Google’s philanthropy segment, Google.org just awarded $20 million to help improve around 1 billion people across the world living with disabilities. The money is spread to the 30 nonprofits it believes could utilize most of its tech and data-driven approach to charitable giving. The average amount each of them will receive is $750,000. Also, six of the grant winners will receive more than $1 million.
The program focuses on solutions for disabled people in five categories: hearing, mobility, cognitive, communication, and vision. The winning projects tackle a variety of issues, such as:
- The Center for Discovery is making an open-source power add-on that converts any manual wheelchair into a powered one.
- My Human Kit’s online platform connects people who need prosthetics to open-source, low-cost 3D printed models.
- Perkins School for the Blind is helping to roll out more detailed GPS instructions to ensure that the visually impaired can navigate the gap between GPS and the real world.
- The Dan Marino Foundation is building an interactive, digital system that provides training on a job interview to young people on the autism spectrum.
- The Leprosy Mission Trust India is making cost-effective custom footwear, which enables people with leprosy to maintain their ability to walk.
It’s not sure if all of these Google.org’s bets will succeed. However, when it comes to philanthropy, the risk is inherent, and that’s to say nothing of the grown public scrutiny on such a high-profile organization. Google already rolled out the beta version of Voice Access app that allows users to access their phones via voice commands.