Google.org Gives $2.35 Million to Groups Fighting for Racial Justice

Jessica Guynn, USA Today, November 3, 2015

Google.org is giving $2.35 million in grants to community organizations on the forefront of the racial justice movement that has seized the nation’s attention.

The technology giant’s philanthropic arm chose organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area taking on systemic racism in America’s criminal justice, prison and educational systems, says Justin Steele, who leads Google.org’s Bay Area giving efforts.

Steele says the grants are just the first for Google.org as it seeks to address the Bay Area’s growing economic gap that has only widened during the technology boom.

“We hope to build on this work and contribute to this movement for racial justice,” Steele said in an interview.

The grants will be part of a “larger giving effort over the course of the next year,” he said.

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At Google, seven out of 10 employees are men and most employees are white (60%) and Asian (31%). Latinos made up just 3% of the work force, African Americans 2%.

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Steele says Google.org is targeting organizations with deep community roots that are taking bold and innovative steps to create “unexpected solutions to unmet needs” and eradicate “inequality in systems holding people back from being able to participate.”

Oakland’s Ella Baker Center is receiving two grants of $500,000. The first will support Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, a fellow with the center who is working with the ACLU on a police violence reporting app. The second will go to the center’s Restore Oakland program to train the formerly incarcerated and low-wage workers to earn higher wages in Oakland’s burgeoning “foodie” and restaurant industry.

The Oakland Unified School District’s pioneering African American Male Achievement program, whose goal is to close the opportunity gap for young black men, will receive $750,000 for career academies for high school students with the goal of lifting graduation rates and admissions to four-year colleges. Graduates receive a high school diploma in start-up entrepreneurship, social innovation and civic engagement.

Silicon Valley De-Bug, a San Jose group that helps people and their families navigate the criminal justice system and reduce sentences, is receiving $600,000. {snip}

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