1,000 stories on StoryWeaver. We also recently deployed eight volunteer Googlers to work with our grantee Learning Equality in Guatemala to help develop their offline learning platform, Kolibri. This platform takes digital content like books, video tutorials and quizzes, and makes them available offline for students without regular access to the Internet. We’ve also committed £4 million of additional funding to UNHCR and Learning Equality to bring this platform to learners in refugee camps, community centres and schools in Jordan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

While technology alone will not improve education, students and teachers can thrive when they have access to the best tools and resources. That’s why we'll continue to support nonprofit innovators using technology to create new scalable education solutions as part of our £800 million commitment.

A man sitting at a computer, as a woman stands pointing at the screen delivering instructions.

Helping people prepare for the future of work

We know that economic mobility lies at the foundation of every productive society, but the nature of work is changing. By 2020, one third of jobs will require skills that aren’t commonly found in today’s workforce. To address this challenge, we’re funding organisations that are using technology and innovation to train people with new skills, connect job seekers with high-quality jobs, and support workers in low-wage employment.

Earlier this year, we committed £40 million to help people prepare for the changing nature of work. One of our initial grantees is Goodwill®, the leading workforce development organisation in the US With an £8 million grant and 1,000 Google volunteers, Goodwill will launch its Goodwill Digital Career AcceleratorSM — an innovative new initiative that will enable 1.2 million people across the US to learn and expand their digital skills and career opportunities. In Germany, Turkey and Jordan, we’re supporting Kiron to bring digital skills trainings to refugees through a combination of online study and partnerships with local universities. And in France, we’re funding Bayes Impact to improve and scale their open-source software that uses big data and machine learning to generate personalised job search recommendations, so that people can find quality jobs that match their skills.

All of these organisations are leveraging technology to positively shape the future of work and we’re eager to support more nonprofit innovators that are making work a fair, satisfying and viable pathway to prosperity for everyone.

A group of people outdoors, taking photos of a memorial plaque that reads 'The Lynching of Anthony Crawford'.

Using data science and innovative new approaches to advance inclusion and justice for all

Without a fundamental commitment to inclusion – the idea that everyone should have an equal opportunity to participate and thrive in society – the dream of equal education and access to economic opportunity for all will never be realised. Bias can lead to the exclusion of marginalised groups, including ethnic and religious minorities and the LGBTQ+ community. As an information company, we’ve seen the power of data and technology to empower people and bridge gaps in understanding.

That’s why, since 2015, we’ve granted more than £32 million to nonprofits that are finding innovative ways to challenge bias and prejudice, and build a more equitable and just society for all. Our recent work to support the Equal Justice Initiative, for example, digitised their groundbreaking data on the history of racial violence in America, and helped draw attention to the continued impact of lynching in America today. We also recently gave £800,000 to support the LGBT Centre’s efforts to create an interactive augmented reality experience at the Stonewall National Monument in New York. In the UK, we provided a grant to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, our first grant from a global £4 million innovation fund, to support new ideas in countering hate and extremism, both online and offline.

Through knowledge and transparency projects like these, our grantees are working to build a more just and equitable world. We’re excited to continue to support them by amplifying their voices and accelerating their efforts to build equal access to opportunity for all.

By bringing our funding, tools and employee know-how to support nonprofits focusing on these critical issues, we hope to propel the work of these organisations forward, and help create a world with opportunity for everyone.