Fostering a love for reading among Indonesian kids

Siti Arofa teaches a first grade class at SD Negeri Sidorukan in Gresik, East Java. Many of her students start the school year without foundational reading skills or even an awareness of how fun books can be. But she noticed that whenever she read out loud using different expressions and voices, the kids would sit up and their faces would light up with excitement. One 6-year-old student, Keyla, loves repeating the stories with a full imitation of Siti’s expressions. Developing this love for stories and storytelling has helped Keyla and her classmates improve their reading and speaking skills. She’s just one child. Imagine the impact that the availability of books and skilled teachers can have on generations of schoolchildren.

In Indonesia today, it’s estimated that for every 100 children who enter school, only 25 exit meeting minimum international standards of literacy and numeracy. This poses a range of challenges for a relatively young country, where nearly one-third of the population—or approximately 90 million people—are below the age of 15.  

To help foster a habit of reading, Google.org, as part of its $50M commitment to close global learning gaps, is supporting Inibudi, Room to Read and Taman Bacaan Pelangi, to reach 200,000 children across Indonesia.

We’ve consistently heard from Indonesian educators and nonprofits that there’s a need for more high-quality storybooks. With $2.5 million in grants, the nonprofits will create a free digital library of children’s stories that anyone can contribute to. Many Googlers based in our Jakarta office have already volunteered their time to translate existing children’s stories into Bahasa Indonesia to increase the diversity of reading resources that will live on this digital platform.

The nonprofits will develop teaching materials and carry out teacher training in eastern Indonesia to enhance teaching methods that improve literacy, and they’ll also help Indonesian authors and illustrators to create more engaging books for children.   

Through our support of this work, we hope we can inspire a lifelong love of reading for many more students like Keyla.

Photo credit: Room to Read


Wrapping up a year of impact with holiday giving

The holidays are a time for celebrating family and community, and it’s my favorite time at Google because Googlers give back to those who need it most.

Through Google.org grants and the generosity of Googlers, we set new giving records in 2017, bringing more resources to nonprofits, and more opportunities for Googlers to volunteer their time and expertise. In total this year, Google and Googlers donated more than $260 million to nonprofits. Our giving was centered our three core areas—education, economic opportunity and inclusion—and we provided opportunities for Googlers and the public to support disaster relief campaigns to help victims of hurricanes, fires, floods and other crises.

Holiday Giving and Giving Week

One of the main ways we give back during the holidays is through Giving Week, our annual global campaign where Googlers sign up to personally match donations their peers make. In just one week, Googlers pledged, and Google matched over $20 million for 1,000+ organizations around the world. The organizations that topped the list this year include the ACLU, Second Harvest Food Bank, GiveDirectly, and Doctors Without Borders.

In addition, this year we set up a $30 million holiday fund to support over 35 nonprofits around the world. We asked Googlers to help us direct these funds to a core group of organizations, from all regions and across a range of issue areas, including Pratham Books, an organization that addresses education gaps in India, and the International Rescue Committee, which helps people in crisis.

giving_org_1.jpg

Google Gift Match & Crisis Response

Year round, Google.org matches up to $6,000 in employee donations to nonprofits of their choice. Through this program, Googlers and Google have given nearly $97 million—including over $20M to crisis relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Florida, Houston, South Asia, and more. Googlers are also generous with their time, especially during crises—this year Googlers went to Puerto Rico to work with our grantee NetHope to help restore connectivity in areas affected by the hurricane.

giving_org_2.jpg

Google.org & Google volunteers

Together, our people, products, and philanthropy create opportunity for everyone. We pledged $1 billion in Google.org grants over five years to nonprofits around the world, and 1 million hours that Googlers can volunteer to nonprofits. This year alone, we supported nonprofits with $120 million in grants. In addition, Googlers volunteered over 220,000 hours of their time and expertise.

giving_org_3.jpg

I’m proud of our impact this year, and the Googlers who made it possible. Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday.

All things are possible: Grow with Google and Google.org Impact Challenge come to OKC

As an Oklahoman, it’s exciting to work for a company like Google in Oklahoma City—a community I’m proud to call home and that has given me every opportunity in life to succeed. The homesteader Angelo Scott said our city’s spirit has “an attitude that all things are possible if people are willing to take a chance and embrace the future without hesitation or reservation.” As Oklahoma City has developed a diverse economic base as a center for energy, healthcare, aerospace and technology, its spirit remains evident.

