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Google’s 2016 Impact Challenge Offers Millions in NFP Grants


Wednesday, 8th June 2016 at 10:05 am
Lina Caneva, Editor
Global online technology giant, Google has launched its second Not for Profit Impact Challenge grants in Australia, worth $4.5 million, plus a further $2 million dollar prize pool through a partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Wednesday, 8th June 2016
at 10:05 am
Lina Caneva, Editor


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Google’s 2016 Impact Challenge Offers Millions in NFP Grants
Wednesday, 8th June 2016 at 10:05 am

Global online technology giant, Google has launched its second Not for Profit Impact Challenge grants in Australia, worth $4.5 million, plus a further $2 million dollar prize pool through a partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Eye care in Africa RS

Fred Hollows Foundation (public choice winner 2014 ) Low-cost mobile camera to detect and prevent blindness caused by diabetes

Google Australia director of engineering, Alan Noble, said 2016 was bigger and better, offering $3 million dollars more in grant money than in the first year of the initiative in Australia.

“It’s all about supporting Not for Profits through the use of technology and to allow innovative NFPs to solve the challenges in the NFP space,” Noble told Pro Bono Australia News.

“We think technology can provide a platform to expand the impact of what innovative NFPs in Australia are trying to do.”

Engineers Without Borders Biodigester toilets

Engineers Without Borders (winner 2014): Biodigester toilets to provide sanitation and energy in Cambodian communities

He said the top four winning Impact Challenge submissions would each receive $750,000 and there was also $250,000 for the next six finalists.

“We are giving away $4.5 million in total – up from $3.5 million the previous year,” he said

“We are also for the first time partnering with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) with a new prize [delivering] a further $2 million to be split four ways.

“The DFAT Technology Against Poverty Prize is provided by innovationXchange as part of the 2016 Google Impact Challenge and is particularly focused on how technology can reduce poverty and make lives better in the Asia Pacific region.”

He said unless applicants choose to opt out, all entries into this year’s Google Impact Challenge would also be considered for a DFAT grant.

“We are looking for innovation that basically will enable existing NFPs doing great work [who] with the use of technology and technical assistance, will be able to scale up their impact,” he said.

“It’s not just the financial contribution.We will also be offering technical assistance, including mentoring technical guidance and partnering with the organisation to match the value of the prize.”

He said the judging criteria was in four parts.

“Impact is first and foremost. We are really looking for proposals that have social impact and improve lives so… we are specifically looking for proposals that would demonstrate measurable and significant impact,” he said.

Alternative Technology Association Solar lighting

Alternative Technology Association (finalist 2014): Solar lighting for remote households in East Timor

“Second relates to the use of technology and innovation. We need to understand how technology and how innovation can differentiate what a particular NFP is doing. And there are a lot of excellent NFPs doing great things but not all of them are in a position to leverage technology to achieve the upscaling of their impact.

“The third is scalability. It is all good to use technology innovation but if you are going to achieve something, some scale, then you need to be able to demonstrate that it can be scalable, and by that I mean, for example, the initial proposal might solve a specific problem in a specific part of the world, we would also be happy to see if this could be scaled globally. Could the same innovation be applied to other regions or other parts of the world?

“Last is feasibility. It’s critical that the team is able to pull it together and produce a realistic plan and identify all of the partners and all of the issues to move forward.”

Noble said 10 finalists would be announced in October, and then the Australian public would be invited to vote for their favourite idea.

On 26 October, a judging panel including David Gonski, Lucy Turnbull, Layne Beachley, Melissa Doyle, Alan Noble, and Jacquelline Fuller will select three awardees. The fourth winner will be chosen based on online votes from the public.

In 2014 Google chose three Not for Profits which received $500,000 in the inaugural Innovation Challenge; 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.

Apply online here. Entries close 13 July 2016.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.

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