Google is awarding millions to create a better world for people with disabilities, possibly one with more independence and better technology. The search giant has selected 30 organizations to give grants through its “Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities” initiative, said Google’s charitable arm, Google.org, this week.
Google doling out millions to assist people with disabilities
Google is preparing to use technology to make a better world for the disabled. Under the effort, the search giant is distributing more than $20 million to groups located in 13 different countries. Since announcing the funding availability in May 2015, the company has received more than 1,000 applications from 88 countries, the search giant said. The Arc will receive the largest grant of $1.4 million to create an online tool that will aid people with cognitive disabilities in finding the right applications and other assistive technologies to meet goals based on their profiles.
Other groups receiving funds from the search giant include the Dan Marino Foundation, which will develop an interactive job training program for people with autism. Another group is APAE Brasil, which will help in sharing information with the use of SMS messaging and improve monitoring and evaluation for families with children who have developmental disabilities.
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Other grantees include the Center for Discovery, which is working on an open source power add-on that converts any manual wheelchairs into powered ones that help the person by giving more automatic steering options and better mobility. Another grantee is the Perkins School for the Blind, which is creating tech that goes beyond GPS to give people with visual impairments more visibility, helping them pick bus stops, buildings, etc.
All to spur innovation
In a blog post, Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, project lead for the Google.org initiative, said, “The organizations we’re supporting all have big ideas for how technology can help create new solutions, and each of their ideas has the potential to scale.”
She also indicated that each organization has committed to open sourcing their technology as well. This helps in motivating and accelerating a sector that has historically been “siloed.”
Gosselink said they want to use their global voice to try and spread these innovations to more people. She said they have a scale in mind while funding these projects and are looking for ways these organizations can use to put this innovation out into the universe.
Google.org or Dot-org had given six of the 30 grantees over $1 million to advance their causes, while the average grant assured to these nonprofits is $750,000.