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Google Impact Challenge offers $20m for tech innovation ideas to help people with disabilities

Google Impact Challenge offers $20m for tech innovation ideas to help people with disabilities

Google is offering $20 million in Google grants for nonprofits to organisations that can use technology to expand opportunity and independence for people with disabilities on a global scale.

Recipients of the funding should be able to present ideas that are transformational through the effective and innovative application of technology. However, Google isn’t interested simply in making existing work more efficient: it aims to fund ideas that lead to entirely new solutions and approaches.

Individual grants from are expected to be up to $1 million.

This is the latest Google Impact Challenge, the initiative that “serves to organize and rally action around one issue on a global scale at an accelerated timeline”. The first Google Impact Challenge was launched in 2012 and in 2014 there was a Google Impact Challenge specifically for UK charities.

What kind of ideas?

For the current funding round Google points to current innovations such as 3D-printed prosthetic limbs, eye-controlled communication software, and remote hearing diagnostics which “are part of a wave of current innovations that have the potential to change the trajectory of solutions available to people with disabilities”.

Specifically, Google is looking to fund:

* big ideas: in 10 years, if your idea were to be wildly successful, how would the lives of people with disabilities be different?

* technology at the core: technology should not just make your existing work more efficient; it should create or enable entirely new solutions and approaches.

* potential for scale: Google does expect the idea to benefit millions of people in a year, but you should be able to show how it will reach a large number of people

* team: Google is looking for teams that are “strong and nimble enough to implement the work proposed”.

Who can apply?

The funding process is open to nonprofits and public charities from any country. You do need to be able to prove your charitable or nonprofit status.

Organisations that can not apply include individuals, for-profit organisations, and governmental entities. Universities are not eligible to apply for research support, but Google is “interested in having early-stage ideas tested by nonprofit organisations or public charities”.

Applications to the Google Impact Challenge close on 30 September 2015 at 2:00 pm, Pacific Daylight Time.


Photo: Asif Islam /


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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