gives $2.35 million to groups fighting for racial justice gives $2.35 million to groups fighting for racial justice
Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY 5:43 p.m. EST November 3, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — is giving $2.35 million in grants to community organizations on the forefront of the racial justice movement that has seized the nation's attention.

The technology giant's philanthropic arm chose organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area taking on systemic racism in America's criminal justice, prison and educational systems, says Justin Steele, who leads's Bay Area giving efforts.

Steele says the grants are just the first for as it seeks to address the Bay Area's growing economic gap that has only widened during the technology boom.

"We hope to build on this work and contribute to this movement for racial justice," Steele said in an interview.

The grants will be part of a "larger giving effort over the course of the next year," he said.

Google is taking a rare public stand for a major technology company.

The official announcement of the grants is scheduled Tuesday evening at a screening of 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets at San Francisco's Castro Theatre. The documentary explores the shooting death of unarmed black 17-year-old Jordan Davis outside a gas station in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2012 by a white man Michael Dunn.

Google and other major technology companies are wrestling with dismal track records of hiring and retaining women and minorities in their workforces.

At Google, seven out of 10 employees are men and most employees are white (60%) and Asian (31%). Latinos made up just 3% of the work force, African Americans 2%.

The grants also come as technology companies and their impact on rising property prices and income inequality has become a topic of frequent and heated debate in the Bay Area.

"This is our home," Steele said. "We want to support social innovators striving to make the Bay Area better for everyone."

Steele says is targeting organizations with deep community roots that are taking bold and innovative steps to create "unexpected solutions to unmet needs" and eradicate "inequality in systems holding people back from being able to participate."

Oakland's Ella Baker Center is receiving two grants of $500,000. The first will support Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, a fellow with the center who is working with the ACLU on a police violence reporting app. The second will go to the center's Restore Oakland program to train the formerly incarcerated and low-wage workers to earn higher wages in Oakland's burgeoning "foodie" and restaurant industry.

The Oakland Unified School District's pioneering African American Male Achievement program, whose goal is to close the opportunity gap for young black men, will receive $750,000 for career academies for high school students with the goal of lifting graduation rates and admissions to four-year colleges. Graduates receive a high school diploma in start-up entrepreneurship, social innovation and civic engagement.

Silicon Valley De-Bug, a San Jose group that helps people and their families navigate the criminal justice system and reduce sentences, is receiving $600,000. The group says it has saved people from 1,800 years of incarceration over the last seven years. With the new funding, it will form partnerships with churches and other community groups to teach them how to perform this kind of advocacy. has been stepping up its grants to community groups working on behalf of the homeless, youth, low income and other at-risk people. Last year it gave $3 million to pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris' clinic in the predominantly African American Bayview district of San Francisco that scientifically linked childhood trauma such as neglect, abuse and exposure to violence to lifelong ailments and risky behaviors.

This year during its Bay Area Impact Challenge, Google handed out grants to The Reset Foundation, which is developing a model of an alternative to prison for young adults and Essie Justice Group, which is working to empower women with incarcerated loved ones.


Popular posts from this blog

Report: World’s 1st remote brain surgery via 5G network performed in China

Visualizing The Power Of The World's Supercomputers

BMW traps alleged thief by remotely locking him in car