Google Nonprofit Division Google.org has long been committed to donating 1% of its own funds and profits to a charity. Based on $ 1 billion commitment In October 2017, the company focused on causes such as education, economic opportunities and inclusion. Some groups receiving funding only make the online world more accessible, more informative and safer for users. This week Google extended its humanitarian efforts with Google Fellowships, a program that allows its own employees to integrate for six months with non-profit organizations with special projects requiring the help of computer engineering experts, data analysis and artificial intelligence.
His first official collaboration will be with a workplace development organization Goodwill Industries International. Starting Jan. 15, seven Google employees will spend three months in Goodwill offices in different cities. These workers represent the first of five to ten fraternity classes, with approximately 40 to 60 people being deployed this year.
This decision comes after a successful six-month pilot program that has just ended. Spiked, a nonprofit organization that builds a technology to combat sexual abuse of children online. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are among its renowned co-founders. The organization works with more than 8,000 law enforcement officials in 30 countries to stop the sale of online sex trafficking and the spread of child pornography. In the past four years, Thorn has helped identify 30,000 victims of human trafficking, including 10,000 children.
In the past, Google has offered its knowledge to charities in different ways: GoogleServe, an annual period of one month that encourages employees to participate in community service. Although the working time allocated to this effort is unclear, this effort has involved 25,000 people and 900 non-profit organizations in 2018. Most Google.org grants also accompany a some additional support from volunteers, groups finding the best way to deploy this money. Last year, Google tested several types of immersive programs, including short-term integrations of one to four weeks. She discovered that many organizations preferred even longer commitments.
[Photo: Google]"The funding is still beneficial to the nonprofit, cash-strapped organizations, but we were quite surprised to constantly hear that access to technical talent and Googlers was also very valuable for them, "said Lacy Caruthers, director of employee engagement at Google. org. At the same time, Google has found that workers feel particularly satisfied when they have the opportunity to work in ways to improve the community. "It seemed like a natural evolution. . . to bring these two things together. "
In a way, Google's research grants work in the same way as the larger ones. paid vacation program at IBM. In addition to donating large sums of money and technology to groups seeking to solve major societal problems, IBM often sends small teams of coders, engineers and even d & # 39; Business Development experts for one – month projects, alongside any non – profit organization, government or social entrepreneur. which could use an immediate acceleration. (How to make chemotherapy drugs cheaper, more readily available and easier to administer in sub-Saharan Africa, for example). The leaders found that this effort improved the world and served as a training ground for future future leaders.
In total, the 40 to 60 Google Fellows for 2019 are expected to spend 50,000 hours dedicated to non-profit organization employees this year, and expand to other areas such as criminal justice and law enforcement. poverty. With stays of three to six months (the two calendars they have shared so far), this is a feasible measure with fairly standard weeks of work. Although the pace of growth of the fellowship program is not yet clear, the organization wants to expand internationally and eventually include non-technical workers.
The Thorn Exchange brought together five Googlers, including experts in data visualization, machine learning and artificial intelligence. The team worked on ways to help law enforcement agencies identify potential trafficking activities more quickly, including looking for trends in phone numbers, images and online advertising text. .
For Thorn, the partnership builds on an already successful collaboration. Since its launch in 2009, the group has been advised by Google and has received several million dollars in contributions. Although she has a strong engineering team, she has little time and resources. "While [Google] has given us a clear path forward, our engineering team has been able to maintain and develop current market products, "said Julie Cordua, Thorn's CEO. "[We] would never have had the time to look forward and say, "How could we approach the issue in a whole new way?"
Goodwill, known for its neighborhood stores that collect and resell second-hand goods, is the largest non-profit labor development organization in the country. In 2017, nearly 39 million people used its professional training, education, financial management and career development services to advance or overcome certain barriers in their field. At least 288,000 unemployed people have found a job, according to the the group's annual report. Goodwill also offers additional support services, including English classes, transportation assistance and day care.
In 2016, Google awarded $ 10 million to the group to further develop and optimize its offerings. This included Google's commitment to provide volunteers that could improve digital skills training. "They work a lot behind the scenes to help local community members gain computer literacy," says Chelsea Sebron, another director of Google.org.
Google's mission, however, has a different mission: Goodwill works on a federated model, allowing locals to control their own programs. This makes it difficult to track and replicate what works elsewhere. "They have many local grassroots organizations that run programs and collect data on these programs in one way or another," says Caruthers. "Our colleagues will therefore work with National Headquarters to develop a unified data strategy so that Goodwill can make more informed decisions about the most effective programs."
Fellows will work in 10 pilot cities. One is Chris Ackerman, mid-career data specialist, who leads the effort from Goodwill's headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. Ackerman has spent the last seven years at Google and is currently working on educational offerings in his Cloud division. He has applied for this scholarship because he is personally passionate about Goodwill's mission. "In a changing economy, many people are left out or arguing for a variety of reasons," he said. Providing them with access to new skills and opportunities attracts them. But readjusting Goodwill's internal operations seems particularly important as it can increase the group's impact for years to come.
To apply for each fellowship, Google employees must complete an internal volunteer profile page, which Google uses to share or recruit various service opportunities. Each person must complete a questionnaire explaining why they are specifically motivated to apply and what they hope to learn from the experience gained in the field. There is also an interview that covers both general and technical questions. The company refused to specify how the final decision would be made.
The scholarship program can potentially improve support work and retain employees, but Caruthers is hoping for another delivery. "Our hypothesis is that these experiments will allow Googlers to return [to work] with this new perspective that will enable them to build better and more inclusive products in the future, "she says.
Although the size of the sample is limited, it may already be operational. At Thorn, Cordua said former Fellows expressed "a significant shift in their understanding of the positive impact of technology on the world". The new team, a quick project and the very human cost of failure put the average work day into perspective. "I am now more confident about the difficult problems I would have overcome in the past," said Julian Bharadwaj, one of Google's fellows who worked for Thorn.