Many Oklahoma City businesses are using technology to grow, reach new customers, and adapt to changing markets. For example, Langston’s Western Wear, a century-old family business, found new momentum when it put its products on the web. Now, online sales account for more than 25 percent of their overall business. Watch their story:


Teaming up with SocialWorks to bring computer science to Chicago Public Schools

Today, 5th grade students at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Academy in Chicago got a surprise. It was cool enough that they were doing a coding activity with Chicago Googlers as a part of Computer Science Education Week—but then another Chicago native joined the fun. When Chance The Rapper arrived, there were shouts of excitement and delight, and Chance even gave coding a try.

SocialWorks, a non profit co-founded by Chance, is on a mission to expose youth across the city to programming and to ensure they have the support necessary to reach their full potential—with access to arts, music, and coding as a means to express themselves.  

Today’s visit reinforced that computer science is a part of that mission. Shortly after Chance made his coding debut, Alphabet Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, David Drummond, announced that Google.org is donating $1.5 million to to bring computer science education to students in Chicago, with $500,000 going to Chicago Public Schools’ CS4All Initiative and $1 million to SocialWorks.

The grant will help teachers implement computer science and arts curriculum in their classrooms, and it builds on $40 million in Google.org grants that provide opportunities for students underrepresented in computer science to explore the field.

Justin Cunningham, Executive Director of SocialWorks, had this to say about today’s announcement: “Our grant with Google.org helps SocialWorks provide programming that sheds light on another pathway to success for young Chicagoans. While every student doesn’t need to become a computer scientist, understanding the basics empowers them to understand the world they live in. The opportunity to help kids code to share their music, artwork, and distinct point of view is at the core of our mission and an experience we look forward to providing in classrooms across the city.”  

Justin Steele, Google.org Principal who leads our work in local communities, also weighed in: “We’re honored to support SocialWorks’ mission to help underrepresented students in Chicago reach their full potential, as well as Chicago Public Schools’ efforts to turn computer science into a pathway for creative expression. There’s so much talent and creativity in the communities that these schools serve—and Chance The Rapper embodies what can happen when that creativity is unleashed. With exposure to computer science, students can use technology to turn their creative passions into something bigger.”

I’ve built my own career around computer science. At Google I helped create CS First, video-based lessons that introduce students to computer science and show them coding is a tool that, in the words of the SocialWorks mission, “lets you be you.” As a kid raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands, I didn’t know that I’d one day graduate with a computer science degree and end up at Google. All I knew was that I was fascinated by gadgets, which one day led to learning about the software that made them work on the inside. With the support of Google and SocialWorks, students in Chicago can also find out how their interests are connected to computer science, so that they can use those skills to build the future they imagine.

These kids will always remember the day they met Chance The Rapper. We hope they’ll remember it as the day they discovered an interest in coding, too.

Two years of Google.org grants for racial justice

For many years, bold leaders across the U.S. have been using technology to foster a national dialogue on systemic inequity. Through painful moments like the Charleston church shooting, Googlers, like many others, asked what we could do to advance a more inclusive society. Two years ago, alongside our Black Googler Network and its allies, Google.org started a formal grant portfolio to advance racial and social justice in the United States.

In the spirit of understanding and getting closer to these complex issues, we began funding nonprofits fighting for racial justice in the California Bay Area—home to Google and many deep-rooted justice movements. In 2016, we doubled down on our commitment by supporting national organizations using data science and research to measure disparities in our system of mass incarceration. And today, we’re building on this commitment with another $7.5 million in grants to organizations advancing reform in our justice system, bringing our support to $32 million total.

Through these latest grants, we continue to support data and research demonstrating the impact of mass incarceration. Last month, we supported LatinoJustice with a $1 million grant to improve the quality of Latinx criminal justice data and shape the narrative and storytelling on the impact of mass incarceration in Latinx communities. And today we’re providing a $4 million grant to the Vera Institute of Justice to help them build an authoritative data set that will allow researchers to measure the true economic impact of incarceration rates in rural areas.

Vera Institute: In Our Backyards

Vera Institute: In Our Backyards

Many of our initial grantees are focused on data gathering, research and analysis. We’re now also investing in organizations working on systemic solutions. For example, we’re supporting the Leadership Conference Education Fund with a $2 million grant to bolster their effort to help more law enforcement jurisdictions work with community groups, who are a critical partner in policing. The Leadership Conference has a well-known track record in this area, and they will help establish best practices that lead to more constitutional policing, less crime, and more trust and accountability. Our $500,000 grant to the R Street Institute’s Justice for Work Coalition will support their efforts aimed to bring bipartisan support for criminal justice reform and to reduce barriers to employment following incarceration.

