Bay Area Google Impact Award Winners Announced

Google has announced the winners of its Bay Area Impact Challenge, a crowdsourced effort to identify the best nonprofit ideas for a better Bay Area.

Selected from a pool of ten finalists, the four projects that received the most votes in the online voting phase will each receive a $500,000 grant and twelve months of accelerator support from Google's first-ever impact lab, which it launched in partnership with Impact Hub SF, a shared workspace for entrepreneurs committed to positive social and environmental change.

The winning projects are Hack the Hood, which will use its grant to address digital equity in the region by training low-income youth to build websites for small businesses and actively support their nascent careers in the tech field; the Center for Employment Opportunities, which will use the funds to develop an online platform to help prepare formerly incarcerated individuals for employment in a digital world; Health Trust, which will use its grant to create new distribution channels that improve access to affordable produce in underserved areas; and Bring Me a Book, which will use the funds to provide children with access to digital books in multiple languages while creating a supportive online community for their parents and caregivers.

The six remaining finalists will each receive $250,000, while an additional fifteen projects will receive $100,000 each. All runners-up will receive a year of accelerator support through the Google impact lab. The Bay Area competition is the fourth Google Impact Challenge since the program was launched in the UK last year.

"This Google challenge will help bring the innovative edge into the preschool sector and help us think about how we use media to support preschoolers and their families in having better access to books," Bring Me a Book executive director Mialisa Bonta told the NonProfit Times. "We're really excited about it, and I think it’s a game changer for Bring Me a Book and for digital literacy. Our total operations budget hovers in the realm of $1 million, so a grant of this size is definitely transformational. I would call it a tipping point."

"Meet the Bay Area Impact Challenge Winners." Google Blog Post 06/04/2014. "Big Grants Snared in Google Impact Challenge." NonProfit Times 06/05/2014.