A better world, faster

Australian non-profits shared their ideas for a better world. Your vote and our panel of judges determined the winners. Four non-profits each received a $500,000 grant to realise their vision. Six additional finalists each received $250,000 to get their projects up and running.

Meet the Finalists

Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience

Online game to inspire young Indigenous students to learn maths and science

Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience

Indigenous students in Australia are graduating from school at nearly half the rate (41.5%) of their non-Indigenous peers (81.2%). Australian students' performance in maths and science has declined over the past 10 years, and Indigenous students are on average 2.5 years of schooling behind the national average in these subjects. AIME will develop an immersive online game, AIMESTAR, that sparks the interest of young Indigenous students to learn and excel in maths and science, connecting them to possible career paths in science, engineering, technology, design and innovation. In three years, AIMESTAR will be used by 10,000 Indigenous students across Australia to increase ability and interest in maths and science.

The Fred Hollows Foundation

Low-cost mobile camera to detect and prevent blindness caused by diabetes

The Fred Hollows Foundation

By 2035, the International Diabetes Federation estimates that diabetes will affect 592 million people globally. A person with diabetes left untreated will go blind from diabetic retinopathy. The Fred Hollows Foundation will develop a tablet device, known as MARVIN, that will use a mobile diagnostic platform to take high-quality photos of the back of the eye, checking for blinding damage caused by diabetes. MARVIN can be operated by anyone and is a solution for millions of people living in remote communities by providing on-the-spot assessment and diagnosis. In 3 years, 200 MARVIN devices will be deployed, screening 6 million people for diabetic retinopathy per year.

Zoo & Aquarium Association, Australasia

App to crowdsource data from travelers about the illegal wildlife trade

Zoo & Aquarium Association, Australasia

The illegal wildlife trade has reached unprecedented levels in the last decade and now ranks among the 5 most lucrative illicit markets globally. Southeast Asia is a global hotspot for wildlife crime, where wildlife and their parts are often traded openly in markets, restaurants, and for tourist experiences. ZAA will further develop the Wildlife Witness app, which allows tourists and locals the ability to safely notify suspicious animal activities to TRAFFIC, the global wildlife trade monitoring network, who work with law enforcement officials. In three years, Wildlife Witness will educate, empower and equip two million travellers, locals, and law enforcement officers to become the eyes and ears in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.

Engineers Without Borders Australia

Biodigester toilets to provide sanitation and energy in Cambodian communities

Engineers Without Borders Australia

Approximately 66% of rural Cambodians lack access to sanitation infrastructure, which can lead to devastating effects on health. Populations in flood-prone areas are particularly at risk. EWB will establish and support a network of local entrepreneurs to manufacture and install biodigester toilet systems. This will address the lack of sanitation in flooding and floating environments in Cambodia, and provide households with a cost-effective form of renewable energy. In three years, EWB will enable 25 local entrepreneurs to install 2,500 biodigester toilet systems benefitting 15,000 people. In 10 years, the project will provide sanitation and energy solutions to 1.2 million Cambodian people.

Penguin Foundation

Magnetic particle technology to remove oil from contaminated wildlife

Penguin Foundation

Current conventional oil cleaning methods for wildlife require detergent, hot water (which is seldom available in remote locations), and significant human labour. The Penguin Foundation will develop a new oil cleaning method using magnetic iron particles to remove oil from wildlife, addressing the global need for a safer, faster, more environmentally friendly, humane, and portable oil cleaning technology. In three years, the Penguin Foundation will deploy a fully-tested, ethically-sound and operational oil removal kit. This will improve the survival of thousands of sea birds (up to 100,000 estimated to be contaminated with oil) and reduce the cost of labour-intensive wildlife oil cleaning and rehabilitation by up to $3 million each year.

