Nonprofit Newswire | “Google Philanthropy:” Is There Money There?

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March 8, 2010; Google Blog | If you were to google “Google Philanthropy” to find out what the search engine giant is up to in the philanthropic sphere, you’d find an impressive list of activities. These efforts, which represent the fulfillment of a promise by the company’s founders to devote about one percent of the firm’s equity and annual profits to philanthropic causes, last year totaled $100 million, plus what are described as “in-kind giving.” In an update on the company’s blog, Google details how that largesse was used for scholarships, primarily designed to “help dismantle barriers that keep women and minorities from entering computing and technology fields:’ academic grants that underwrite the ‘next generation of engineers” and the institutions where they are pursuing their work; holiday charitable gifts—some $22 million in donations to a “couple of dozen deserving charities around the world” struggling to make ends meet in the current down economy; as well as efforts that help its employees share in Google’s charitable outreach. These include matching grants of up to $6,000 to causes and organizations for each employee and $50 for every five hours “Googlers” volunteer to charitable causes. The company also operates a Charitable Giving Council that supports educational-related partnerships in science, math and technology for grades K-12. In addition, the company makes investments in communities where it operates that are designed to “create opportunities for Googlers to invest time and expertise, engage in local grant making and build partnerships with local stakeholders.” Finally, through its Google for Non-Profits, the company offers information and links to charitable groups to tools to help them promote their causes, support fund-raising activities, and explore collaborations with others. One such program, Google Grants, has awarded the equivalent of $625 million in advertising since the program began, that allows nonprofit groups to promote themselves through Google’s Adwords—advertising that shows up adjacent to searches on Google. Now, the next time someone asks you about Google’s philanthropy, you won’t have to respond quizzically “search me!”—Bruce Trachtenberg