We’ll also continue to multiply the impact of our grants with skills-based volunteer support from Googlers. Just last month, 10 Google software engineers and data scientists volunteered with Google.org grantee the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) on a full-time basis for six weeks in New York. These 10 Googlers helped build and improve CPE’s National Justice Database, the nation’s first-ever database tracking national statistics on policing. They also built software, audited tools, and improved automation efforts to help CPE better process and analyze the reports they send to partner police departments.

A Googler working with the Center for Policing Equity rides along with an officer to understand community-informed policing
Googler Austin Swift, a lead on the CPE Impact Immersion, rides along with an officer to understand his efforts to implement community-informed policing.

This isn’t the only time we’ve teamed up Googler volunteers with grantees. Earlier this year, we helped the Equal Justice Initiative launch Lynching in America, an interactive site that explores this difficult time in U.S. history. More than 200 Googlers have volunteered in grantee Defy Ventures‘ prison and post-release programs for aspiring business owners, known as Entrepreneurs-in-Training. Working with Defy, Googlers have hosted small business training courses on digital marketing, digital skills and public speaking.

In the year ahead, Google will continue to stand in solidarity with the fight for racial justice. We believe in a justice system based on equity for all, informed by data and supported by community-based solutions. We’re proud to support organizations tackling this complex and worthy challenge.

Investing £1 million in training for computing teachers in the U.K.

Advancing our students’ understanding of the principles and practices of computing is critical to developing a competitive workforce for the 21st century.

In every field, businesses of all sizes are looking to hire people who understand computing, so we need more students to leave school confident in skills like coding, computational thinking, machine learning and cybersecurity.

The U.K. has already led the way in preparing for this future by making computer science education a part of the school curriculum in 2014. But we know there is more to do to ensure young people in every community have access to world-class computer science education.

A recent report from the Royal Society found that despite the good progress in recent years, only 11 percent of Key Stage 4 pupils take GCSE computer science. The majority of teachers are teaching an unfamiliar school subject without adequate support. These teachers are eager to offer computer science to their students but they need access to subject area training to build their confidence.

The U.K. government’s announcement that they’re investing £100 million for an additional 8,000 computer science teachers supported by a new National Centre for Computing is an encouraging step forward. It builds on the progress that’s been made since computing was added to the curriculum in 2014 by helping to ensure teachers have the specialist training and support they need to educate the next generation of British computer scientists.

We want to continue to play our part too.

Today we’re announcing £1 million in grants to support training for secondary school computing teachers in the U.K.

The Google.org grant will allow the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the British Computer Society and the National STEM Learning Centre to deliver free computer science and pedagogy training for thousands of key stage 3 and key stage 4 teachers in England over three years, with a specific focus on disadvantaged areas.

A Raspberry Pi and Google teacher training workshop in Leeds, UK
A Raspberry Pi and Google teacher training workshop in Leeds, U.K.

Through this effort, they will make make online courses and professional development resources available to teachers anywhere, anytime, for free, and deliver free in-person workshops for teachers across the country.

Googlers care deeply about helping to develop our future computer scientists, and many of them will give their time and skills to this program. A team of Google engineers and learning and development specialists will volunteer with Raspberry Pi to ensure that all teachers are able to access the online resources and courses.

This grant is part of Google’s long-standing commitment to computer science education. Through Google.org, we’ve given nearly $40 million to organizations around the globe ensuring that traditionally underrepresented students have access to opportunities to explore computer science.

In the U.K., we also support teacher recruitment and professional development by teaming up with organizations like Teach First and University of Wolverhampton, and we focus on inspiring more children, especially girls and those from disadvantaged areas, to take up computing through Code Club UK after-school clubs.

CS education and computational thinking skills are key to the future, and we’re committed to supporting Raspberry Pi—and other organizations like them—to ensure teachers and young people have the skills they’ll need to succeed.

Supporting those affected by the California fires

Fueled by high winds, fast-moving wildfires in the California wine country and the Anaheim Hills have spread quickly—killing dozens, damaging tens of thousands of acres, destroying infrastructure, forcing evacuations, and leaving hundreds of people unaccounted for.

Like many people in the Bay Area, my first news of the North Bay fires was the smell of smoke Monday morning. My thoughts immediately turned to my family and childhood home in Santa Rosa. My family was safe, but I raced up to Petaluma to see how I could help. In addition to needed resources on the ground, I saw how centralized information can be crucial to help people find shelter and other resources.

