The Sh2.8 billion global philanthropy challenge was launched in March 2021 where gender equity focused organisations were invited to submit their boldest and most innovative ideas on creating a more equitable economic reality for women and girls.
Google partnered with a women-led panel of experts – including leaders like Rigoberta Menchu, Naomi Osaka, Shakira, Susan Wojcicki, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka – and gender equity-focused organizations Vital Voices and Project Everyone to evaluate proposals based on four key criteria: innovation, impact, feasibility, and scalability. The selected organizations have outlined projects that will help women and girls, especially those in geographically, economically or socially marginalized populations, reach their full economic potential.
In addition to funding of up to $1 million each, recipients will participate in a four-month accelerator
program led by Google’s Accelerator and Women Techmakers communities, in partnership with Vital
Voices to move their projects forward. Select organizations will also receive a Google.org Fellowship and dedicated Ad Grants to promote their mission.
“Globally, women have been nearly twice as likely to lose their jobs during COVID-19 as men 1. It’s vital that we elevate and support work that empowers women and girls to reach their full economic potential, especially in marginalized communities,” says Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org.
“The pandemic recovery must be an inclusive one, and we know that when we invest in women and girls, we all benefit.”
Google.org received 7,800 applications; the most ever received for a Google.org Impact Challenge.
An analysis of the application data, commissioned by Google.org and conducted by King’s College London’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, identified four main focus areas for organizations around the world proposing pathways to economic empowerment for women and girls. These focus areas, with recipient examples, include:
○ SwaTaleem Foundation (India) will use funding to build an app, which does not require an internet connection, that provides skills in math, science and financial awareness for young women and girls.
● Entrepreneurship & Businesses
○ Asociación Colnodo (Colombia) will connect rural women entrepreneurs to the internet and each other through cohort programing and mentorship.
● Financial Independence and Support
○ Girls Inc of New York City (US) will build a financial budgeting app for girls of color from low-income households.
● Skills Development & Career Advancement
○ Project Akilah (Rwanda) will build a pipeline of formal economic career opportunities for rural women.
“The world is watching how quickly crises can roll back progress made toward gender equality. Women’s voices, participation, and leadership across every sector of society is more critical than ever,” says Alyse.
Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership. “At Vital Voices, we are thrilled to partner with Google.org as they invest in projects with strong roots in community, bold ideas that bridge divides, and a strong commitment to paying it forward.”
“At Project Everyone we know that achieving gender equality is at the heart of achieving all 17 of the UN
Sustainable Development Goals, so we were excited to partner with Google.org and Vital Voices on this powerful initiative,” says Kate Garvey, Co-founder at Project Everyone.
“The Impact Challenge is an example of how cross-sector collaborations can accelerate progress towards the Goals and demonstrates how we can all play our part in solving the world’s greatest problems.”
In addition to the Impact Challenge, Google.org will continue support through $15M in donated Google
Search Ads for organizations focused on gender equity; including $10M to UN Women. The donated ads will connect the public via Google Search with in-depth, authoritative information on gender equity and connect underserved women with the resources they need. Each funded organization will also receive full-time digital marketing support from a Google Ads expert for three months.