Google Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: Better known as Google.org, the philanthropic arm of the company is an active global grantmaker, and tends to prioritize organizations that employ innovative approaches to solve some of the world’s most pressing development challenges.

IP TAKE: Like many corporate funders, this foundation can be hard for grantseekers to understand and approach. 

PROFILE: When Sheryl Sandberg helped establish Google’s philanthropic arm—better known simply as Google.org—she said she wanted the foundation to focus on the world’s most pressing challenges, specifically those related to climate change, global health, and global poverty. Google also supports projects that address education, inclusion and economic opportunity.

Google.org not only awards traditional grants, but also offers seed funding and impact investments. Its global giving program centers on its Global Impact Awards, which support global health and development organizations that “have a healthy disregard for the impossible.” In the past, Google.org has awarded them to projects that address access to clean water, securing land rights for the poor, direct cash transfers, microfinance, and job placement. Global Impact awardees have also done work related to women’s empowerment, human trafficking, and the exploitation of children for sexual purposes.

The foundation's Global Impact Challenge program, which changes its area of focus periodically, has in the past issued challenges to NGOs based in India, UK, France, Brazil, Japan, and the San Francisco Bay Area to come up with innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems as they relate to education, sustainable development, employment and housing.

In contrast, Google's Community Impact grants seek to enact change at the local level. In the past, its grantmaking has focused on the Bay area and London, among other places. 

As an aside, Google's corporate arm also offers Google for nonprofits, which offers nonprofits the technological tools necessary to fundraise, collaborate and tell stories more efficiently and effectively.

Open calls for Global Impact and Community Impact programs related proposals are advertised on an annual basis. Unfortunately, the foundation does not offer much information about securing a grant. Grantseekers are advised to contact someone at the foundation.

PEOPLE: 

  • Jacquelline Fuller, Director 
  • Falon Dominguez, Analyst and Grants Management
  • Nick Cain, Program Manager
  • Sasha Buscho, Program Manager

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