SOS Alerts and Fire Information

On Monday, the Crisis Response team launched an SOS Alert—a set of features in Google Search and Maps that helps you quickly understand what’s going on and decide what to do during a crisis. After launching the Alert, the Crisis Response team created a Crisis Map with shelter locations, vacancy status, pet accommodations and shelter needs, crowdsourced via waze.com, local volunteers, and Googlers such as myself. The map has been updated to include recent satellite imagery for the North Bay area as well.

alerts

In addition to these map-based resources, the team has pushed out air-quality resources via Google Feed, with information from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and American Lung association.

ca fires

$1 million for fire relief and recovery

To help with the relief and recovery in California, Google.org and Googlers are committing $1 million in donations to organizations that are providing critical resources in the affected regions. To support immediate needs, we’re distributing funds to the Redwood Empire Food Bank and the Red Cross. We’re also supporting the Napa Valley Community Foundation, the Community Foundation Sonoma County, and the Latino Community Foundation, which are coordinating the longer-term fire recovery initiatives.

Google.org will support these organizations and others to identify ways Google volunteers can bring value to the affected areas. Right now, we’re in discussions with the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center and have sent a team of technical Googler volunteers to assess the connectivity needs of first responders and evacuees.

Efforts on the ground

Google Express is also providing in-kind donations of ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods to benefit the Redwood Empire Food Bank. And Google’s food team will partner with Off the Grid to provide more than 25,000 meals via food trucks to Napa and Sonoma County shelters over the next month.

My hometown of Santa Rosa is one of many that has been devastated, and the fires are still active in Northern California and the Anaheim Hills. As the situation progresses, Google will continue to update the Crisis Map and SOS alerts to help deliver the most up-to-date information available. My thoughts are with the North Bay community and others that have been impacted by recent natural disasters around the world.

Opportunity for everyone

Editor’s note: Today in Pittsburgh, PA, we announced three initiatives that expand on our efforts to create more opportunity for everyone: Grow with Google, a new initiative to help Americans with the skills they need to get a job or grow their business, $1 billion in Google.org grants over five years to nonprofits around the world, and 1 million hours that Googlers can volunteer to nonprofits. This is a modified version of the remarks our CEO Sundar Pichai gave at today’s event.

To me Pittsburgh is a special place. It was the first city I saw in America when I came here 24 years ago. It was the first time I left India. In fact, it was the first time I’d been inside a plane. My aunt and uncle have lived here for over 30 years and were kind enough to let me stay with them for a few days. My aunt took me to see my first mall in the U.S. I remember riding up and the down the hills of the city, feeling a little carsick. It’s pretty hilly down here.  We even went on a road trip to see the Niagara Falls, but what I really remember was when my uncle pointed out a Cadillac on the road. I had only seen Cadillacs in movies before, and that was pretty amazing to see.

When people talked about Pittsburgh, they typically talked about the pioneers of the industrial revolution and steel. But to me, Pittsburgh was about an amazing university, Carnegie Mellon, and its great computer science department. I was here before the Internet really took off, but the city was already changing. The number of high-tech jobs had doubled.  And the pace of change has never slowed since. As a new arrival, I was homesick but struck by something new: the sense of optimism.

I remain a technology optimist. Not because I believe in technology, but because I believe in people.

At Google, our mission is to make sure that information serves everyone, not just a few. A child in a school here in Pittsburgh can access the same information on Google as a professor at Carnegie Mellon. In the end, the Internet is a powerful equalizer, capable of propelling new ideas and people forward.

It means that people like Nisha Blackwell can use Google’s tools to bounce back from being laid off from a coffee shop. And to do it not by looking for work, but by pursuing their passions; to become entrepreneurs. She learned how to sew and make bow ties on YouTube. She attended a Google-sponsored program aimed at urban entrepreneurs that inspired her to start Knotzland, a handcrafted bowtie company that she runs out of the Homewood neighborhood. Nisha is here with us today and we’re humbled by the impact she’s had on her community.

Nisha Blackwell: Self-taught CEO

Nisha Blackwell: Self-taught CEO

Nisha learned how to sew and make bow ties on YouTube. Now she runs Knotzland, a handcrafted bow tie company.

We also think better access to information can revitalize local and family businesses in today’s economy. A fire and the financial crisis of 2008 forced Scott Baker’s family baking business that had been around since 1875 into bankruptcy. He rebuilt his family’s heritage on a new digital foundation: He restarted the business as 5 Generation Bakers and uses Google’s tools to reach consumers across the northeast. The Jenny Lee swirl bread that’s been his family’s trademark is still available to buy, marketed in an entirely new way. Scott, we’re glad to have you with us today, and I look forward to having some swirl bread later.

5 Generation Bakers: Remaking a legacy

5 Generation Bakers: Remaking a legacy

Scott Baker rebuilt his family’s baking heritage on a new digital foundation.

