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NFPs Share $3.5 million in Google Challenge


14 October 2014 at 2:31 pm
Xavier Smerdon
Ten Australian Not for Profits have shared in $3.5 million as the winners of the Google Impact Challenge, announced today.

Xavier Smerdon | 14 October 2014 at 2:31 pm


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NFPs Share $3.5 million in Google Challenge
14 October 2014 at 2:31 pm

Ten Australian Not for Profits have shared in $3.5 million as the winners of the Google Impact Challenge, announced today.

The organisations pitched their ideas to a panel of judges at Google Australia in a bid to secure one of four grants of $500,000.  

Google chose three Not for Profits to each receive $500,000; AIME, for an online game designed to inspire young Indigenous students to learn maths and science, Engineers Without Borders, for a biodigester toilet that will provide sanitation and energy in Cambodian communities and Infoxchange, for an app to connect homeless people with social services.

Managing Director of Google Australia, Maile Carnegie, said that a fourth organisation was chosen by the public to receive $500,000.

“Australia, you have also spoken. With more than a quarter of a million votes cast online over the last fortnight, you’ve selected the Not for Profit you feel is most worthy to receive a $500,000 grant,” Carnegie said.

“The winner of the public vote is the Fred Hollows Foundation, for a low-cost mobile camera to detect and prevent blindness caused by diabetes.”

Infoxchange Chief Executive Officer David Spriggs said the grant would help them develop their smartphone app to help homeless people to find food, shelter and other essential services.

“We are incredibly excited to be able to develop, right here in Melbourne, this world-first app that will help homeless people right around Australia,” Spriggs said.

Spriggs said many people had been surprised at the idea of a smartphone app to help the homeless.

“It might seem surprising but a recent study showed 95 per cent of homeless people have a mobile phone and of those 77 per cent have a smartphone,” he said.

“Think about how much you rely on your own mobile and then imagine how important that phone becomes to stay in touch with friends and family if you’re moving from place to place. That phone becomes a lifeline.”

While the competition was originally offering $2 million to NFPs, Carnegie said other competition entrants were also rewarded with grants of $250,000 because of the standard of their pitches.

“We were so impressed by the quality of all the finalists’ projects that we decided to also award the other six finalists $250,000 each,” she said.

The other winners were;

  • Asthma Foundation NSW, for sensors and a mobile app to access and report real-time air quality data

  • Alternative Technology association, for solar lighting for remote households in East Timor

  • Penguin Foundation, for magnetic particle technology to remove oil from contaminated wildlife

  • University of NSW Aspire, for online educational and career development platform for disadvantaged students

  • University of Technology Sydney, for sensors to detect and report excessive groundwater depletion in arid regions

  • Zoo and Aquarium Association, Australasia, for an app to crowdsource data from travelers about the illegal wildlife trade

The Google Impact Challenge Australia judging panel is made up of cricketer Glenn McGrath, media executive Kim Williams and internationally acclaimed photographer Anne Geddes.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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