Google awards $5.5 million to Bay Area nonprofits in Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco

One Google-funded project by the literary organization 826 Valencia will open a creative writing center for kids in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. Other initiatives will mentor elementary school students in East San Jose and black male teenagers in Oakland to provide skills that could help prepare them for high-paying tech careers in adulthood.

Google awarded $5.5 million on Wednesday night to Bay Area nonprofit organizations, including half a million each to the six top vote-getters in the Mountain View tech giant’s annual Bay Area Impact Challenge.

After a panel that included local sports stars Harrison Barnes and Hunter Pence and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice narrowed the applicant pool to a select group of finalists this summer, online voting began Sept. 29 to choose the top prize-winners. Big city mayors, activists and members of Congress took to social media to rally votes for their favored causes, and advertisements plastered on bus stops encouraged residents to vote:

More than 400,000 votes were entered, twice as much as last year. Announced at a ceremony Wednesday night in San Francisco, here are the six top vote-getters that each receive $500,000:

826 Valencia: The literary education organization, headquartered in San Francisco’s Mission District, will use its grant to open a new creative writing clinic for kids in the Tenderloin.

Bayview/Hunters Point Community Legal: Its grant will help low-income San Francisco families with legal issues ranging from housing troubles to workplace discrimination.

City Year: The national organization will work in public schools in East San Jose in tutoring math and literacy.

The Hidden Genius Project: The Oakland-based organization will launch an intensive program to train black male teenagers around the Bay Area in technology and entrepreneurship skills.

Kiva: The crowd-funded lending platform will provide no-interest loans to Oakland small business owners who are “socially impactful but financially excluded.”

The Reset Foundation: The group that seeks to keep young people out of prison will open its first residential campus for career training and emotional wellness.

Other organizations will share smaller awards.

Above: The Hidden Genius Project, an Oakland-based organization that trains and mentors black male teenagers in the Bay Area in technology and entrepreneurial careers, was among the top winners sharing $5 million in awards from Google’s Bay Area Impact Challenge. (Photo courtesy of Google)


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