Nisha and Scott’s stories are inspiring, but they’re also inspiringly normal. These kinds of transformations happen across the city, across the state, across the nation, every day. In Pennsylvania, about 58,000 businesses and nonprofits use our search and advertising tools to grow. We estimate last year that those tools helped generate economic activity of about $6.32 billion in this state alone. And when you look across the nation that impact rises to at least $222 billion. And that’s because they’re built for everyone.

We think the Internet should allow everyone to become a developer, entrepreneur or creator, and we build our platforms around that. Researchers estimate that Android supported about 1.3 million developer jobs in the U.S. in 2016. Last year in the U.S., we paid out $13.5 billion to a range of distribution and content partners. That includes news publishers, developers and all those YouTube creators.

We’re always asking how we can make sure the opportunities created by new technology are available for everyone, in any city, in any state.

In asking that, we recognize that there are large gaps in opportunity across the U.S.  

These are tough gaps. For instance, the nature of work is fundamentally changing. And that is shifting the link between education, training and opportunity. Young people already feel this. An Economist survey found that less than half of 18- to 25-year-olds believe their education gives them the skills they need to enter today’s workforce. That’s a significant gap that’s only going to become more urgent. One-third of jobs in 2020 will require skills that aren’t common today.

It’s a big problem and, at Google, whenever we see a big problem, we ask how we can make it easier for everyone to solve it.

We’ve been looking at our products for new opportunities to help people navigate this new terrain. We recently used machine learning to find a new way to search for job postings that cluster jobs by location, sector and industry. And it works. Since launching earlier this year, we have connected tens of millions of people to new job opportunities. The number of job postings appearing on Google Search in Pittsburgh has increased six-fold.

We’ve also been looking outside of Google for fresh approaches. Since 2005, 1 percent of our profits have gone to finding innovative nonprofits and helping them expand with funding, tools, and volunteers from around Google. Just in the past few months, we’ve committed $100 million to nonprofits tackling gaps in the labor market and in education. Today, we’re committing a further $20 million to organizations including UNHCR, Learning Equality, and Room to Read.

We’re seeing how hard educational gaps can be overcome. We’ve already brought down the price of schoolroom tech through Google for Education and over 70 million teachers and students worldwide use our free education products.

But technology alone isn’t enough, and even with tech, some schools are struggling. The Dynamic Learning Project makes sure that teachers have the coaching they need to get the most out of whatever tech resources they have. We’re working on this in 50 underserved schools, and 11 of them are in Allegheny County. I’ll be visiting one later today.

That’s one example among many. As we looked across all our programs, we saw three ways to greatly enhance opportunity for everyone. And we’re announcing them today.

  • We’re launching Grow with Google, a new initiative to help Americans with the skills they need to get a job or grow their business.

  • Globally, we will provide $1 billion in grants over the next five years to nonprofits working on three key areas that we think will boost opportunity.  

  • Finally, Googlers can volunteer 1 million hours to help these front-line organizations.

First, Grow with Google is there to give anyone in America the tools and training they need to get a job, for free. We understand there’s uncertainty and even concern about the pace of technological change. But we know that technology will be an engine of America’s growth for years to come.

We’ve launched an online hub—google.com/grow—where job seekers, teachers, local business owners, and developers can get significant training and professional certificates.

So if you’re looking to learn or teach the skills that employers value, look up Applied Digital Skills. We’ve been workshopping this with 27,000 students at middle and high schools. It teaches you the basics of working with tech in the modern world: from spreadsheets to email. It’s now available to everyone, and we’re looking to expand it to community colleges and vocational programs. We’re also launching a G Suite certification that will allow people to prove their proficiency in essential workplace tools.  

For people who want to get closer to tech, we’re also putting together programs to make IT far more accessible as a career. In January we’ll launch a first-of-its-kind program in IT support that we developed on Coursera. The IT Support Professional Certificate includes hands-on labs to take learners to job readiness in eight to 12 months. We will sponsor 2,600 full scholarships through non-profit organizations; 100 of them will go to an organization here in Pittsburgh, Partner4Work. To ensure these courses directly translate into jobs, we’re connecting graduates with potential employers including Bank of America, L’Oreal, PNC Bank, and, of course, Google.

And for people who want to build tech directly, I can’t think of a better start than becoming a developer. We’re launching the Google Developer Scholarship Challenge, a rigorous training program, free of charge. This is a partnership with Udacity to offer 50,000 scholarship opportunities for people who want to build things on the web and Android.

All these programs are available wherever you have an Internet connection. But we also recognize that there’s no substitute for meeting people when you’re looking to switch careers or move your life into new territory.

