Google.org

Innovative nonprofits are creating a world that works for everyone.

THEIR STORY

Approaching Corporate Social Responsibility in a Decidedly Google-y Way

“Just Google it” is a ubiquitous phrase whenever someone has a question for the Internet. In fact, Google (the corporation) is most commonly known as a multinational technology giant with the world’s most popular search engine. But while Google.com might be the world’s most visited website and well-known commercial organization, there is another Google that some may not be as aware of: Google.org, which serves as the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) enterprise. Google prides itself on doing things differently, so their approach to CSR is as unique and “Google-y” as their innovative business model.

Google.org, in their own words, “…brings the best of Google to innovative nonprofits that are committed to creating a world that works for everyone.” Their mission is to use technology to solve complex human challenges, ensuring that everyone (especially women and the most disadvantaged) has the online connections that allow them access to business, communities, and each other. In pursuit of this mission, the organization focuses on four main areas: Education, Inclusion, Economic Opportunity, and Crisis Response.

Right before the company went public in 2004, Google’s founders vowed to dedicate about one percent of the company’s profits to social good, which ultimately led to the launch of Google.org in October 2005. In a letter to investors, Larry Page, the co-founder of Google and current CEO of Alphabet, Inc.,   shared his vision for the then newly created charitable arm of Google: “We hope someday this institution may eclipse Google itself in terms of overall world impact by ambitiously applying innovation and significant resources to the largest of the world’s problems.” This is the goal that “Dot-org”, as it’s called within Google, continuously strives to achieve.

While the philanthropic arm of Google has not yet surpassed its commercial parent, it can claim noteworthy achievements and successes such as:

  • Googleserve is one of the largest corporate volunteering programs in the world;
  • In the last 4 years, Googlers have logged over 1M volunteer hours with more than 8,000 organizations;
  • The organization is committed to volunteering another 1,000,000 hours by 2022; and
  • The Corporate Philanthropy Institute named Google “Company of the Year” at the 2018 Corporate Responsibility Impact Awards;

 

To this day, Google.org continues to expand its charity efforts in a wide variety of ways. In early 2019, the Google.org Fellowship was launched. The new program encourages Google employees to do full-time pro bono work for up to six months with grantees working in areas including education, criminal justice, and economic opportunity. The Google volunteers will use their technical skills in engineering, product management, and user experience design to help Google.org grantees solve some of their toughest technical challenges. “We know that the best answers often come from those closest to the problem,” explains Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org. “That’s why we join forces with nonprofit innovators, committing Google volunteers, technology, and over $200 million in grants every year to help scale their impact.” In 2019 alone the program is expected to allocate 50,000 Fellowship hours with some of Google’s top nonprofit grantees.

This is just one of many examples of how Google.org continues to find new ways to extend the reach of nonprofit innovators through a unique blend of support that includes funding, tools, and volunteers powered by Google. One of its most valuable tools is the eponymous website itself, Google.org., which shares information about its programs, tells the success stories of organizations who have participated in those programs, and offers resources for nonprofits.

The organization approaches the world’s issues as an engineering problem, applying the right set of solutions to try to solve it. Google has a published list of “Ten things we know to be true,” which speaks to the company’s philosophy. The last point titled “Great just isn’t good enough,” explains motivation as “our constant dissatisfaction with the way things are becomes the driving force behind everything we do.” For Dot-org, this could mean dissatisfaction with social inequities in the world and the way that it was being addressed. Naturally, Google.org would take on the challenge and do a better job the Google way.

Mission

We bring the best of Google to innovative nonprofits that are committed to creating a world that works for everyone.

Awards/Achievements

While the philanthropic arm of Google has not yet surpassed its commercial parent, it can claim noteworthy achievements and successes such as:

    • Google serve is one of the largest corporate volunteering programs in the world
    • In the last 4 years, Googlers have logged over 1M volunteer hours with more than 8,000 organisations
    • The organisation is committed to volunteering another 1,000,000 hours by 2022
    • The Corporate Philanthropy Institute named Google “Company of the Year” at the 2018 Corporate Responsibility Impact Awards