Google's Impact Challenge has now pledged to give away approximately $6.5 million since its launch in 2013. Starting in the UK, the Challenge travels to different regions and invites nonprofits to submit innovative proposals that use technology to address critical social issues.
In June, three winners from the UK were chosen from 10 finalists by a panel that included Jacquelline Fuller, head of Google Giving, and Sir Richard Branson. A project to provide solar lights for off-grid communities in Africa, an accountability tool that creates an open platform for citizens to report on development projects, and a program that teaches UK kids app development and creation were among the winners. A fourth project, providing digital eyes and ears for wildlife protection, was chosen by fans in an online vote. Each of the winners was awarded $750,000 to develop or scale his or her project.
The second Google Impact Challenge was held in India, with the finalists announced at the end of August. When the winners were announced at the end of October, however, the judges surprised the finalists by announcing that all 10 of them would be receiving a grant. While the top three organizations chosen by the judges and the fan favorite each received the equivalent of roughly $500,000 USD, the other six finalists were awarded prizes of approximately $250,000 each. Projects focused on such issues as water, sanitation, and waste collection, connecting citizens with government, gender-based violence, and education. "As judges we were all very inspired. We wished we'd had these ideas when we were younger. This way all of you can continue your efforts," said Nikesh Arora, Google's chief business officer and judge in the competition, after he told the finalists who had not received the top prizes that they would not be walking away empty-handed.
No word yet on where Google's Global Impact Challenge will be headed in 2014, but we can expect at least two more competitions. We'll let you know when they are announced.
For more on the challenge and the finalists, visit the Google Impact Challenge.