So we’re launching a Grow with Google tour. Googlers will team up with libraries and community organizations across the country to host these events. We’ll provide career advice and training for people and businesses, including helping small businesses get online. Our first stop is Pittsburgh. The next stop will be Indianapolis, another fast-growing city for technology jobs.

  • A023C003_160125CK.00_00_00_19.Still020.jpg
    Students at Langley K-8 School in Pittsburgh, PA use Chromebooks as a part of a science experiment. The Dynamic Learning Project is a pilot program that provides coaching for teachers on integrating technology into their classrooms in meaningful ways.
  • 20170508_Google_For-Education_WhitneyTressel_0757.JPG
    Applied Digital Skills is an online curriculum that uses project-based learning to teach collaborative digital skills—like using spreadsheets and building websites—that will be useful in an evolving job market. Around 27,000 people have already used the curriculum, and now it’s available to everyone.
  • gwg site 3
    The new Grow with Google site offers free trainings, tools, and events to help you grow your skills, career or business. We’re also going on a tour across the U.S.,partnering with local libraries, community organizations and workforce development boards to provide free in-person training, demos, coaching and more.
  • GWG carousel
    As part of the Grow with Google initiative, we’re introducing a developer scholarship challenge in partnership with Udacity to offer 50,000 opportunities for current and aspiring web and Android developers to earn full nanodegree scholarships; as well as a program in IT support that we developed with Coursera that takes beginner learners to entry-level job readiness in about 8-12 months (coming in January).

I’m optimistic about the impact that these programs will have. But as I said before, we’re looking for a bigger change. That requires a deeper partnership with the people working on these gaps around the world.

And that’s why we’re committing to give $1 billion to front-line organizations addressing these challenges over five years.

Google.org will use its philanthropic expertise to fund organizations working in three areas: closing the world’s education gap, helping people prepare for the changing nature of work, and ensuring that no one is excluded from opportunity.

I already spoke of some grants in these areas. Today, we’re announcing $10 million in support of Goodwill, the United States’ largest workforce development nonprofit, to launch the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator. It is the largest grant Google.org has ever given to a single organization.

Goodwill’s mission to train

Goodwill’s mission to train

We’re announcing $10 million in support of Goodwill—the largest grant Google.org has ever given to a single organization.

Goodwill has phenomenal reach. Over 80 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of its centers. And it has a long record of helping people who despaired of ever getting work again. With our support, it will be able to offer 1.2 million people digital skills and career opportunities in all 156 Goodwills across every state over the next three years. We also have an open invitation to nonprofits to submit their ideas to address economic opportunity in Pittsburgh to the Pittsburgh Impact Challenge; the winners will get funds and mentoring from Google.

We hope these nonprofits will find these funds transformative.

We’ve always believed that to truly help organizations, you have to offer your time along with your philanthropy.

Googlers are committing 1 million employee volunteer hours over five years to help organizations working on the front lines of these issues. The volunteering can take many forms. Sometimes, it’s just showing up to help set up an event. Sometimes, we take a close look at technical issues nonprofits might be having and help them innovate more quickly. Googlers staffed a 4-H booth at the Illinois State Fair aimed at getting kids excited about science and tech.

In the case of Goodwill, 1,000 Googlers plan to be available to do career coaching over the next three years. Tech can seem intimidating. But we’ve found that having role models and people right in front of you can make the journey seem much easier.  We think our philanthropy has to be paired with our people to be effective. We hope that 1 million hours can help make a difference.

At the end of the day, we make the most progress by working together. What you here in Pittsburgh and what people across America do with our tools and resources is what counts. We don’t have all the answers. The people closest to the problem are usually the people closest to the solution. We want to help them reach it sooner.

I said earlier how Pittsburgh amazed me when I first arrived here. And I feel that more than ever today. I’m excited to see all the ways the people of this city will build a future that works for them, and for everyone.

Providing support to those affected by Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria recently made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane, killing at least 10 people and leaving much of the island without power or water. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, millions more are looking to rebuild—the storm destroyed the island of Dominica, killing at least 15 people, and devastated the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos.

I was born and raised outside of San Juan, in a town called Cupey, and left the island to study in the States. Today, I still have family there, as well as in Barranquitas, towards the center of the island. The roof broke off my grandmother’s terrace, a place filled with many memories of family gatherings growing up. My uncles, who are agricultural entrepreneurs in Barranquitas, were able to visit their land just yesterday and see the damage caused to their crops, completely turning their business upside down. I’m lucky that my family members are all safe, but the damage will still take years to repair.

