Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, has announced five core initiatives that it plans to focus on over the next five to ten years.
Google.org will “collaborate with experienced partners working in each of these fields, investing its resources and tapping the strengths of Google’s employees and global operations to advance its core initiatives.” More than $25 million in new grants and investments from Google.org, will be handed to these initial partners.
Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have committed to devoting approximately 1 percent of the company’s equity plus 1 percent of annual profits to philanthropy.
In the past, Google.org has focused mainly on environmental issues but they are now expanding their vision.
The five initiatives Google.org will focus on:
Predict and Prevent – supporting efforts to empower communities to predict and prevent the spread of diseases before they become local, regional, or global crises, by identifying “hot spots” and enabling a rapid response. The initial focus will be on Southeast Asia and tropical Africa in the areas’ global health threats (specifically SARS and potentially bird flu), humanitarian crises, biological threats, and climate variability.
Inform and Empower to Improve Public Services – improving the flow of vital information to improve basic services for the poor in India and East Africa. With failing essential public services, especially for the poorest members of these countries, Google.org will work with their partners to empower citizens and communities, providers, and policy makers to improve the delivery of essential public services such as education, health, water and sanitation.
Fuel the Growth of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises – Along with their partner, Google.org wants to help increase the flow of capital to small and mid-sized businesses specifically in Ghana and Tanzania, by tackling some of the root causes that prevent these firms from becoming profitable investment opportunities.
Develop Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal- working toward a goal of producing one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. The aim is to have this accomplished within a few years, not a few decades. The focus will initially be on advanced solar thermal power, wind power technologies, enhanced geothermal systems and other potential breakthrough technologies.
Accelerate the Commercialization of Plug-In Vehicles (RechargeIT) – an initiative that aims to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology. Google.org will invest amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2 million in selected companies whose innovative approach and technologies will enable widespread commercialization of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles.
Dr. Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google.org, explains that “these five initiatives are our attempt to address some of the hard problems we as a world need to face in the coming decade. 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 Googlers, who are really our most valuable assets.”
Many readers of this news have commented that $25 million over ten years is not a lot, considering the billions of dollars they earn each year. Let us know what you think.