Tag Archives: STEM

Giving back in 2011

As the holiday season approaches we thought it was a good moment to update you on some grants we’re making to support education, technology and the fight against modern day slavery.

STEM and girls’ education
Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) open up great opportunities for young people so we’ve decided to fund 16 great programs in this area. These include Boston-based Citizen Schools and Generating Genius in the U.K., both of which work to help to expand the horizons of underprivileged youngsters. In total, our grants will provide enhanced STEM education for more than 3 million students.

In addition, we’re supporting girls’ education in the developing world. By giving a girl an education, you not only improve her opportunities, but those of her whole family. The African Leadership Academy provides merit scholarships to promising young women across the continent, and the Afghan Institute of Learning offers literacy classes to women and girls in rural Afghanistan. Groups like these will use our funds to educate more than 10,000 girls in developing countries.

Empowerment through technology
We’ve all been wowed by the entrepreneurial spirit behind the 15 awards in this category, all of whom are using the web, open source programming and other technology platforms to connect communities and improve access to information. Vittana, for instance, helps lenders offer loans to students in the developing world who have have a 99 percent repayment rate—potentially doubling or tripling a recipient’s earning power. Code for America enables the web industry to share its skills with the public sector by developing projects that improve transparency and encourage civic engagement on a mass scale. And Switchboard is working with local mobile providers to help African health care workers create networks and communicate for free.

Fighting slavery and human trafficking
Modern day slavery is a multi-billion dollar industry that ruins the lives of around 27 million people. So we’re funding a number of groups that are working to tackle the problem. For instance, in India, International Justice Mission (IJM), along with The BBC World Service Trust, Action Aid and Aide et Action, are forming a new coalition. It will work on the ground with governments to stop slave labor by identifying the ring masters, documenting abuse, freeing individuals and providing them with therapy as well as job training. Our support will also help expand the reach of tools like the powerful Slavery Footprint calculator and Polaris Project’s National Trafficking Hotline.

To learn more about these organizations and how you can get involved, visit our Google Gives Back 2011 site and take a look at this video:

These grants, which total $40 million, are only part of our annual philanthropic efforts. Over the course of the year, Google provided more than $115 million in funding to various nonprofit organizations and academic institutions around the world; our in-kind support (programs like Google Grants and Google Apps for Education that offer free products and services to eligible organizations) came to more than $1 billion, and our annual company-wide GoogleServe event and related programs enabled individual Googlers to donate more than 40,000 hours of their own volunteer time.

As 2011 draws to a close, I’m inspired by this year’s grantees and look forward to seeing their world-changing work in 2012.

Answering Obama’s call to action with STEM 100Kin10

Last January, U.S. President Obama challenged the nation to train 100,000 high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers in 10 years. Google in Education decided to answer his call to action and became one of the founding members of a community of action called 100Kin10.

We shared our plan with U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and his staff in April, who gave us their full support. With this backing, we were able to announce 100Kin10 in June at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America meeting in Chicago. CGI also identified STEM education as one of its focus areas for its new branch of U.S. Initiatives.

This past week, 100Kin10 officially kicked off with 80 partner organizations, all contributing to a threefold mission: to reverse the United States’ decades-long decline in STEM subjects, to ensure that all children have the basic STEM literacy to be full participants in our economy and democracy and to enable U.S. students to address the most pressing national and global challenges.

Google has made commitments to increase the supply of high quality teachers and retain excellent STEM teachers. Specifically:

  • Working with The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT to create a high-profile recognition program for the top 5% of STEM teachers nationwide and are well on our way to this.
  • Inviting districts nationwide to join us at Google for talent academies that will facilitate and fund HR pilot strategies for education.
  • Working with university faculty training future teachers throughout California to integrate educational technology across curriculum and scale the practice by funding research on the topic. To that end, we established the Google Faculty Institute this August and have already funded nine pilots across the state.

We believe every student should have access to high quality teaching and educational opportunity. We also recognize that as a collective, we can better measure our progress and take significant strides toward fulfilling the commitments the Department of Education has made around STEM teaching.

We welcome big challenges and look forward to helping achieve great success with 100kin10 in the months and years to come. For more information on Google’s efforts in education, please visit our education website.