To help with the relief and recovery in Puerto Rico and beyond, Google.org and Googlers are committing $1 million in donations to organizations that are providing critical resources to the affected regions. To support immediate humanitarian needs, we’re distributing funds to organizations including the Red Cross, World Food Program, and UNICEF. We’re also supporting NetHope, which provides Internet access in the wake of natural disasters around the world, because connectivity can be a critical link in providing basic needs like food, water and medical care. This month has taxed the resources of first responder agencies across the region, and we want to make sure nonprofits like NetHope have the resources they need to respond to Hurricane Maria. We’ve also had a small team of engineers volunteer in the wake of recent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, to help restore connectivity by setting up hot-spots and assisting with other technical needs that local nonprofits and shelters may have. We’re working with NetHope to find ways that our technical volunteers can be most helpful in Puerto Rico as well.

Crisis Response and SOS Alerts

In times of crises, having access to timely safety information can be critical. Ahead of the storm, Google’s Crisis Response team launched SOS Alerts for Hurricane Maria. Although few people have connectivity in the storm’s wake, we’ve continued to update the alert with information on power outages, emergency information contacts, the damage to the Guajataca dam, and crisis maps in both English and Spanish. Those outside of the region can also find the latest news and information, as well as an easy way to donate to relief efforts, directly through Search.

As the 2017 hurricane season has pummeled the U.S. and the Caribbean, Google.org, Google employees and the public have collectively donated $7 million for relief efforts in the areas affected by Harvey, Irma and Maria. My thoughts are with everyone in Puerto Rico and other affected areas, and it gives me solace to know that my colleagues and company are doing everything they can to help.

Andra Day sings “Strange Fruit” in support of Google.org grantee Equal Justice Initiative

Music has the power to ignite change—to encourage introspection and galvanize people.

Earlier this year Google.org grantee the Equal Justice Initiative launched the Lynching in America digital experience. This platform, built with support from Google, brings together the Equal Justice Initiative’s data and research on the 4,000+ victims of lynchings with the oral histories of families who still suffer the legacy of lynching today.

This week, Grammy-nominated artist Andra Day released a new cover of the anti-lynching protest song “Strange Fruit,” originally sung by Billie Holiday in 1939. Andra’s cover—recorded to raise awareness for the Lynching in America project—encourages us to take an honest look at this painful period in American history.

Our struggle does not stop. It simply continues. Black history does not repeat itself. It evolves.

Andra Day

Since EJI launched the Lynching in America platform earlier this summer, the oral histories and site content have been viewed more than 35 million times. We’re proud to help EJI make this data and research more broadly accessible, and to support their efforts to memorialize the more than 4,000 victims of lynching and racial terror.

Tomorrow, Andra will perform “Strange Fruit” at the Global Citizen Festival, the annual concert in Central Park promoting freedom and justice for all. Tune into the live stream to watch her performance and  join us in supporting EJI in their movement for truth and reconciliation in America.

Hector Mujica on “showing grace to those in the margins” and his social impact work at Google

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re celebrating the fascinating stories and important contributions of our Hispanic Googlers—their histories, their families, and what keeps them busy inside and outside of work. 

hm
Any Venezuelan football fans out there? Here I am showing some love for “Vino Tinto.”

Next up is Hector Mujica, social justice champion, enthusiast of the outdoors, and self-proclaimed acronym inventor (SPAI).

Give us the 10-second, one-sentence version of what you do at Google.

I work on Google.org, Google’s philanthropy team, where I manage our programs across Latin America, and support our disaster relief giving and volunteering work globally.

When did you (or generations before you) immigrate to the U.S.?

My family immigrated to the U.S. from Venezuela when I was a young child, after my dad landed a job at Oracle in Miami. Of all the places to start in America, South Florida must be one of the best—with the rich cultural diversity and ample Latin food, it made the transition smooth, and kept me close to my Hispanic heritage.

How are you involved in the Hispanic community at Google, and why is it important to you?

I worked closely on the founding of HOLA, our Hispanic employee resource group (ERG). Through HOLA, I’ve gotten to meet many of our Latino Googlers over the years—all of whom continue to amaze me with their stories, talents, and passions to make this company, and the world, a better, more equitable place. The Hispanic community is vital to Google because it brings in people who might otherwise feel like cultural strangers and tells them, “come as you are—you belong.”

The Hispanic community is vital to Google because it brings in people who might otherwise feel like cultural strangers and tells them, “come as you are—you belong.”

How did you find your way to Google? Have you always pictured yourself working here?

