Tuesday, October 11, 2005
When we told prospective shareholders about Google and how we wanted to do business, we said that we hoped our philanthropic efforts could some day have a greater impact than Google itself. We committed one percent of our profits and equity toward that vision. We’ve looked closely at how those resources can have the greatest impact and found that there are many creative and effective ways to make a difference. So we’ve taken time to investigate, learn and imagine. And while we are still actively engaged in the learning process, we’ve made enough progress that we thought it was a good time to give an update on our plans.
As our founders said in our 2004 annual report, we’re taking a broad approach. We’re calling the umbrella under which we’re putting all of these efforts Google.org. It will include the work of the Google Foundation, some of Google’s own projects, as well as partnerships and contributions to for-profit and non-profit entities. Here are some things we're already working on:
We established the Google Foundation, funded it with $90 million and have made a few initial commitments. We've contributed $5 million to support Acumen Fund, a non-profit venture fund that invests in market-based solutions to global poverty. Acumen Fund supports entrepreneurial approaches to delivering affordable goods and services for the 4 billion people in the world who live on less than $4 a day.
We’re also working with TechnoServe to build small businesses that create jobs and promote economic growth in the developing world. With TechnoServe, we are funding an entrepreneurship development program in Ghana that includes a business plan competition and seed capital for the winners to build their businesses.
In addition, we are working with Alix Zwane and Edward Miguel of UC Berkeley and Michael Kremer of Harvard University to support research in western Kenya to identify ways to prevent child deaths caused by poor water quality.
Google.org also includes projects we manage on our own, using Google talent, technology and other resources. An example is the Google Grants program, which gives free advertising to selected nonprofits. To date, Google Grants has donated $33 million in advertising to more than 850 nonprofit organizations in 10 countries.
Current Google Grants participants include:
Make-a-Wish Foundation - grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. More than 25 percent of their online donations are made as a result of their Google ads.
Doctors Without Borders - delivers emergency medical aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, disasters, and exclusion from health care in nearly 70 countries. Google Grants has assisted them with recruiting experienced doctors and nurses for their field programs, which has helped them increase applications by 30 percent this year.
Grameen Foundation USA - uses microfinance and innovative technology to help the world's poorest people escape poverty. Google Grants has helped them attract donors and broaden their newsletter subscriber base.
With Google.org, we’ll also support entities with strong social missions which use market-based solutions for sustainable economic development. One example is our recent donation of $2 million to the One Laptop Per Child program.
While the results we get are more important than the amount of money we give, we want to be clear about how we’re going to keep our “one percent” commitments. There are two parts: equity and profit. For the one percent of equity, we have committed one percent of the outstanding shares that resulted from our initial public offering – 3 million shares. We’re going to donate and invest this amount over a period of as much as 20 years. Because it is based on stock, the dollar value of this commitment will rise and fall with our stock price
We’ll follow through on the other commitment – one percent of profit – by taking one percent of each year’s profits and donating and investing that too. Our first step in meeting these commitments includes a $90 million cash donation to the Google Foundation and a commitment of up to $175 million over three years across our other Google.org efforts. We don’t expect to make further donations to the Foundation for the foreseeable future.
As Larry and Sergey said in their Founders’ Letter, “We hope someday this institution may eclipse Google itself in terms of overall world impact by ambitiously applying innovation and significant resources to the world's problems."
We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to contribute our resources, talent, energy, and passion helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. We will provide you with updates as our work progresses.