Today, Google.org announced its new core philanthropic initiatives: Climate Change, Poverty, & Emerging Threats.
Google.org is the public service component of the Googleplex machine. In the past, Google.org has helped in many different areas, but without a real specific focus. But today (17 Jan. 08), Google.org’s mandate to make the world a better place has decided on a few very specific foci, by zeroing in on five core initiatives.
Google.org’s Predict & Prevent initiative focuses on empowering local communities to predict and prevent events before they become crises by identifying hot spots and enabling a rapid response. The first step of this new program is targeted in Southeast Asia and tropical Africa, with grants given to Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters, Global Health and Security Initiative, and Clark Labs.
Google.org’s Inform & Empower initiative is aimed at improving the flow of vital information to increase basic services for the developing world. The program is at first targeted in India and East Africa, with grants given to Pratham, the Centre for Budget & Policy Studies, and the Center for Policy Research.
Google.org’s SME support is intended to lower transaction costs in SME investment and to create opportunities to access larger financial markets. The program is initially focused on the developing world, with initial partner TechnoServe.
Google.org’s RE<C support sets a goal of producing one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that’s cheaper than coal. Initially launched in November 2007, Google.org is expanding its investment in this area by supporting eSolar (pdf), a solar power oriented power plant technology company.
Google.org’s RechargeIT initiative aims to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use, and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating hybrid electric vehicle adoption. Unlike the other four initiatives announced today, Google.org specifically mentioned that its investments in this area will mostly go to for-profit companies that are working in this area.
It’s refreshing to see a company so dedicated to giving back. Google sometimes has to deal with a number of critics, but their Google.org division seems to be fully intent of fulfilling their mandate of “making the world a better place”.