I actually never had ambitions to work in tech or at Google. While in my junior year of undergrad at Florida International University, I looked for internships around the country, and was intrigued by working at company that was breaking all the established norms in corporate America. I applied to Google’s BOLD internship program, thinking it was a long shot, and after a few interviews, I found myself living out the coldest summer of my life in San Francisco, interning at Google on the People Operations team. I fell in love with Northern California and Google, and anxiously awaited the opportunities that lay ahead.

40279_10150238167060245_4366738_n.jpg
Day one of my BOLD internship at Google in 2010, before I learned that dress shirts and ties are not part of the dress code at Google.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

My dad’s hustle, grit, passion and optimism have taught me much about life and the world. As a first-generation immigrant, he taught me about risk-taking and tenacity. As a man of faith, he’s taught me about unapologetically straying true to my convictions. As a family man, he’s been a caretaker and steward of not only his nuclear family, but—like a good Latino—his extended family as well. He’s always balanced family life with the needs of the community. Whether it meant taking immigrant families into our home while they got on their feet, working with the homeless to help them rehabilitate, or volunteering to feed the needy at nearby shelters, my dad never turned down a chance show grace to those in the margins. These experiences shaped my worldview and gave me sense of social justice and altruism, which continues to influence the work I do today at Google.org.

Kilimanjaro.jpg
Sunrise on top of the world, at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Climbing mountains is tough, but the summit is always worth it.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

Outdoors. Or traveling to experience the outdoors in the rest of the world. I’ve always been in awe of nature. Oceans and mountains both scare me and inspire me. Whenever I have a chance to see the natural world from a new angle, I usually take it. That wanderlust has taken me to nearly every continent (Antarctica, I’m coming for you!), 51 countries, and from the deepest depths (I’m a scuba diver) to some of the highest highs (just did Kilimanjaro last year!).

What career advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Invest wisely in people and moments. The networks of people around you will help shape your perspectives, career and open doors to new opportunities … and when these opportunities present themselves, capitalize on the moments. They will teach you more than any classroom can.

What has been a big moment for you at Google?

I’ve had many Google “magic moments,” but the one that comes to mind was Googlers’ collective reaction to the travel ban earlier this year. Within days of the ban, Googlers organized a demonstration and showed up in full force, with messages of encouragement and enthusiasm during grim times. My team and I assembled a $4 million crisis fund to support key organizations that were leading the way in fighting injustice and intolerance. This moment reinforced in me the power of unity and comradery at Google, and within immigrant communities, who bring their best selves to this great country of ours.

As a Venezuelan-American that has benefited from ample opportunity, I am compelled to give back to my community. That’s why I’m so thankful of the opportunity I have at Google.org to invest in a better, most just, and more equitable world, for everyone.

  • Extended Family.jpg
    “La familia lo es todo.” Here is most of my extended family, who never misses a chance to get together and build new memories.
  • DSC_0120.jpg
    Volunteering with my teammates during GoogleServe 2016, our annual month of service at Google.
  • 16422771_10107484261002770_823508372964323153_o.jpg

    Participating in demonstration with my team, who showed up in full force to support our immigrant communities and colleagues earlier this year.

Supporting new ideas in the fight against hate

Addressing the threat posed by violence and hate is a critical challenge for us all. Google has taken steps to tackle violent extremist content online—putting our best talent and technology to the task, and partnering with law enforcement agencies, civil society groups, and the wider technology industry. We can’t do it alone, but we’re making progress.

Our efforts to disrupt terrorists’ ability to use the Internet focus on three areas: leveraging technology, conducting and sharing research, and sharing best practices and encouraging affirmative efforts against dangerous radicalization. Today we’re announcing a new effort to build on that third pillar. Over the last year we’ve made $2 million in grants to nonprofits around the world seeking to empower and amplify counter-extremist voices. Today we’re expanding that effort and launching a $5 million Google.org innovation fund to counter hate and extremism. Over the next two years, this funding will support technology-driven solutions, as well as grassroots efforts like community youth projects that help build communities and promote resistance to radicalization.

We’re making our first grant from the fund to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), an expert counter-extremist organization in the U.K. ISD will use our $1.3 million grant to help leaders from the U.K.’s technology, academic, and charity sectors develop projects to counter extremism. This will be the largest project of its kind outside of government and aims to produce innovative, effective and data-driven solutions that can undermine and overcome radicalization propaganda. We’ll provide an update in the coming months with more information on how to apply.

By funding experts like ISD, we hope to support sustainable solutions to extremism both online and offline. We don’t have all the answers, but we’re committed to playing our part. We’re looking forward to helping bring new ideas and technologies to life.