Google launches grant scheme for charities with technology-based ideas to help people with disabilities

Each winner of the Global Impact Challenge will receive up to $1m and assistance from Google to help them succeed in their missions

Global Impact Challenge
Global Impact Challenge

Google is offering a share of $20m (£13m) to non-profits and charities globally that come up with technology-based ideas to expand the opportunities and independence of people with disabilities.

Each winner of the Global Impact Challenge will receive a grant of up to $1m (£640,000) and assistance from Google to help them succeed in their missions.

Applications, which must be submitted by 30 September, will be reviewed by staff from, the company’s charitable arm, with projects undergoing a technical review by Google engineers. The staff will be assisted by several advisers: Catalina Devandas Aguilar, a human rights advocate for people with disabilities; Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University; and Vint Cerf, a Google vice-president.

Applicants must be registered as charities in their countries of origin. They must have life-transforming ideas that involve the development or application of technology and have the potential to be scaled up, and they must be led by strong teams.

The company ran UK-specific Impact Challenges in 2013 and 2014 and awarded €8m (£6m) to 20 non-profits. It decided to run a global programme this year in order to commit all its resources and efforts to tackling disability, which it sees as a significant global issue.

Not all of the funding is guaranteed to be awarded to the organisations that apply. Google says that a portion of the $20m total on offer might be devoted to other projects that create solutions to the barriers faced by people with disabilities. A spokeswoman for Google was not able to say how much of the total would be allocated to applicants, saying it was hard know in advance the quantity and quality of applications the company would receive.

She said the number of grants allocated would depend on the quality of applications the company receives.

"It’s the first time that we are launching an initiative on such a scale and on one single issue and so this is an experiment," she said.

"’s team will review every submission we receive. They will be looking for organisations with strong leadership and ideas that that really embrace technology to meet needs at scale."

Online applications can be completed at

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