Google.org has been making efforts to use the power of information and technology to help people live better, we covered their initiative towards environmental concerns yesterday, see: Google, Khosla In Quest To Build Greener, Fuel Efficient Autos. Today, Google's brought out five core philanthropic initiatives for the next five to ten years.
To attain the objectives Google would collaborate with experienced partners in several areas and also tap into its own employees and global operations. To begin with, Google's announced more than $25 million in new grants and investments to initial partners. The initiatives entail:
Predict and Prevent:
This initiative aims at different kinds of early warning systems, so that negative events can be prevented before they become local, regional, or global crises. It would be focusing on identifying "hot spots" thereby ensuring a rapid response. The initial focus would be on Southeast Asia and tropical Africa. The work has already begun on to build an early warning system for SARS and potentially bird flu. Grants of $5 million, $2.5 million and $600,000 have been given out to InSTEDD, Global Health and Security Initiative (GHSI) and Clark Labs respectively.
Inform and Empower to Improve Public Services:
This project entails working with partners to improve the flow of vital information to improve basic services for the poor in India and East Africa so that essential public services reach the poorest members of the society. Grants of $2 million, $765,000 and $660,000 have been allocated to Pratham, Centre for Budget and Policy Studies and Center for Policy Research in India respectively.
Fuel the Growth of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
This initiative stems from the realization of the importance of SMEs for inclusive economic growth and job creation in the developing world, but there is a deficit of the capital and tools necessary to succeed. Google's role would be that of acting as "the missing middle" and tackle various root causes that prevent these firms from becoming profitable. Initially a $4.7 million grant has been allocated to TechnoServe to support entrepreneurs in Ghana and Tanzania.
Develop Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal (RE<C)
The objective of this project is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal "RE<C" within the coming years. A $10 million to eSolar has been provided.
Accelerate the Commercialization of Plug-In Vehicles (RechargeIT)
RechargeIT was started with the goal to to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use and stabilize the electrical grid through plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology. A a $10 million request for investment proposals has already been launched.
"In their first Letter from the Founders (2004), Larry Page and Sergey Brin said that we wanted to 'make Google an institution that makes the world a better place.'" said Sheryl Sandberg, VP Global Online Sales & Operations, and Google.org Board member.