Google Is Making Good

Photo courtesy of 23rd Studios – Boulder Mini Maker Faire, January 31, 2015

Google is spreading their impact in the local nonprofit community through donations, grants, in-kind support, and volunteerism.

Google is not splashy about their charitable efforts, but Google’s employees are dedicated to the communities in which they work and live. Googlers are tackling a variety of charitable causes that are right in their neighborhoods and backyards here in Boulder County – from food donation to recycling to Boulder’s bike sharing system. Not surprisingly, Google is also a tremendous supporter of science and technology education and access to the Internet.

Awarding nearly $2 million in grants to nonprofits and schools in Colorado, Google’s grant recipients have included vital Boulder-based community organizations including Impact on Education, Boulder B-Cycle, Boulder Food Rescue, Eco-Cycle, Boulder Community Housing Corporation, and Autism Society of Boulder County.

Protecting the Environment and Lowering Carbon Emissions

Executive Director of Boulder B-Cycle, James Waddell, who manages Boulder’s innovative bike share system, which has been expanding rapidly and is one of the largest in the country says, “Google gets it! They have been a strong supporter of our program from the very start. They give us money and all they ask for in return is annual B-cycle passes for their staff to use our system. It’s a win-win agreement. No wonder many talented people want to work for them.”

Google B-Cycle

Reducing Hunger and Supporting Food Security

Boulder Food Rescue, a nonprofit aimed at creating a more just and efficient food system by redistributing food that would otherwise go to waste, receives an indispensable combination of in-kind and financial support from Google. Executive Director Hana Dansky remarks, “Google gave us a $6,450 grant to ramp up our prepared food operations. Since then we were able to purchase a few drop freezers to store frozen prepared foods to de-thaw for individuals later. One is at Attention Homes, a homeless shelter for runaway youth, who receives the donated food from Google as well. We also have one at Hope Boulder Church where we store Tandoori Grill food until we need to dethaw it for a meal, and we were able buy bike trailers to haul the food to the places we need to.”

Google also donates prepared food weekly to Boulder Food Rescue by freezing food from their catering services for employees, which is then picked up by a Boulder Food Rescue volunteer. Many individual Google employees donate to Boulder Food Rescue and Google is able to match those funds.

Preparing Students with the Highest Quality Education

Google has also played a critical role in Impact on Education’s most recent signature programs, STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, Math). Since 1983 Impact on Education has been the local foundation dedicated to supporting the students, educators, and schools of the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) with programs and support annually benefiting over 24,000 local students and educators.

The three-year STREAM initiative utilized digital devices to leverage literacy instruction within core curriculum areas including math and science. “This internationally recognized program would not have happened without the financial and in-kind support of Google,” acknowledges Grant Simon, Impact on Education’s development and marketing manager. “This includes nearly $100,000 in grants since 2011, countless hours of training provided to educators as well as donated hardware.”

Impact on Education CEO Fran Ryan explains, “The Boulder community, and Impact on Education in particular, is lucky to have Google in our backyard. Their thoughtful, creative, and meaningful support through not only financial resources but also expertise and guidance is invaluable.”


Inspiring Innovation

Inspiring children and adults through technology and engineering is a key part of Google’s outreach. In that vein Google has supported Maker Faires in Boulder and Longmont, representing the innovation, digital fabrication, and hands-on learning and exploration of technology-based Maker culture.

Mary Anne Zacek, Co-Founder of Maker Boulder, comments enthusiastically, “Google has been a huge supporter of Maker Boulder and our goal to inspire the next generation of innovators in Boulder. They were a crucial community partner and sponsor for our Boulder Mini Maker Faire in January where we inspired and engaged 5,500 attendees with hands on exhibits about everything from inventing with cardboard to robots and coding. Google gave us their time and support and brought their amazing exhibit, which included amazing tech and the hugely popular Google Glass. People lined up all weekend to experience their cool technology and learn more about what they are doing.”

More On Giving Back

In 2014, Colorado Googlers volunteered nearly 1,000 hours with organizations including FIRST, the Women’s Wilderness Institute, Wish for Wheels (Greenwood Village), and YMCA of Longmont.

Employees also volunteered for an eight-week after-school STEMDroid Class that taught students from underrepresented populations how to build an Android App, and conducted 20+ school visits in Boulder and Denver.

Since 2005, Google has dedicated more than $250K in Ph.D. fellowships and Faculty Research Awards to the University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Colorado Denver, and Colorado State University.

Says Maker Boulder’s Mary Anne Zacek, “We look forward to Google’s growing presence in Boulder, not only as they continue to support our mission of inspiring innovators but to benefit from the myriad of ways that Google and their employees spend their time and money to make a difference in our community.”

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