University of Technology Sydney

Sensors to detect and report excessive groundwater depletion in arid regions

University of Technology Sydney

Current rates of groundwater use in many arid regions of Australia and around the world are unsustainable and could lead to significant economic and ecological costs if left unchecked. Protecting these ecosystems is vital to tourism, biodiversity conservation and the ecology of Australia. University of Technology, Sydney will develop a sensor-based early warning system to monitor groundwater levels via trees and alert when excessive groundwater is being extracted. Over three years, this project will protect 20 of the most vulnerable sites in Australia from excessive groundwater use. This will result in saving $90 million and developing a system with the potential to impact the 1.8 billion people living in arid and semi-arid regions around the world.

Alternative Technology Association

Solar lighting for remote households in East Timor

Alternative Technology Association

It is estimated that at least 20% of all homes in East Timor - about 40,000 - will never be connected to the electricity grid. Alternative Technology Association will provide low cost solar lighting for East Timorese homes that have no electricity. The assembly, installation and maintenance of the solar lighting systems will form the basis of a sustainable industry in East Timor, with maintenance of the systems managed under a community controlled and funded model. Over two years, Alternative Technology Association will train 75 village-based installers and maintenance technicians, install 2000 systems, and deliver 60 kW of solar energy to 12,000 people.

Infoxchange

App to connect homeless people with social services

Infoxchange

Navigating the service system is difficult for the 1 in 200 Australians who are homeless on any given night, with 1,200 specialist homelessness services and more than 300,000 health, welfare and community support services. The "Homeless Assist" project will develop a mobile app to improve access to food, shelter, health and other support services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. In two years, Infoxchange will improve the quality of life for 100,000 Australians by reducing the number of unmet requests by 50% and streamlining access to support services. This will result in an estimated saving of $3 million for homelessness service providers which can be invested back into service delivery.

UNSW ASPIRE

Online educational and career development platform for disadvantaged students

UNSW ASPIRE

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are up to 30% more likely to be unemployed, more likely to underachieve academically, and currently make up only 16% of the undergraduate university population in Australia. Underrepresentation is primarily due to isolation, limited access to educational resources, and limited awareness of higher education opportunities. The ASPIRE project will utilise online learning and video conferencing technology to address social inequities in the education system. Students will have access to master classes, mentoring and individualised career and tertiary education-focused content. Over two years, the project will enable more than 3,500 NSW-based socio-economically disadvantaged primary and high school students and their parents to access interactive learning material and individualised educational support online.

Asthma Foundation NSW

Sensors and a mobile app to access and report real-time air quality data

Asthma Foundation NSW

Air pollution is harmful to health, adversely affecting millions of people globally. Yet, it can be difficult to access meaningful air quality data in a simple and timely way and to monitor respiratory health without specialist equipment or medical expertise. The Asthma Foundation will develop a mobile and web-based health app to aggregate and report on real-time air quality data, along with a wearable sensor to monitor personal respiratory data. This will enable people to better manage the impact of air pollution on their health. In three years, the project will help 40,000 people better predict and prevent asthma attacks, thereby reducing the economic and health costs of air pollution.

A better world, faster

Google has always believed that technology can make a better world. Through projects like Google for Non-profits and Google Crisis Response, we offer help and support to non-profits to achieve this goal, faster. The Google Impact Challenge supports non-profits using technology to tackle problems and transform lives. After running in India, Brazil, the UK and the US, the Impact Challenge launched in Australia.

Ten Australian non-profits will be empowered to make the change we all wished for. The top four winners received a $500,000 grant. The other six finalists received a $250,000 grant. All 10 finalists will also receive mentoring from Google to help realise their vision.

July
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July
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October
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October
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Application submission
Application review
Public voting
14 October Winners Announced

Meet the Judges

The 10 finalists presented their projects to a panel of judges. Their selection, combined with the public vote, determined the four winning charities.

Kim Williams

Former CEO of NewsCorp Australia and Foxtel

Anne Geddes

Photographer and Global Advocate for Children

Glenn McGrath OAM

President of McGrath Foundation and Former Australian Cricket International

Maile Carnegie

Managing Director of Google ANZ

Jacquelline Fuller

Director of Google.org

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