Winners announced in $5M nonprofit challenge from Google Canada

TORONTO, March 30, 2017 /CNW/ - The winners of the $5M Google.org Impact Challenge were revealed today.

The Impact Challenge asked Canadian nonprofits to share their best ideas for how to use technology to tackle some of the world's toughest problems. More than 900 nonprofits applied, and today the winners were announced following a live competition.

Five winning projects will each receive $750,000  in grant funding from Google, alongside hands-on support from both Google and their local support partner, the LEAP Centre, for the next year to help them bring their projects to life. An additional five finalists will receive $250,000 in funding from Google, along with the same support program.

These ten projects all use innovative applications of technology to solve big problems with the potential to scale. From growing fresh food in the Arctic to providing a bird's eye view of disaster zones to changing the way disease is diagnosed in the developing world, these are bold ideas that highlight both Canada's talent for innovation and our culture of helping others.

"We had huge expectations for what Canada could deliver as part of this Challenge, and these projects exceeded even those high expectations," explained Sam Sebastian, VP, Google and Country Director, Canada. "Canada's capacity to deploy innovative technology in the service of social challenges is truly something to behold."

"There are a whole lot of innovators in Canada who understand the needs of underserved populations, and who are ready to create new and unexpected solutions to address inequities," said Jacquelline Fuller, managing director of Google.org. "This a country with humanitarianism and innovation baked into its DNA, and that comes out in these big ideas to make the world better through technology."

Winning Projects - $750K:

  • The Rumie Initiative - Only 40% of students on indigenous reserves graduate from high school, compared to 90% of students in the rest of Canada. The LearnCloud Portal is an offline, tablet-based curriculum to help high school students learn about Indigenous culture, history and language while gaining employment skills and financial literacy.
  • World Wide Hearing Foundation International - Globally, 32 million children suffer from significant hearing loss, the majority of whom live in countries where access to hearing care can be a significant barrier. The Teleaudiology Cloud will connect children living in remote communities with audiologists and speech therapists who can assist with remote screening, hearing aid fitting, speech therapy and parent counselling.
  • Arctic Eider Society - With Arctic sea ice declining at over 13% per decade, changing conditions make navigation unpredictable and limits access to traditional foods for Arctic communities. The SIKU platform will provide a set of open-source tools that help Inuit communities map changing sea ice, and build a living archive of Inuit knowledge to help inform decision making for stewardship and sustainable development.
  • PeaceGeeks Society - It can take up to ten years for the employment rate of recent immigrant cohorts to reach the equivalent rates for those born in Canada. With information provided in their native language, Services Advisor is an application aimed at welcoming new Canadians to our shores, making it easier for newcomers to access immigrant services like mentorship and employment skills.
  • People's Choice Award, selected by nearly 500,000 votes
    • Food Banks Canada - Each year, close to $31 billion of food is wasted in Canada, yet nearly one in ten Canadian households have to worry about whether they have food on the table. The FoodAccess App diverts surplus quality food away from landfill by connecting farmers, manufacturers and restaurants with donation agencies and Canadian dinner tables that might otherwise go empty.

Finalist Projects - $250K:

  • British Columbia Children's Hospital Foundation - Globally, pneumonia is the single largest cause of death among children under five. The PocketDoc for Pneumonia is a mobile platform to accurately diagnose pneumonia in the developing world and save children's lives.
  • GlobalMedic - In the chaos after an earthquake or a tsunami, every minute counts. The RescUAV project will use Canadian-made Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to fly over disaster areas, allowing emergency responders to see the terrain they are heading into and help them get aid to where it's needed most.
  • Victoria Hand Project- Only 5% of the 40 million people who need prosthetic care can access the resources they need. The Victoria Hand Project will provide affordable 3D-printed prosthetics in low-to-mid income countries.
  • Growing North - In Nunavut, nearly 70% of adults are food insecure - meaning they lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Growing North addresses food insecurity issues by building greenhouses that will provide fresh produce all year round in latitudes above the Arctic Circle at about half of the present cost.
  • Canadian Red Cross - The Register Educate Deliver System (REDS) system will take a pilot project developed in the days following the Fort McMurray Wildfire and scale it so it's ready for the next big disaster. The program registers those affected, shares critical information about how to respond, and quickly delivers financial assistance into the hands of Canadians when they need it most.

Additional Resources:

About Google.org Impact Challenge
The Google.org Impact Challenge is an opportunity for registered nonprofits and charities to share their vision for using technology to change the world. Winning organizations will share $5 million CAD in grant funding, as well as mentorship from Google and our challenge support partner, the LEAP Centre for Social Impact.

About Google Canada
Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.  As a global technology leader, Google's innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world. Google Canada has offices in Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa with nearly 1,000 'Canooglers' working on teams across Engineering, Sales, Marketing, PR, Policy, and HR.

SOURCE Google Canada

For further information: To speak with any of the winners, or with someone from Google, please contact: Nicole Bell, Google Canada, nicolebell@google.com


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