Google.org Announces Initiatives to Combat Climate Change, Poverty, Emerging Threats

Google.org Announces Initiatives to Combat Climate Change, Poverty, Emerging Threats

Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Internet search giant Google, has announced five core initiatives that will be the focus of its philanthropic efforts over the next five to ten years. The organization also announced $25 million in new grants and investments to partners working in each area.

Three of the five initiatives had not been previously announced. The Predict and Prevent initiative will work to identify emerging threats, from infectious diseases to environmental disasters, before they become local, regional, or global crises. The Inform and Empower to Improve Public Services initiative will work to improve the delivery of basic services to the poor in India and East Africa. And the Fuel the Growth of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises initiative will support efforts to lower investment transaction costs associated with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries, create opportunities for SMEs to access larger financial markets, and make investments in the SME sector.

Google.org had previously announced two climate change-related initiatives: Develop Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal (RE<C) and Accelerate the Commercialization of Plug-In Vehicles (RechargeIT). RE<C is a collaborative effort within the company to produce a gigawatt of renewable energy capacity for less than it costs to produce it by burning coal. RechargeIT will work to reduce carbon emissions, cut oil use, and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology.

Grants announced by the organization include $5 million to InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters) to improve the early detection, preparedness, and response capabilities for global health threats and humanitarian crises; $2.5 million to the Global Health and Security Initiative to prevent, detect, and respond to biological threats; $10 million to eSolar in support of the company's efforts to replace the fuel in a traditional power plant with heat produced from solar energy; and $2 million to Pratham, an Indian NGO, to establish an independent institute that will conduct a Nationwide Annual Status of Education Report and scale assessments in the Indian education sector.

"These five initiatives are our attempt to address some of the hard problems we as a world need to face in the coming decade," said Google.org executive director Dr. Larry Brilliant. "We have chosen them both because we think solving them will make a better, fairer, safer world for our children and grandchildren — and the children and grandchildren of people all over the world — but also because we feel that these core initiatives fit well with Google's core strengths, especially its innovative technologies and its talented engineers and other [employees], who are really our most valuable assets."